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  • 11 Digital Transformation Trends for 2020: Current Predictions You Should Know

11 Digital Transformation Trends for 2020: Current Predictions You Should Know

Category: B2B News

We’re past the point where utilizing the latest technology is confined to big businesses with budgets to spare. The changes in the demands and requirements of customers and markets are forcing companies to adapt to digital transformation. Therefore, those who want to outperform their competition must always keep up with the latest digital transformation trends.

This article lists some of the most prominent digital transformation trends gaining momentum today. Some of them might already be familiar because they belong to innovations that have been in development for a long time. However, most will soon be ready for application and will be taking center stage in 2020. So we will be detailing each one to help you understand how these trends can affect your business in the coming years.

trends on digital transformation

With innovations being developed left and right, technological evolution comes into play. New technologies radically transform our lives into something that seemed unthinkable during the old times. However, it’s not just our personal lives that are being altered by modernization.

Businesses are also grabbing what they can when it comes to technological advancement. They leverage new technologies to become more relevant in the digital age. Better customer service, more productive employees, digitization, and an increase in profitability are just some of the advantages of digital transformation.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that many organizations are already embracing a digital-first approach. The stages of their digital adoption are shown in the chart below.

State of Digital First Approach by Companies

Development Execution Integration Research Maintenance None
Development (28%) Execution (18%) Integration (19%) Research (17%) Maintenance (7%) None (11%)

Source: IDG (2018)

Designed by

With the importance of digital transformation established, let’s take a look into some of the latest trends floating around.

1. Faster Connectivity

There’s a lot of technologies today that cannot be realized to their fullest due to limited connectivity. Autonomous vehicles, for instance, need to communicate with other vehicles on the road constantly. They also have to receive and relay tons of information all at once. Thus, they require faster connections than what’s currently available. In a similar light, wearable techs and smart cities cannot be implemented fully due to connectivity issues.

Next year, however, we can expect these problems to be resolved. That’s because two of the biggest digital transformation trends for 2020 will be taking the spotlight–5G and Wi-Fi 6.

5G Network

The fifth-generation or 5G network is expected to either replace or expand the 4G LTE connection we have today to increase mobile connectivity. It offers an exponential increase in speed, faster than the previous-gen could ever hope to achieve. Case in point, LTE connectivity usually peaks at 300mpbs while 5G plays at around 2gbps.

However, there’s more to 5G than faster download, upload, and streaming speed. It’s a technology that will allow other technologies to thrive. 5G also offers low latency, facilitates dense deployments, and improves cellular technology in general. With this, incorporating the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud-based systems into your workflow will become simpler and more affordable.

In 2018, after almost a decade of development, this new connection had been implemented in select cities. As early as the second half of that year, Verizon and Samsung introduced 5G to a few cities in the US. While it’s part of the implementation test, some of the areas can now rely on the new connection.

Before the end of 2019, manufacturers are expected to incorporate 5G chips to phones and other capable devices. Thus, the world might be seeing the first-ever 5G phones very soon.

Big names in telecom industries – Huawei, AT&T, Verizon, etc. – as well as handset makers, are doing their part as well. Through constant fixes and deployment tests, they’re making sure that the global deployment of 5G isn’t being offset. They want to keep the current pace so that 5G phones will hit the global market by 2020.

Aside from the deployment of 5G devices, there is also continuous improvement in addressing the limitations of the technology. This includes the drop of connection in some areas, which reverts it to 3G, wall penetration problems, and others.

Wi-Fi 6

Probably one of the latest news about Wi-Fi technology is its name. The Wi-Fi Alliance, the organization in charge of making standards in Wi-Fi technology, change the labeling scheme to something less techy. This is now applicable to previous versions as well. So instead of 802.11n, 802.11ac, and 802.11ax, they’ll be referred to as Wi-Fi 4, Wi-Fi 5, and Wi-Fi 6.

From a more technical view, however, Wi-Fi 6 does bring a lot of enhancements to the table. It’s capable of a much faster download speed than the current one offers–4x faster at least. More than that, it’s also able to support more devices.

This is important because the Wi-Fi network is projected to grow by about five-fold within the next few years. That load is over what Wi-Fi 5 can currently handle. Thus, the new Wi-Fi technology will save our connection both in terms of speed and volume data to consume.

It was first introduced during the second quarter of 2018. Now, Wi-Fi 6 is being supported by some of the flagship products of big companies. These include iPhone 11 and Samsung Galaxy S10. Intel’s 10th generation processors will also make Wi-Fi 6 accessible via laptops.

5G Network coverage

Faster Connectivity Takeaways:

  • Big progress was made in the development and implementation of 5G and Wi-Fi 6 in 2018.
  • 5G will replace or expand LTE connections, offering better speed and lower latency. This will reinforce other technologies such as self-driving cars, wearables, and smart cities in the future
  • With the global deployment of 5G being fast-tracked, we can expect 5G devices by 2020.
  • Wi-Fi 6 is 4x faster and can handle a lot more devices than Wi-Fi 5. That said, businesses will be able to upgrade their use of the internet for cloud services, IoT, and the like.

2. Multi-Cloud or Connected Cloud Solutions

With the cloud’s continuous boom, the number of organizations that will adopt will only increase. A steady rise in sales of software solutions for cloud management is proof of this. This growth means several things. One of them is that the cloud will undergo more rigorous scrutiny. Businesses will realize that they don’t want to overly rely on one cloud provider.

Aside from this, the type of adoption will be something to mull over. Many organizations will see that going full public or full private cloud isn’t the optimal route. Each has its pros and cons, and businesses might just need something that one offers, and the other doesn’t.

In this light, there will be an increase in the number of users who will dive into multi-cloud. This means that company workloads will run in an environment which consists of the combination of public and private cloud.

After all, business requirements in the cloud are fast changing. These include security, application deployment, networking, cloud storage, etc. Meeting them with either a pure public or private cloud could be a challenge. Multi-cloud could be just the solution to this. We could perhaps expect that by 2020, more software providers will offer this option.

For now, many big players are offering private and public cloud as a part of their service. The top five providers are still pretty much the same–Amazon Web Service (AWS), Microsoft Azure, IBM, Google, and Alibaba.

Unsurprisingly, most of them offer ways – directly or indirectly – to enjoy multi-cloud architecture. IBM has Multicloud Manager, Google offers Anthos, and Alibaba Cloud provides several tools to facilitate multi-cloud management. Azure and AWS, on the other hand, offer users virtual machines to connect cloud services to their workstations.

Multi-Cloud Solution Takeaways:

  • Cloud adoption is steadily on the rise. Due to this, businesses are realizing the limitation of either full public or full private cloud adoption.
  • Multi-cloud or connected cloud is becoming popular among companies from different sectors.
  • The connected cloud allows businesses to adapt to fast-changing business requirements, including cloud storage, security, and networking.

3. More Use Cases for Blockchain

Blockchain has been hyped long enough. But there are still many issues regarding its usability. Most notably, the combination of everyone wanting to use it, but there’s no standard way to do so. The result? Blockchain became a mess. 2020, however, might be the year when this technology becomes more than just a buzzword.

So far, the solution that’s being developed to address the problem mentioned above is to create a plug-and-play version. This way, Blockchain would be easy to understand, deploy, and used by most people. It will be some time, however, before we see this come into play because of its massive scale.

Being closely linked to cryptocurrency, Blockchain is also one of the most innovative digital transformation trends in financial services. Its transparency provides a virtually fool-proof security measure that could change the way payment transactions are done.

However, great as this may be, Blockchain is actually detaching from its roots. It’s still a fantastic technology for cryptocurrency, but more use cases are surfacing. These include areas such as asset or real estate management, intellectual property, and food safety.

For example, AWS is developing a way to make the technology accessible to all. They currently have a Blockchain-as-a-Service platform in the works. Alibaba, IBM, Samsung, and other global players are also following suit.

Blockchain spending

Blockchain Use Takeaways:

  • Developers are converting Blockchain into a plug-and-play type of technology, so we can expect more ways to apply it other than cryptocurrency.
  • Other use cases of Blockchain, such as food safety, real estate management, and intellectual properties, are surfacing.
  • AWS, MS Azure, Samsung, Alibaba, and other global leaders are looking for a way to democratize Blockchain. They do this by offering it as a subscription-based Blockchain-as-a-Service platform.

4. Increased Investment on ML and AI

Businesses produce a sea of data every day, and many experts are always touting their importance. However, there are many claims that we only use 1% of the data at our disposal. That’s despite the fact that there’s a lot of good software for data analytics available on the market.

That’s a shame because data-driven decision-making is one of the key elements in building a successful business. Useful insights are necessary for producing the right solutions to problems. Data are also highly valuable for turning information into knowledge, optimizing workloads, and more.

For these reasons, many companies are investing in developing means to process vast volumes of data accurately and in real-time. One of the ways to do it is through Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). These two technologies would be integrated into services, infrastructures, and applications that could supercharge data processing.

Three main factors make ML and AI great force multipliers when it comes to data analytics. First is the speed at which AI can process vast amounts of data, regardless of how complex they are. Next is the way ML can automate a lot of the tasks involved in the process. And the third is the fact that AI and ML become better at their jobs for each iteration.

Improvement in processing power also encourages digital leaders to invest more in this trend. The current rate of AI adoption for data processing is also looking good. If it maintains that speed, the above-mentioned 1% usage of data could rise to about 3% by 2020. Too small of an improvement? Not at all.

ML and AI Takeaways:

  • Many organizations are looking to integrate AI and ML to data analytics to significantly improve its performance.
  • By 2020, about 3% of total data will become useable to more businesses, thanks to AI and ML.

5. Edge Computing

While cloud adoption is strong, it has its lapses. The Internet of Things (IoT), for instance, is a technology that proves that relying on one central cloud platform could be problematic. Our set of IoT statistics shows the tremendous growth potential of this industry. For instance, Zion Market Research expects the global value of IoT Healthcare to reach $140 billion by 2024. With a net worth value this big, IoT is one of the most influential digital transformation trends in healthcare.

But if this becomes realized and the network infrastructure can’t adopt, all sorts of logistical problems will arise. These include security issues, more frequent downtimes, and latency concerns. This is because users are located at the edge of the network. This means that you must go through the central platform first then back to the device for every transaction.

This is where edge computing shines. By placing the necessary data closer to the edge, where the users are, latency problems go down. This will also address the other issues mentioned. It will become a compelling solution in the next few years.

The dawn of 5G will also cause the exponential growth of edge computing. More devices will be deployed to the edge, and sensors will be anywhere. Autonomous vehicles, smart cities, and others will need new infrastructure as well. Therefore, we can expect more development efforts in edge computing from big companies. The market value of edge computing is projected to reach $9 billion by 2024.

Edge Computing Takeaways:

  • Edge computing can solve cloud computing’s lack of high-speed data processing for devices on the edge networks. So, this might be something to look into to future-proof your operations.
  • 5G, autonomous vehicles, smart cities, IoT, and other innovations will require the new infrastructure that edge computing brings.
  • Edge computing will solve logistical problems brought about by slower data response of cloud computing, including latency, security, and downtime concerns.

6. Smarter Chatbots

The progress of chatbots is tightly connected to the current level of ML and natural language processing (NLP). Since both fields have gained advancements in the past few years, it’s only natural that chatbot itself does too. But does this mean that we’ll be seeing chatbots passing Turing tests left and right by 2020? Not a chance.

Instead, we’ll be witnessing smarter chatbots who are better in conversation and other tasks. They are still far from holding a 100% natural discussion with someone. That, however, won’t stop chatbots from being one of the top digital transformation trends in the retail industry. Conversational assistants, lead generators, and 24/7 availability are just some of the ways chatbots aid e-commerce businesses.

Of course, their use goes way beyond the retail industry. Some of the most popular chatbots, Siri, and Google Assistant are doing great as virtual assistants to consumers. Companies, big and small, use them to enhance their customer experience as well. This technology is also well-known in social messaging.

While it does sound like this trend is singing the same tune as in the past few years, 2020 may well be different. That’s because big players are taking keen actions to bring vast improvement to this innovation.

Take MS Conversational AI, for instance. It’s working on a platform that allows bots to “hear” more accurately. It also aims to improve chatbots to the point where they can identify and adjust to the nuances of emotions. Moreover, MS Conversational AI seeks to empower these conversational bots to be able to keep up with complicated discussions.

Keep in mind, however, that this development and other similar efforts do not necessarily usher chatbots to a new era. Instead, they’re laying the foundations to raise this innovation to greater heights.

Smarter Chatbots Takeaways:

  • The development of chatbots is closely linked to the current progress of NLP and ML. Thus, their advancement also translates to this trend’s progress.
  • Chatbots are integrated into many sectors of the industries, including ecommerce and customer service.
  • 2020 is the year where drastic improvements can impact this trend. This is due to the development efforts of big companies such as Microsoft Conversational AI.

7. Fully Autonomous Vehicle

Rapid advancement in technology plus greater connectivity in the form of the 5G network has caused a disruptive transition in the automotive industry. That’s because customers also want modernization. They are expecting the industry to keep up with their expectations and needs. Customers like seamless connectivity coupled with a driving experience that’s as convenient as possible.

The result is major players turning their focus to connected vehicles. This is perhaps one of the most ambitious digital transformation trends in automotive industry in a long time. So while this has been the talk of the town for the past few years, 2020 might be different.

One of the prerequisite technologies for large-scale implementation of autonomous vehicles is fast connectivity. That’s why, as previously mentioned, its boom can be primarily attributed to the global deployment of the 5G network. AI, another requirement for the said technology, is also undergoing a series of breakthroughs.

Arguably, the most prominent icon in this innovation is Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, and other forward-thinking startups. He has boldly declared that fully autonomous technology can be completed by the end of 2019. The term he used is “feature-complete.” This improves upon the features from his “enhanced autopilot” models, such as changing lanes and exiting highways.

However, Tesla is not driving toward this innovation alone. There’s an ongoing race for a completely autonomous vehicle. For instance, General Motors is trying to launch a driverless taxi within the next few years. Waymo, on the other hand, has driverless vehicles that are, under test conditions, wandering the streets as we speak.

Investments on Self-Driving Cars

based on the type of technologies developed

Microchips Auto Electronics RideShare App Others
Microchips (78%) Auto Electronics (16%) RideShare App (2%) Others (4%)

Source: Brookings Institution

Designed by

Fully Autonomous Vehicle Takeaways:

  • The deployment of the 5G network and drastic improvements in AI technology have facilitated the development of fully autonomous vehicles.
  • Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, has faith that fully autonomous technology will be completed before 2020. So, we might be seeing advancements in this tech soon.

8. AI and RPA for Insurance

The insurance industry has traditionally been slow when it comes to innovation or adopting something new. It’s understandable considering the number of regulations they should follow plus the risks they must take. But for the past few years, it seems like this industry is gradually embracing changes in technology.

Established insurance firms are investing heavily in Insurance Technology (InsurTech) to compete with other service providers in the industry. In fact, according to CB Insights, InsurTech funding has significantly increased by 60% in the US. And in Asia, the amount has tripled.

The number is quite impressive, and there’s a reason behind this. Insurers invest in technology due to the lack of skilled staff. In the US, only two percent of university alumni are considering working in insurance.

One of the digital transformation trends in the insurance industry would be the use of AI and Robotic Process Automation (RPA). AI and RPA have the power to help insurance companies run seamlessly and make their processes more efficient. Some businesses have already started adopting these technologies.

For instance, Tyche has deployed an AI-infused claim likelihood model in their underwriting activities. This initiative aims to precisely identify the risks involved and attain higher profitability. Lemonade Insurance, on the other hand, deploys AI as well as behavioral economics as its central element.

AI and RPA undeniably offer great help to insurance companies. Deploying these technologies could lead to improved underwriting and reduced malicious actions in payment systems and more. AI or ML could help in determining billing anomalies. They could also find lapses in policies, make more personalized offers, come up with reasonable pricing, make triage claims faster, etc. With that, we could anticipate that AI and RPA deployment will be one of the most popular digital transformation trends in insurance by 2020.

AI and RPA to Facilitate Insurance Sector Takeaways:

  • Many insurance firms are investing in InsurTech to compete with other service providers.
  • One of the significant reasons why Insurers invest in technology is the lack of skilled staff.
  • The insurance industry leverages AI and RPA to seamlessly make their processes more efficient. These technologies could also allow them to find lapses in policies, make triage claims faster, help determine billing anomalies, etc.

9. ACPC Recognition

Always Connected PC (ACPC) is a powerful computer that offers a plethora of amazing features such as the ability to go to sleep without losing progress in any of the available internet-connected applications. It can be constantly connected through LTE and said to last for over a dozen hours in one charge cycle. Essentially, it’s a PC that works like a SmartPhone.

It has been two years since this technology has been introduced in the market. However, up until now and despite its power, only a few (outside the tech industry) knew about its existence.

But this might change in 2020 with the increasing need for small businesses, enterprises, freelancers, students, and individuals to connect to the internet for longer periods. Almost everything can now be done online. This means that having a good internet connection isn’t the only requirement anymore. There will be a need for a computer that can meet the demands and requirements of today’s generation as well.

And it looks like ACPC, with all its incredible capabilities, will be the solution. Many leading computer manufacturers have already expressed interest in producing this type of computer.

For example, Microsoft device partners, including ASUS, Huawei, Xiaomi, and VAIO, are committing themselves to this new category of a computer utilizing eSIM technology. Microsoft also announced that ACPCs would be coming on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset featuring Windows 10, great battery life, and always-on LTE connectivity.

The power coming from ACPC isn’t something to undermine. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that more companies would engage in a smart ACPC business partnership suit.

ACPC Recognition Takeaways:

  • ACPC is a powerful technology with numerous amazing features like the constant connection to LTE for a dozen hours. However, while it’s already two years in the market, only a few people know about its existence.
  • In 2020, the demand for computers that can connect to the internet for a long time without an immediate power source is increasing. This will drive the innovation’s popularity and development.
  • MS device partners (Huawei, Xiaomi, HP, etc.) are committing themselves to develop this type of technology for their line of products. So, we can expect that this tech will easily be within reach of consumers soon.

10. More Stringent Data Protection

Cybersecurity continues to be the leading external concern for businesses in all industries and individuals around the world. Every year, the number of cybercriminals attempting to break into computers increases. And for the past years, there have been a number of terrifying data breaches.

For instance, Mark Zuckerberg was in the hot seat in 2018 following a massive security breach. This affected about 50 million Facebook users. But data breach isn’t Facebook’s problem alone. Many companies such as British Airways (380,000 card payments), T-Mobile (more than 2 million data) have also experienced privacy failures.

Due to the data privacy crisis and other similar concerns, governments had become more cautious. The so-called General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in 2018. This aims to impose the same data security law on all members of the EU. In the US, the calls to impose controls on tech companies also grew.

Thanks to the implementation of these laws, this 2020, we will see more businesses finally taking data security issues more seriously. Nevertheless, we still cannot be sure if everyone will comply with data security regulations.

More Stringent Data Protection Takeaways:

  • Several major events caused the government, businesses, and individuals to be more cautious of their data. These include the data breaches that involved Facebook, British Airways, and T-Mobile.
  • The government imposed new data security laws within the past few years, such as the well-known GDPR. So, businesses should be more mindful of how they collect, use, and store their data.

11. AR & VR for Education

Businesses and consumers aren’t the only sectors that are enjoying rapid advancements in technology. There are various digital transformation trends in education, as well. One of the most “next-gen” among them is the integration of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR).

Admittedly, this department has been slow in adopting new technologies. The way of teaching from past to present is almost identical. However, it’s not always going to be the case. This trend is one proof of it.

AR and VR can spice things up in the education department. They can make learning more fun, informative, and immersive. Imagine transporting the entire classroom to the bottom of the ocean 60 million years into the past. Aside from not being dangerous when done through VR/AR, it’s also a thousand times more engaging than traditional lectures.

These technologies can revolutionize learning. That’s why it’s not a surprise why major companies pay attention to this trend. There’s already a right amount of services being offered related to VR/AR for education. These include Google Expedition, Unimersiv, Lifeliqe, and Cospaces.

So what’s in store for this trend in 2020? The market value of VR/AR technology for education is estimated to reach $300 million. This is an impressive amount for a very niche use case. And according to the same report from Goldman Sachs, this number would skyrocket to $700 million by 2025.

Subjects That VR Would Be Most Suitable For

Arts

Natural Sciences

History

Geography

Source: Samsung Newsroom

Designed by

AR & VR for Education Takeaways:

  • Through AR and VR integration, classroom learning can be more engaging, informative, and fun.
  • Many VR/AR software is geared toward education. The most well-known among them include Google Expedition, Unimersiv, Lifeliqe, and Cospaces.
  • The estimated revenue of VR/AR technology for education is around $300 million by 2020 and $700 million by 2025.

How These Digital Transformation Trends Will Affect Your Business

If you’re following the digital transformation trends of the past few years, you might see repetitive contenders. Cloud, AI, IoT, RPA, and others are always there, either during their development or first implementation phases. After all, the last ten years have been a decade for innovations that are reshaping the digital landscape.

However, 2020 provides somewhat different trends. While the core techs are still there – AI, 5G, etc. – we’ll be seeing many of them in a new light. The year 2020 will be when most of the great technologies that were once only known in concept and testing will be properly implemented. These include 5G phones, connected cloud, and others.

Education, finance, automotive, and other industries are also embracing digital transformation to stay competitive and relevant. Modernization also gives them benefits that the traditional approach cannot. But more than that, this shows how keeping up with the latest technology is a necessity– not a luxury – for many sectors.

There are a lot more interesting subjects to talk about in this area. If you want to learn more, check out our collection of digital transformation statistics. It includes important facts and figures regarding digital transformation management, spending, technologies, and many more.

By Nestor Gilbert

Senior writer for FinancesOnline. If he is not writing about the booming SaaS and B2B industry, with special focus on developments in CRM and business intelligence software spaces, he is editing manuscripts for aspiring and veteran authors. He has compiled years of experience editing book titles and writing for popular marketing and technical publications.

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