The world in 2020 – five mega technology trends that will transform your consultancy

Javier Baldor, BST Global

Our world is facing unprecedented technological, societal, and economic change. So, how can you prepare to prosper? Five emerging trends will re-shape how you do business in the future, explains BST Global’s executive vice president Javier Baldor.

“A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” So said ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky.

The question is, Where will the puck be in the coming years?

To help you get ahead of the proverbial puck, I have identified five technology trends to watch, based on findings from leading IT research firms like Gartner, technology companies like Google, and private equity firms like Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB).

Trend 1 – The Cloud: A Whole New World

There is a significant transformation and fundamental shift emerging in computing architecture. It is called Cloud Computing – the use of computing resources that are delivered as a service over the Internet.

According to Forrester’s forecast data reported in “Sizing the Cloud,” the global cloud computing market will see a 592% increase, growing from a USD 40.7bn to a USD 241bn market in 2020.

Factors driving this growth, according to private equity firm KPCB, include:

  • Rapidly falling processing costs, while the cloud and accessibility rise.
  • Computing costs declining 33% annually (1990-2013).
  • Storage costs declining 38% annually (1992-2013).
  • Bandwidth costs are declining 27% annually (1999-2013).
  • Smartphone costs declining annually at a 5% clip (2008-2013).

Trend 2 – Web 3.0: Where the Cloud Meets Internet Pervasiveness

The Cloud will be the foundation of the Internet of the future. To understand the Internet of the future and Web 3.0, we must first look at what came before.

Web 1.0 (1990-2000) allowed firms to put brochures on websites and removed geographical restrictions associated with a brick-and-mortar business.

Web 2.0 (2000-2010) was based on user communities and services, such as social networks, blogs, and wikis that encouraged collaboration and information exchange. Think Facebook, YouTube, or LinkedIn, where people can post and others can comment.

Moving forward, Web 3.0 (2010- 2020) will see everything connected, anywhere and all the time, over the Cloud. Not just computers, but also refrigerators, clothing, and cars will carry IP addresses.

This is also known as the “Semantic Web.” And according to Murray State University, researchers are trying to teach computers to know what we mean when we search, not just which keywords we type.

Trend 3 – Going Mobile: Anywhere, Anytime

The consumerisation of technology has taken shape and is dictating what the business technology landscape will be.

According to KPCB, operating systems have been re-imagined and transformed beyond prediction. From 1998 to 2005, Microsoft dominated with 96% market share. By 2012, Microsoft’s operating system share was down to 35% with Apple iOS and Android commanding 60% share.

There were 2.4bn Internet users in 2012. The fastest growing segment is in emerging markets like China, which added 500M mobile users from 2007- 2013. This represents 80% of China’s Internet users and more mobile critical mass than any place in the entire world.

Global mobile traffic has exploded and is expected to be about 38% of total Internet traffic at the end of this year, up from 25% in May of 2014. Smartphone subscriptions are at a staggering 1.5bn, witnessing a year over year growth of 31% in China, 28% in the USA, and 52% in India.

Research from Gartner shows that by 2016 Android will be the number one smartphone operating system at just over 50%, Microsoft will be second at 23%, and Apple third at 21%.

Meanwhile, Apple has sold about 140M tablets in the 3 years since the iPad was introduced - over three times more than the iPhone over the same period. Gartner forecasts that 170M iPads and 137M Android based tablets will be sold in 2016.

It is estimated that 1 in 8 people will have a tablet in their hands by 2017.

Trend 4 – The Wearables and Everywhere Computing

The next transition from mobile Internet computing will be wearables or everywhere computing, which began in 2014 with Google Glass and similar devices. The average person reaches for their smartphone 150 times a day – unnecessary with so-called Sensor Enabled Wearable Attributes.

The benefits are clear:

  • Hands free, voice and gesture control,
  • Always connected to the internet, and
  • Environment aware with built in GPS.

Trend 5 – Surface Computing: The Vision of the Future

Imagine a world where everything is a computing surface: your coffee table, mirror, desk, refrigerator, or windows. It is coming by 2020. It is not easy to envision, but Microsoft has developed a video at www.microsoft.com/office/vision/ to demonstrate the power of this trend.

There are many opinions on where the puck is going to be in the future. But what is certain is that the world will witness unprecedented changes and opportunities in the years ahead leading up to 2020 and beyond.

The key question is, Will you be ready?


About the Author: Javier A. Baldor is an Executive Vice President and Principal Shareholder at BST Global, an international business management software and cloud solutions provider for the world’s leading Architectural, Engineering, and Environmental Consultancies.