We’ve seen some incredible technological innovations over the last decade, but as we move into the 20s, what new developments await us? Here, we take a look at some of the top consumer electronics trends for 2020.
One of the consumer electronics trends that people have been discussing for some time now is 5G. 2019 saw EE, Vodafone, Three and O2 all roll out their 5G networks in the UK. In 2020, we can expect more mobile carriers to follow suit, as well as 5G being rolled out in other countries.
5G promises faster internet speeds for everyone and should be especially beneficial for those living in areas that currently have poor or non-existent 4G coverage. This is possible because of the 5G small cells replacing the monolithic 4G cell towers.
The 5G cells can be mounted almost anywhere, including in towns and cities, without being intrusive or an eyesore as they are only small boxes and can be installed in a few hours. We can expect to see more of these 5G cells installed in the world around us as 5G coverage becomes more common.
Medical technology has long been dependent on innovation within electronics. Recently, more developments have been made in electronic tattoos – thin, wearable electronics that can be worn on the skin to monitor vital signs such as heart and brain functions and transmit that data to a smartphone or computer for real-time health analysis.
Technologies such as this have the potential to fundamentally change the way treatment is administered, as intuitive monitoring technology can give more accurate and personalised readings of all the health risks of an individual. Rather than going through a series of tests and being prescribed a treatment that may aggravate other conditions, patients are more likely to get treatment that is tailored specifically for their entire health profile.
2020 could be the year that sees blockchain technology change the way companies do business. Blockchain technology is a digital ledger that records and stores transaction information in an encrypted, decentralised manner. Blockchain technology is more secure against hackers and malware trying to manipulate past transactions as any changes made to a ‘block’ in the blockchain changes the block’s unique hash which would no longer match the chronology of the chain.
All the information in a blockchain is transparent, meaning anyone can see the transactions made by a person or company but cannot change or manipulate that data. The wide use of blockchain technology in the business world would mean fewer companies ‘dealing under the table’ as everyone in a blockchain is accountable for their own activity.
One of the biggest consumer electronics trends of 2019 has been extended reality or XR. 2020 is likely to bring more extended reality concepts and technology. Virtual and augmented reality video games have seen some huge developments in the past year, with many popular games including elements of VR or AR. The announcement of the next generation of gaming consoles will no doubt lead to more games of this ilk being developed to complement more powerful hardware.
Whilst we can bank on the continued growth of XR within the entertainment industries, we could also be looking forward to other businesses adopting the technology. XR can be used for training and simulation purposes, as well as be coupled with AI to test the efficiency of new production methods. XR could also be used in sales and marketing to compellingly demonstrate a product or service to potential customers or investors.
We’re still a way off being able to sit back in our cars and take a nap whilst the vehicle drives us to work on its own, but we can expect significant strides to be made in the technology in 2020. Electric and hybrid cars are already on the rise in popularity, with a number of countries already pledging to cease production of new combustion engine vehicles in the near future.
The development of autonomous driving is being backed by some huge companies like Elon Musk’s Tesla, so there’s no shortage of funds when it comes to researching this new technology. According to the five levels of autonomous driving, we are well into level two, but 2020 could see more manufacturers moving into the ‘highly automated driving’ stage. This is where drivers will be able to turn away from the road and hand over complete control of the car for limited durations on long-distance journeys, such as on motorways.
Autonomous driving is probably the most hotly anticipated consumer electronics trend. There are already so many electronic components used in hybrid and electric cars, even in modern combustion engine cars, but the number of components that will be required for fully autonomous cars makes this a very exciting venture for the electronics industry.
These are just some of the exciting technologies that could be coming in 2020, but there will also be many more. The development of any electronic technology for use in a particular product or industry opens up the opportunity to apply that technology to a range of other industries, so we’re sure to see some innovations that most of us haven’t even conceived of yet.
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