No one can predict the future of technology trends with 100% accuracy, but we can make smart predictions based upon knowledge of current technologies and what is being researched and developed.
According to McKinsey Digital, there are several tech trends that are important to take note of because of their significant impact on all aspects of our lives.
Technological progress is exponential, meaning that we are likely to see more progress in the next decade than we did in the preceding several decades combined. A non-linear progression makes sense when we consider that technology enables further progress in technology, rather like how compound interest adds up.
For investors, and indeed everyone else, being aware of the coming transformative and disruptive technologies allows you to prepare for what’s coming down the pipe. Businesses that make investments in new enabling technologies will be in a better place to ride out the new wave of game-changing technologies.
A good example of the exponential growth of technology, said McKinsey & Co, is how we saw ten years of growth in e-commerce in just three months in 2019 – “The Quickening.” They also conclude that the growth we see in the next ten years will be as great as that seen in the last 100 years.
So, with that, let’s look at some of these game changing, emerging technologies so we can get an idea of where we are heading in the very near future. If there are going to be disruptions and shocks, it’s best to be ready for them.
Automation and virtualisation
It has been estimated that at least 50% of all work done by humans could be automated in the next few decades. That’s an astounding prediction that could materialise due to new process automation and virtualisation being taken up on a large scale. Governments, in other words, will have to contend with job losses and the potential for social unrest that could result.
“By 2025, more than 50 billion devices will be connected to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT),” McKinsey predicts. The enormous amount of data that will be produced by connecting technologies to the cloud, such as robots, automation, 3D orienting, smart home appliances, etc., will be just mind-boggling, amounting to about 80 zettabytes per year. Big Data and data analytics will be able to use this data to further improve operating systems and processes.
Enabling technologies like 5G and IoT are likely to unleash a new wave of commercial and economic activity. Many countries are hastily rolling out 5G as I write. It may not all be plain sailing, however, since major US airlines have voiced concern that 5G near major transport hubs could potentially have devasting impacts on their operations.
Anticipated economic growth resulting from increased and faster connectivity could increase global GDP by $1.2 trillion to $2 trillion within the next ten years. This means that 5G and IoT are among the most economically important technology trends to keep an eye on over the next decade.
“Far-greater network availability and capability will drive broad shifts in the business landscape, from the digitization of manufacturing (through wireless control of mobile tools, machines, and robots) to decentralised energy delivery and remote patient monitoring.”
70 percent of businesses will use hybrid-cloud or multi-cloud platforms in a distributed IT architecture soon. It will allow for data and processing to be handled in the cloud yet be made available to devices more quickly and efficiently.
According to McKinsey, “This tech trend will help companies boost their speed and agility, reduce complexity, save costs, and strengthen their cybersecurity defences.”
Together, AI and next generation commuting technology will likely result in humanity solving some of the big problems that we currently face, along with exponentially boosting capabilities for countless businesses.
Advanced computing includes developments and capabilities that will have a major impact on the global trade and economy. From AI to autonomous vehicles and beyond, many technologies will be affected by next generation computing.
Preparing for next-generation computing requires identifying whether you’re in a first-wave industry (such as finance, travel, logistics, global energy and materials, and advanced industries or whether your business depends on trade secrets and other data that must be safeguarded during the shift from current to quantum cryptograph.
Application of AI
Perhaps the most revolutionary technology of all, AI is set to change our world in many ways, property development being a great example. We are in the early stages of AI development, and there is still a long way to go. Technology will be used to further develop tech-based tools, such as teaching robots and machines to recognise patterns and then act on them, as technology grows more advanced.
Within only a few short years, AI could be responsible for about half of everyone’s interaction with computers and the internet. This means property developers, estate agents, property buyers and sellers, renters, and investors alike will be using AI more and more. Virtual tours of the property will be conducted and guided by AI, which will be able to answer any questions potential buyers may have.
Next generation programming
Human software and code programming will be increasingly taken over by neural networks and machine learning. According to McKinsey, “This tech trend makes possible the rapid scaling and diffusion of new data-rich, AI-driven applications.”
A likely result will be the availability of very powerful software applications way beyond what we have today. This will also have implications for human programmers and their future careers. By creating the capability for machines to do the programming, they are undermining their prospects because existing software and coding will be capable of being done in an automated and standardised way.
Secure Digital Architecture
More than 8.5 billion records were breached in 2019. Cybercriminals, despite recent advancements in the field, are doubling down on their efforts to breach IT systems and security. In 2021, trust architectures will aid in the battle against cybercrime as a major tech trend.
Indeed, cyber threats are considered by world leaders as a major threat to humanity and are currently engaged in cyber-attack drills on financial and other systems that, if breached and seriously compromised, could cause chaos in the global financial markets, and have serious real-world consequences. The European Union (EU), for example, is running six weeks of cyber-attack simulations on disruptions to supply chains. Given that there are already problems with supply chains due to the pandemic, such concerns are made even more pressing.
Several innovative approaches to tackling trust architecture include using distributed ledgers, like blockchain technology, which is the technology behind how cryptocurrencies are used. In this respect, said McKinsey, “In addition to lowering the risk of breaches, trust architectures reduce the cost of complying with security regulations, lower the operating and capital expenditures associated with cybersecurity, and enable more cost-efficient transactions, for instance, between buyers and sellers.”
Blockchain technology will affect every industry, and the property sector is no different. In the past, it was unusual for people to buy and sell high-value assets like real estate entirely through a digital process. Deals in real estate are generally made in person, with a variety of parties meeting in person. Blockchain has now offered a different way of doing things. With the advent of smart contracts on blockchain systems, assets such as real estate may now be tokenized and exchanged in the same way that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have been.
Traditionally, the real estate industry has been principally involved with listing properties, advising clients, and then connecting sellers with buyers to complete a transaction and transfer of property. However, real estate assets can be tokenized and therefore easily bought and sold in the same way that stocks and shares are done online.
Furthermore, trusted architecture like blockchain can reduce costs by changing how intermediaries like lawyers and banks interact with the property sector. With the advent of new digital platforms, real estate functions like listings and legal documentation can be done more efficiently and without the need for expensive services. The benefit to buyers and sellers of real estate will be savings on commissions and fees charged by these services and intermediaries.
One last benefit of blockchain technology to the property sector worth mentioning is fractal ownership, which has significant implications for property investors, especially since it lowers the entry barriers to investing in real estate. Anyone that has previously invested in property will know very well that, typically, significant amounts of money would be needed upfront to secure a property investment, or investors would need to pool their money for the purchase of larger properties.
With blockchain technology, on the other hand, investors need only use a trading app on their smart device or computer to buy and sell fractions of tokens. Moreover, for property investors, buying property in this way also means that the investor will not have the responsibility of managing, leasing, or maintaining the property themselves, whereas previously this would be done by the buy-to-let investor or must pay for a property management company to do it for them, cutting into their profits.
The expense of maintaining a property on your own may be substantial and dealing with renters can be a difficult and time-consuming task. Related businesses, such as lending, where property owners typically must place their assets as security for loans, are also affected. Depending on the terms and conditions of the agreement, property owners may be able to continue using their property while selling fractional ownership of it.
In sum, technological innovations over the next decade are set to change the Technosphere in ways that go way beyond what we have seen to date. At least by being aware of them, we can make early preparations for their impacting every aspect of commerce and, indeed, our personal lives. Not only that, the psychological and cultural changes can be better handled as well.