Telenor Research Shares 20 Tech Trends For 2020

It’s still relatively early in the year and we’re still receiving quite a number of tech trends from various industry experts here at our news desk. The latest is from Telenor Research, who shared the following 20 trends that are set to make 2020 a year that is exciting, chaotic and complex.

Bjørn Taale Sandberg, Head of Telenor Research was in KL today to share his insight on these trends. Bjørn believes that many of the trends show that innovation is charging ahead faster than ever, enabled by more access and more demand, as well as by revolutionary new tech platforms and socio-political forces.

At the same time, Bjørn adds that other trends suggest we are having a common technological epiphany, or a kind of digital realisation. He continued, “People are waking up and examining how and where technologies, including AI, Machine Learning, IoT, and new network innovations will best and most securely connect them with the people and things that matter most. The world of technology isn’t a place that can be defined by a single storyline. It’s our job to understand the larger, sometimes contradicting contexts we live in and then to home in on the most important developments that could reshape our lives.”

During the media session, Bjørn particularly chose to highlight a handful out of the twenty trends, which include:

What is the cost of trust?
A growing minority of people are waking up to the fact that free searches and social media services aren’t really free.

Bjørn believes that the competition among companies for customer trust will intensify in 2020, and mobile devices will be their main arena.

Trust is at the core of all relationships, including those with customers. In today’s world, we share so much personal information online and many around the globe still believe that 'free' services come at no cost.

However, over the years, a long line of scandals has plagued many of the internet and social media companies that leverage our mobile connections. This, as well as the fact that privacy literacy among the consumers is increasing, will mean that people will take a second look at these organisations and be savvier about data and how it is used. “Privacy competent customers are less trustful,” Bjørn commented.

As such, for the year 2020, companies will need to be more concerned about how they use customer data. They need to be more transparent and take data privacy seriously as a vital way to keep their customers.
The Internet of Bodies
A growing “internet” of connected health, medical and communications devices – attached to our bodies

As an extension of IoT technology that has swept the world in recent years, the Internet of Bodies (IoB) is about to gain greater prominence in 2020 beyond. IoB is about connecting the human body, through devices that are either ingested or implanted, which can then be monitored for valuable data or controlled for a wide variety of different use cases.

“Today and even more so starting next year, we are connecting our bodies through a host of monitors that measure blood pressure, blood oxygen, activity, heart rate, arrhythmia and even snoring. And in 2020 we will see the first applications that go beyond just monitoring and into actual auto-interventions,” Bjørn shared.

One such example is insulin pumps. A large community of patients and health advocates, “We are Not Waiting”, have pushed the frontier for a long time, and in 2020, we will see the first commercial systems closing the loop between reading blood sugar and delivering insulin to the body. Biohacks such as Elon Musk’s Neuralink startup are still far from commercialisation, but there are diseases and conditions that are costly and care-intensive where the IoB will have great potential.
“DIRTY DATA!” is the new “FAKE NEWS!”
The term “dirty data” will be used to question AI credibility

This one has been raised in many of the enterprise tech conferences and events that we have covered over the past few years. As the use of AI and machine learning increases, in 2020 there will be a growing concern on the data that is used to train the AI algorithms.

If “dirty data” is used, which is data that is incomplete, inconsistent, outdated or contains duplications and biases (either existing or historical), then the resulting outcomes or decisions will most likely be inaccurate, biased, flawed or even illegal.

Thus, Telenor Research believes that this year, the term “dirty data” may go as mainstream as “fake news” and will be subject to more public scrutiny. People will be looking closer at AI solutions to determine whether they are fair and unbiased, or whether the data used to train them was 'dirty'.

Bjørn explained that the EU and the data science community is very aware of this challenge, and is working hard to ensure data quality, startups focused on data auditing are seeing the light of day and significant research is going into finding solutions. The question is whether practitioners will manage to keep pace as new data is generated at astonishing speed.

This “dirty data” trend is closely related to the “DIY AI” trend also mentioned by Telenor. As the name suggests, DIY AI means that more people and organisations will develop their own AI solutions this year as more tools, such as AI platforms with automated machine learning features, continue to make it simpler for them to do so.

AI will become more accessible and easier to develop without assistance from experts. The challenge, Bjørn said, is that unlike data scientists or AI specialists who are trained and understand issues like dirty data or biased algorithms, non-experts may not be aware of the problem.

There were quite a number of other AI-related trends Telenor named, such as the increasing call for “Ethical AI” and how machine learning will be used to fight phone scams in 2020.

Tech-arranged “marriages”
5G, IoT and AI will spur industry collaborations that share competence and co-create world-changing platforms

2019 was year 0 for commercial 5G launches. In 2020, we will see widespread launches in most developed economies. Mobile providers will put 5G’s speed and capacity on centre stage, but the real innovations, and with them, sweeping societal changes, will come from behind the scenes where industries are getting together and mixing things up.

These innovations include network-slicing, with which business-critical systems can run unencumbered over the mobile internet. Or something called Network Function Virtualization (NFV), where network services can be developed by software, which will radically speed up how services are developed.

With lower latency (meaning: no signal delays, everything in real-time) and a vastly higher number of IoT devices out in the world, emergency, eHealth, logistics, security systems and remote investigations will be enabled by quality networks that allow remote investigations using video, drones and sensors that securely transmit data.

2020 will mark the beginning of this innovation journey. Turning these opportunities into scalable innovations will require industries and governments to pool their competencies and start co-creating services. The technology is here, but no single company possesses the capabilities to make it real.

To read the rest of the Telenor Research’s 20 Tech Trends for 2020, click here.

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