Future Perfect: Tech Predictions 2020

Technologists and futurists share their thoughts on the trends and technologies next year will bring us.

As the Christmas season approaches, we turn our minds to ponder what technology changes 2020 will bring. The elves at OBT scoured the internet to gather these thoughts from the world’s leading tech thinkers.

Key threads that weave through much of the analysis is that 2020 will continue along the trajectory of the past few years, ramping up the use of cloud and automation technologies to crush looming skills and market deficits. In the event there’s a global economic reset next year, unprepared organisations will struggle or falter while smaller, more nimble start-ups grab the opportunities.

Increasingly, our visionaries expect to see a shift to valuing human emotions and behaviours, and a new way of talking about business and IT that privileges human beings and biology. 2020 may be the year that puts people at the centre of everything. With an increase in the number of systems mimicking humans or coded by observing human behaviour patterns, we’re no longer the problem that technology must solve. We’re the solution.

Here are what the experts say will matter in 2020:



“Ransomware incidents will grow. Attackers demand ransom from device manufacturers after notifying its affected customers. Attackers will use AI and machine learning to enhance attacks using data. Natural language and video AI will generate fake audio and video (‘deepfakes’) to fool users, which will cost businesses over $US250 million ($A370 million).” — Forrester

“Enterprise executives will be concentrating their budgets and time on detecting cyber threats using AI above predicting and responding. As enterprises mature in their use and adoption of AI as part of their cybersecurity efforts, prediction and response will correspondingly increase.” — Nicko van Someren, Absolute Software CTO

Mobility & Worker Empowerment


Paper-thin OLEDs with touch will be the norm in 2020, “So surfaces will become computational — walls, mirrors, windows.” — Mike Liebhold, Institute for the Future Distinguished Fellow

“Through 2023, 30% of IT organisations will extend BYOD policies with ‘bring your own enhancement’ (BYOE) for augmented workforce. The temptation to assert control might increase as human augmentation becomes prevalent. Industries like automotive and mining use wearables to increase worker safety, travel and healthcare to increase productivity. Organisations will consider how physical augmentations are leveraged in personal and professional lives.” — Gartner

“The Japanese government and Olympic Committee have urged 8 million employees to telework during the Tokyo Olympic Games to decrease commuting congestion. By 2025, remote work will be a remedy to urban congestion and encouraged in up to 30% of cities with populations above 5 million people.” — Andrew Filev, Wrike CEO

“Within a few years, geographically distributed teams will be the norm. Expect companies with one or two main offices to split into four or five smaller ones, and a greater share of employees to work remotely several days a week or even permanently.” — Karan Mehandru, Trinity Ventures General Partner

Professional workers will increasingly orchestrate their business applications like media streaming services. Corporate IT’s one-size-fits-all philosophy will cave in as empowered workers provide application playlists to the IT function that best serve their roles and employer expectations for their productivity [a reversal of catalogues to reign in shadow IT]. — Gartner

Digital Transformation


Enterprises will tend to take twice as long and spend double on their digital transformation projects as they “recognise the challenges of technology modernisation and the costs of simplifying operations [while] smaller organisations will be first to market”. — Gartner 

“Volatility and slowing growth in 2020 will put pressure on CIOs to control costs and improve efficiency. CIOs will look within their own organisation, automating 10% of repetitive IT tasks.” — Forrester 

Automation, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

“By 2023, a self-regulating association for oversight of AI and machine learning designers will be established in at least four of the G7 countries.

AI technology is vulnerable to implicit and explicit bias, logic gaps and general algorithm complexities. At scale, these biases can affect groups of people and the impact can be severe. Industries will need to create standardisation around development and certifications, and professional standards for ethical AI usage.” — Gartner  

A quarter of the Fortune 500 will build AI such as text analytics and machine learning into their projects, many of them aiming at tactical investments with quick pay-offs and “crystal-clear efficiency gains” in areas such as reading emails and documents and human resources chatbots to support employees. — Forrester

By 2024, more than half of user interactions will deploy natural language processing, computer vision and speech, and augmented or virtual reality. – IDC 

Customers prefer to use automated chatbots and half of the Fortune 500 has responded with technology trials. Chatbots will improve and make it easier to shop online, cutting the rate at which customers abandon their carts and resolving problems without human intervention. — Bernard Marr, Futurist, Forbes

Leadership & Values


“Assumptions around the fixed nature of what humans are is challenged. Technology, and its applications, are poised to affect every aspect of what we call humanity and the conditions in which humans must live.” — Gartner

“The model will shift from one of technology-literate people to one of people-literate technology. The burden of translating intent will move from the user to the computer. This ability to communicate with users across many human senses will provide a richer environment for delivering nuanced information.” — Gartner

“More than 55% of consumers will consider company values when making a buying decision.” – Forrester

Internet Of Things


Connected products create a constant communication flow between customers and product maker. They also create ongoing costs. A major consumer or B2B provider will convert from product sales to an IoT services offering, backed by partners in an ecosystem.” — Forrester

“Just about every business will become an IoT business. The convergence of the digital and physical worlds makes this inevitable. Companies will become IoT service businesses as value moves from products to experiences fundamentally changing how businesses operate, interact with customers and make money.” — Jahangir Mohammed, CEO Jasper Technologies for the World Economic Forum

From everyone at OBT, we thank you for your custom in 2019, wish you a safe and joyous holiday period with best wishes for an even more prosperous year ahead.

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