The 2010s made one thing clear: technology is everywhere in life.
The technology is in our homes with thermostats that heat our homes before we go through the door. It's in our cars with safety features that warn us about vehicles in adjacent lanes. It's on our television sets, where many of us broadcast programs and movies through apps. We even wear it in the form of wristwatches that monitor our health.
By 2020 and the next decade, these trends are likely to gain momentum. They will also be on display next week at CES, a huge consumer electronics fair in Las Vegas that usually serves as a window on the hottest technology developments of the year.
At the fair, next-generation cellular technology known as 5G, which delivers data at breakneck speeds, is expected to be the center of attention as one of the most important topics. We are also likely to see the evolution of smart homes with Internet-connected appliances such as refrigerators, televisions and vacuum cleaners working more seamlessly – and with less human interaction required.
"The biggest thing is about everything," said Carolina Milanesi, technology analyst at research firm Creative Strategies. "Anything at home – we'll have more cameras, more microphones, more sensors."
If this looks the same as last year, it is because new technologies often take time to mature.
See what to watch in technology this year.
The smartest home: true automation
In recent years, Amazon, Apple and Google have struggled to become the center of our homes.
Its virtual assistants – Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri – respond to voice commands to play music on speakers, control lamps and activate vacuum cleaners. Smart home products work well, but are complicated to set up; therefore, most people use virtual assistants only for basic tasks such as setting a kitchen timer and checking the weather.
Then, in December, Amazon, Apple and Google came to what seemed like a truce: they announced that they were working together on a pattern to help make smart home products compatible with each other.
In other words, when you buy an Internet-connected light bulb on the line that works with Alexa, it should also work with Siri and Google Assistant. This should help reduce confusion when buying household products and improve the ease with which connected gadgets work with each other.
Milanesi said eliminating complexity was a necessary step for technology giants to reach their ultimate goal: perfect home automation without the need for people to tell assistants what to do.
"You want devices to talk to each other instead of me being the translator between these device interactions," she said. "If I open my door, the door can tell the lights that the door is open, so the lights need to come on."
If and when this happens, your home will be truly – and finally – smart.
The slow and steady rise of 5G
By 2019, the wireless industry began shifting to 5G, a technology that can deliver data at incredibly fast speeds so people can download entire movies within seconds.
However, the launch of the 5G was anticlimatic and uneven. In the United States, operators have deployed 5G in just a few dozen cities. And only a handful of new smartphones last year worked with the new cellphone technology.
By 2020, 5G will gain some momentum. Verizon said it expects half of the country to have access to 5G this year. AT&T, which offers two types of 5G – 5G Evolution, which is incrementally faster than 4G, and 5G Plus, which is the ultra-fast version – said it expected the 5G Plus to reach parts of the 30 cities in early 2020.
Another sign that the 5G is really steadying itself? A wider set of devices will support the new wireless standard.
Samsung has begun to include 5G support in some of its latest Galaxy devices. Apple, which declined to comment, is also due to release its first 5G-compatible iPhones this year.
And 5G will work behind the scenes in ways that will emerge over time. An important benefit of technology is its ability to greatly reduce the latency or time it takes for devices to communicate. This will be important for the compatibility of next generation devices such as robots, autonomous cars and drones.
For example, if your car has 5G and another 5G, both cars can talk to each other, signaling when they are braking and changing lanes. Eliminating communications delay is crucial for cars to become autonomous.
The clothing market heats up
It is a time of intense competition in laptops that should lead to more creativity and innovation.
For a long time, Apple has dominated wearables. In 2015, it launched Apple Watch, a smart watch focused on health monitoring. In 2016, the company launched AirPods, wireless headphones that can be controlled with Siri.
Since then, many others have entered the scene, including Xiaomi, Samsung and Huawei. Google recently acquired fitness device maker Fitbit for $ 2.1 billion, hoping to reach Apple.
Computer chips are reaching other electronics such as headsets, which means companies are likely to introduce innovations in wearable accessories, said Frank Gillett, a technology analyst at Forrester. Two possibilities: earphones that monitor your health by pulling wrists from your ears or earphones that function as inexpensive hearing aids.
"This whole area of improving our hearing and listening to how other people hear us is really interesting," he said.
The transmission revolution
We run headlong into the age of transmission, and that will only continue.
By 2019, Netflix was the most watched video service in the United States, with people spending an average of 23 minutes a day streaming their content, according to eMarketer, a research firm. In total, digital video made up about a quarter of the daily time spent on digital devices last year, including time spent on apps and web browsers.
Netflix's share of the total time spent watching video on devices is likely to decrease by 2020, according to eMarketer, due to the arrival of competing streaming services such as Disney Plus, HBO Max and Apple TV Plus.
"While Americans spend more time watching Netflix, people's attention will be more divided as new broadcasts emerge," eMarketer analyst Ross Benes said in a statement. blog post.
So if you don't like "The Mandalorian", "The Morning Show"Or" Watchmen, "you don't change channels. You'll just switch to a different app.