The top technology trends for 2020 and 2021

17 February 2020 12 min. read
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Technology has become an intrinsic part of life – deeply embedded in how governments, businesses and people work and live. In a new report by Accenture, titled ‘Technology Vision 2020’, the firm’s authors outline fifteen large technology trends and developments that are set to reshape business and society in the coming years. 

The I in experience

Helping people choose their own adventure.
Redesign digital experiences with new models that amplify personal agency. Turn passive audiences into active participants by transforming one-way experiences into true collaborations. 

Personalising experiences
Providing immersive and meaningful digital experiences is how leading businesses are connecting with their customers. But as demand for customised experiences grows, people are becoming increasingly wary of the methods enterprises use to provide it. 

Striking a balance with personalization

The need for agency
As customers demand more ownership over their digital experiences, enterprises must find ways to provide individuals with more agency and make them co-creators of their experiences. Those that do will find more active, engaged and loyal customers.

Setting up future success
Emerging technologies like 5G and AR have the potential to make experience customisation ubiquitous across people’s lives. But that future will be unachievable if people continue to feel out of the loop. Leaders that explore new avenues to include customer agency today will be laying the foundation for long-term success. 

AI and me

Reimagine the business through human and AI collaboration.
Take a new approach that uses artificial intelligence to bring out the full power of people. Move beyond deploying AI for automation alone and push into the new frontier of co-creation between people and machines. 

Collaborate, don’t just automate
Enterprises are only realising a fraction of the potential of AI – and ultimately their employees. By finding more collaborative use cases and building the capabilities needed for AI and people to work together seamlessly, they will amplify the best qualities of both.

The top technology trends - Facts

Context matters
To collaborate successfully, humans and machines need to better understand one another. Advances in natural language processing (NLP) and computer vision can help machines understand people and their surroundings. And prioritising explainability will help organisations ensure that people understand AI. 

Reimagine what you do
Businesses that facilitate human-machine collaboration today will be able to reimagine every aspect of their organisation, from the way they design products, to the way they hire and train employees. True pioneers will use these capabilities to reinvent the entire business from the ground up – tackling bigger challenges and building the next generation of the intelligent enterprise. 

The dilemma of smart things

Overcome the “beta burden”.
Address the new reality of product ownership in the era of “forever beta.” Transform pain points into an opportunity to create an unprecedented level of business-customer partnership. 

Understanding the “beta burden”
As products become conduits for experiences, their features and functionality are constantly in flux. While this state of “forever beta” opens up a wellspring of opportunity, if mishandled it risks leaving people overwhelmed, frustrated and wary of what’s around the corner. 

Ownership is changing
Experience-driven and updatable products are introducing a new model of ownership – one where businesses must retain some control and responsibility over a device, even after a customer purchases it. This shift has implications for the whole organisation, and businesses must ensure their strategies and operating models are aligned with this new reality. 

Are customers and businesses divided on the future of products?

Designing for the journey
Enterprises have to design products to evolve and transform over time, while simultaneously becoming more comfortable releasing products they might conventionally see as “unfinished.” Products will gain value from the ecosystem of experiences that form around them, if properly fostered and guided by the enterprise. 

Robots in the wild

Growing the enterprise’s reach and responsibility.
Build new models of interaction and impact as robotics move beyond the walls of the enterprise. Companies in every industry will unlock new opportunities by introducing robots to the next frontier: the open world.

The robots are coming
Advances in robotics, falling hardware costs and the advent of 5G are enabling a major shift. Businesses are starting to extend their robotics capabilities into uncontrolled environments and the open world, and robot use cases are expanding from specialised industries to every industry.

Expanding responsibilities in a world of robotics

Extending the business
Enterprises are being presented with exciting new paths to engage the world around them. Already, robots are being used by companies big and small to engage and delight customers, solve logistics difficulties or take on difficult and dangerous tasks. No matter the use case, advanced robotics offer enterprises an opportunity to push the intelligence of the digital world out into the physical one.

Diving into the ecosystem
Every executive must start to see their company, at least in part, as a robotics company. This means forging new partnerships, hiring new talent and finding new vendors that will grant access to the skills, tools and machines that companies need to tackle their biggest ambitions. 

Innovation DNA

Create an engine for continuous innovation.
Tap into the unprecedented scale of disruptive technology available today. Build the capabilities and ecosystem partnerships necessary to assemble the organisation’s unique innovation DNA.

Unprecedented innovation opportunities
Businesses today have an unprecedented range of innovation opportunities before them. Leaders will take advantage of this diversity, ensuring their innovation strategies include efforts from across three major categories: maturing digital technologies, scientific advancements and emerging DARQ technologies.

Build your innovation
DNA This isn’t a matter of checking three boxes. Enterprise leaders must carefully construct their organisation’s unique combination of technology innovation. Determining where they hold an advantage, where they are lagging and what their future ambitions are will help leaders blend efforts across all three categories to construct their innovation DNA. 

Create an innovation engine
Businesses cannot look at innovation as an incremental effort; they must design the capabilities to make it an ongoing practice in the organisation. Building innovation hubs, centers of excellence and co-innovation partnerships are some of the ways successful companies are ensuring a constant injection of new skills, technologies and ideas. 

Technology trends

DARQ power

Understanding the DNA of DARQ.
New technologies are catalysts for change, offering businesses extraordinary new capabilities. Distributed ledger technology, artificial intelligence, extended reality, and quantum computing (DARQ) will be the next set of new technologies to spark a step change, letting businesses reimagine entire industries. 

Get to know me

Unlock unique customers and unique opportunities.
Technology-driven interactions are creating an expanding technology identity for every consumer. This living foundation of knowledge will be key to not only understanding the next generation of consumers, but also to delivering rich, individualised, experience based relationships in the post-digital age.

Human + worker

Change the workplace or hinder the workforce.
Workforces are becoming human+: each individual is empowered by their skillsets and knowledge plus a new, constantly growing set of capabilities made possible through technology. Now, companies must adapt the technology strategies that successfully created this next generation workforce to support a new way of working in the post-digital age. 

Secure us to secure me

Enterprises are not victims, they’re vectors.
While ecosystem-driven business depends on interconnectedness, those connections increase companies’ exposures to risks. Leading businesses are recognising that just as they already collaborate with entire ecosystems to deliver best-inclass products, services and experiences, it’s time security joins that effort as well. 

My markets

Meet consumers’ needs at the speed of now.
Technology is creating a world of intensely customised and on-demand experiences, and companies must reinvent their organisations to find and capture those opportunities as they come. That means viewing each opportunity as if it’s an individual market – a momentary market. 

Citizen AI

Raising AI to benefit business and society.
As artificial intelligence grows in its capabilities – and its impact on people’s lives – businesses must move to “raise” their AIs to act as responsible, productive members of society.

Extended reality

The end of distance.
Virtual and augmented reality technologies are removing the distance to people, information and experiences, transforming the ways people live and work. 

Data veracity

The importance of trust.
By transforming themselves to run on data, businesses have created a new kind of vulnerability: inaccurate, manipulated and biased data that leads to corrupted business insights, and skewed decisions with a major impact on society. 

Frictionless business

Built to partner at scale.
Businesses depend on technology-based partnerships for growth, but their own legacy systems aren’t designed to support partnerships at scale. To fully power the connected Intelligent Enterprise, companies must first rearchitect themselves. 

Internet of thinking

Creating intelligent distributed systems.
Businesses are making big bets on intelligent environments via robotics, AI and immersive experiences. But to bring these intelligent environments to life, they must extend their infrastructures into the dynamic, real-world environments they want to reach.