Top 5 Technology Trends in 2020

As the first week of the year passes, we decided to look into what the rest of the year could bring. We sat down with two of our executives – Johary Ratsimbazafy, Chief Strategy Officer, and Brad Whittfield, Group CFO, to discuss the top 5 trends to keep an eye out for in the 2020 technology space.

1. VR / AR – more hardware than mainstream
Brad Whittfield – Group CFO

Despite always being touted as the next big thing in tech, VR/AR will remain some distance from being mainstream.

Don’t get me wrong, there has been a lot of progress (especially in the hardware space) in 2019. Of course, Facebook’s Oculus grabbed the headlines creating more consumer interest than ever before. I felt the event gave a lot of insight into where Facebook sees VR / AR going – which is incredibly exciting and goes well beyond gaming.

However, while consumer interest has certainly spiked, I believe it will take time for the content aspects to catch up. I think 2020 will see a continuation of this steady progress on the hardware front with a common mission – get something to market which is or can soon be accessible to the wider audience.

I must say that I am looking forward to seeing what comes from Apple’s rumoured VR / AR project (code-named T288).

2. AI of course
Johary Ratsimbazafy – Chief Strategy Officer

Customer behaviour is changing so rapidly and the demand for a super customized interaction will become the norm in 2020 – customers will simply not tolerate the alternative. If AI (and data analytics which underpins AI) doesn’t form part of your day to day discussions, you’ll quickly find yourself with a serious disadvantage.

From a Digital Content perspective, I see a few areas in AI that will help you maintain your competitive advantage;

1. Content Management – AI helps companies get the information they need from their users and is critical in delivering customized content to customers;
2. Real-time SEO recommendations channelling the right traffic;
3. Marketing and user acquisition – individualised offers and highly relevant recommendations based on the users purchase data and most recent actions.

3. User-generated content (UGC) – give people a stage
Brad Whittfield – Group CFO

When talking about the rise and importance of UGC, I always like to reference the hugely popular TikTok – a Chinese-owned social video-sharing app. Users can shoot, edit, and share 15-second videos jazzed up with filters, music, animation, special effects, and more.

In 2020, we will see complete dominance by UGC. Give people a platform and ability to create and they WILL create content.

Speaking purely from a business model perspective, it’s a massively exciting trend. It’s an extremely cost-effective source of content creation, leads to much higher levels of user acquisition and is a critical ingredient for optimizing user engagement and, hence, customer retention.

4. Game streaming
Johary Ratsimbazafy – Chief Strategy Officer

Game streaming has been around for a number of years, but 2020 will be the year in which it becomes a serious stand-alone business.

All of a sudden, we are in a situation where it has become affordable and, more importantly, accessible to the mass market. From a mobile perspective, the rollout of 5G — which brings much faster wireless broadband speeds to smartphones and other devices on mobile networks — will only help drive the next wave of mobile innovation in game streaming.

In 2020, I expect 5G to have a fairly immediate impact on developed markets. Those countries which already enjoy widespread, low-cost connectivity. In emerging markets, the impact will be more gradual.

5. Platform Economy – Broaden the Scope
Brad Whittfield – Group CFO

Platform economy – The economic and social activity facilitated by platforms – is undeniably growing and is subject to a lot of attention both from political and economic figures across the globe.

Though all regions of the world have embraced the economic model, the US holds the strongest foot on platforms valuation with flagships such as Facebook, Airbnb, Uber or Amazon. Enablers, such as technology and entrepreneurship, are around the globe and exciting concepts, whether in transactional platforms – the matchmakers – or the innovation platforms – the technology enablers – are reaching consumers.

Examples in the Telecommunication industry are already numerous, as evidenced by payment platforms such as M-Pesa or by the Internet of Things.

2020 will confirm this trend for the Telecommunication industry and we could expect significant innovations in mobile digital services – such as Mobile Health, Mobile Entertainment and Mobile Advertising – that will strengthen economic and social interactions.

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