The roaring '20s have arrived, and with it the boundaries of tech innovation are continually getting pushed like there's no tomorrow. Much like its 20th-century cousin, the 2020s will be a time of rapid growth in emerging markets, except this time we've swapped combustion engines and petroleum for microchips and super-fast internet.
Today we get our crystal ball out (wifi enabled of course) and try to predict which tech industries will be the biggest winners in the forthcoming decade.
AI is already upon us but many industry experts argue that things will take off in the 2020s. They argue that this will be a decade of tremendous change as technology and mankind become ever more entwined.
AI will continue its permeation to the business and financial worlds. Robotic process automation is expected to carry much of the burden of the more menial but essential administrative roles in business today. As software develops and the volume of data increases, we can expect these automated systems to improve and adapt as time passes. The IDC estimates that by 2025, 75% of businesses will be retraining staff to fill gaps left by new AI technology.
But AI will affect us more personally over the coming decade. More and more mobile phone companies are utilising AI at an increasing rate. Just 3% of the phones sold in 2018 housed some form of artificial intelligence. By 2020, that figure is expected to reach up to 35% of devices. Companies like Apple, Huawei, and Samsung are leading the way in this regard.
This tech has been somewhat of a slow burner, having originated back in the 1980s. As exciting as the concept of virtual reality sounds, it never really entered the mainstream until Facebook's purchase of Oculus back in 2014. The company has released a string of headsets including the popular Oculus Go. Since then, other companies have pressed fast-forward in their research and development of virtual reality and as we enter the 2020s, that doesn't look likely to change.
These trends will only continue as virtual reality and entertainment become increasingly related. Right now, the most popular use of the tech is in the gaming world and that shows no signs of changing. Epic Games, the publisher behind global phenomenon Fortnite has invested big in virtual reality.
And they aren't alone. We can expect more and more companies to take advantage of the immersive nature of the technology. VR can take us to a whole other place which is why it is so effective in online gaming. We've seen companies like Microgaming start to develop VR games for use on online casino sites. We may see this trend continue as we progress through the new decade.
But virtual reality will start to see greater use in other areas. A recent VR intelligence report found that the development of enterprise products is progressing quicker than it is for consumers. That means that we can expect VR and AR products to enter the workplace during this decade like never before. We're already seeing the start of that – headsets such as the Google Glass Enterprise Edition is not for consumer release and is instead being utilised in sectors such as engineering and design.
It's getting more difficult to feed a rapidly-growing global population. This is only going to get harder as the world transitions to more renewable forms of energy and food production. This is an area that will grow tremendously in the next decade as the market looks for innovative solutions to the problems.
We can expect huge growth in agriculture. Hydroponic and vertical farming are trends that are already taking root in some parts of the world. That will only increase as new technologies and research can make the process more efficient and cost-effective. The hydroponics market alone is set to double between 2019 and 2025 according to a report with the Asia Pacific region set for the fastest growth.
Another part of this will be the growth of the artificial protein sector. Companies like Quorn have expanded rapidly in recent years and that shows little sign of stopping as more and more people switch to a plant-based diet.
“Next-generation protein are needed to feed a population of almost 10 billion and received five times the investment of the previous year, landing at more than $200 million,” according to the research group Lux that looked at some of the tech meta-trends that will define the next decade. It promises to be a decade of tremendous change and advancement as technology becomes increasingly entwined in our daily lives.