Top 5 Tech Trends in the Next 10 Years

The rate of change within the technology industry is astounding. The reality is that technology does not grow at a steady rate like my 5 year old son does but instead grows exponentially. Futurist Ray Kurzweil put it this way: “We won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century – it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate).” One manifestation of this idea is Moore’s Law, named after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore. In 1965 he wrote that computer processing speeds will double every 18 months. This was true for a while, but with Kurzweil’s “Law of Accelerating Returns,” the doubling of these processing speeds now happens much faster than that.

With such rapid change in the industry, it’s exciting to look ahead to see what might be possible in our own lifetimes. Let’s look at the top 5 trends expected to become a reality in the next 10 years.

Tech Trend #1 – Universal Connectivity

There are almost 3 billion people connected to the public Internet right now, and by 2020 the number will approach 4 billion. According to Cisco, the number of “things” (computers, devices, appliances, etc.) connected to the Internet (an idea commonly referred to as the IoT, or Internet of Things) exceeded the number of people on earth 7 years ago, and by 2020 there will be 50 billion web-enabled devices. If we can connect it, we will connect it. Smart phones are just the beginning of a new wave of technology that includes smart cars, smart homes, wearable technology, data-enabled clothing and Internet-powered ___________ [insert any item here].

In part it’s about companies gathering data on the users of its products. Think about it: if you happened to be the owner of Google, Amazon and Facebook, you know the following about almost every person on the planet:

  1. What they search for (Google).
  2. What they buy (Amazon).
  3. How they interact with people (Facebook).

That is powerful data, and every company making products and studying consumers wishes they had it. Whatever amount of data companies can gather about their consumers will help them compete in the marketplace, and making products that automatically provide this data for you is a brilliant strategy.

Tech Trend #2 – Unprecedented Wireless Speeds

Partly due to the craving for connectivity described above, as well as the need for mobility, Wireless Internet is big now but will absolutely cover the earth in 10 years. As soon as the hardware catches up to the 802.11 protocols we create, we’ll achieve unprecedented wireless speeds. 5G+ mobile Wi-Fi will be a start, but by 2025 we should expect to see 10Gbps wireless. We will not only have universal connectivity but new levels of speeds by which everything connects.


Technology content and opinion pieces that actually make a difference for you as a business owner or IT Administrator


Tech Trend #3 – Ultra High Definition Interactive Video

HD video is no longer special, and consumers will push the need for higher quality video signals on every device they own. TV’s, PC’s, laptops, tablets, and phones will all have displays that make today’s screens look pixelated. More and more communication among businesses and individuals will be easily done via video, and everybody will have several devices to connect with. Even traditional video conference room systems will move to the cloud to integrate with more systems and include more people.

For businesses, this means a new and better way to communicate, involving body language and facial expressions, not just audio. It means product demos that are much higher quality and far more convenient than flying your customer to your manufacturing plant. For consumers, imagine a digital video that supports user interaction through gestures, voice, and touch. Products like RAPT Media are creating products that will revolutionize how we shop, learn, create stories, and have fun – all through the use of interactive video.

Tech Trend #4 – Next Generation Speech Recognition

Speech recognition technology and speech recognition research is growing at an alarming rate. I can remember when turning my voice into text on a screen was very clunky and inaccurate, and that wasn’t that long ago. There will continue to be incredible advancements in machines being able to understand the human voice, interpret its meaning, and take action based on the content. iPhone 4S users went nuts over the introduction of Siri into iOS in 2011, but many mobile users didn’t realize that Android phones had introduced voice search for its mobile users far earlier than Apple (i.e. in 2008), and did so far better than Apple. What Apple did, however, was market the feature far better than Google did, as well as give Siri a personality and a sense of humor, something lacking in the “Google lady” (as my toddler likes to call her).

Looking ahead, watch for common robotics to be heavily influenced by voice recognition technology, both to give it commands and to communicate back to you in return (think Chappie). Also, think of the impact on language translation. By 2020, expect real-time speech-to-speech translation while you talk on the phone with someone who does not speak your language. Your words are translated as you speak them, and in a Siri-like voice, spoken in the native language of the person you’re talking to. One of our Technology Support Engineers could have really used this technology last week when I heard him struggling on a phone call with a Russian speaker who knew virtually no English whatsoever. Think of the communication barriers that would be removed with this kind of technology!

Tech Trend #5 – Common Robotics

As consumers continue to propel an “on-demand economy” where convenience is king, the market for robotics will rise to meet that demand. Transportation (Uber) and hspoitality (Hotel Tonight) are now commonplace, but new technology in robotics and artificial intelligence is a prerequisite for new on-demand services. More complex services, such as on-demand retail, construction, and onsite diagnosis and repair, will require robotics with artificial intelligence. We’ve seen a preview of this idea with services such as Amazon Prime Air, which uses package-carrying flying machines to provide on-demand product delivery. But what if manufacturers could deploy sophisticated robots to construct new buildings? I imagine the robots pulling up to the construction site in a self-driving Google car. What if they could repair the holes in your vinyl siding? (I could use one of those robots right now.) What if what RedOrbit suggests is true, that nearly half of all US jobs are threatened by robotics? Change is certainly ahead in services industries, and businesses will need to adjust.


I realize some of these ideas may sound far-fetched, but all of the above technologies are a very real possibility. Some will say they are inevitable. Inventors and manufacturers are constantly collaborating to bring the next big thing to market, hoping it will transform the way we live on the Earth.

Still too far-fetched, you say? All of the above, and more, will happen in the virtual blink of an eye. Remember how far technology has come since you were a kid. Then remember Moore’s Law, and the Law of Accelerated Returns. Keep in mind that today is the slowest rate of technological change you will ever experience in life...


Technology content and opinion pieces that actually make a difference for you as a business owner or IT Administrator

Author: Tim Lopez