Top 9 tech trends for 2020: 5G rollout promises speed, innovation

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Technology continues to evolve at lightning speed and solutions for nonprofits and small businesses grow exponentially. There’s quite a bit of media buzz around AI, 5G, and other emerging technologies, but most organizations do not have the time or expertise to assess all these options, not to mention the distraction and the risk that can result from adopting technologies that are not reliable or cannot meet your organization’s needs.

For over 15 years, Sinu’s platform has been built on enterprise best practices and network security. And because the needs of our customers are constantly changing, we are continually assessing emerging technologies and adding the services our customers need to stay competitive once we have found the most appropriate and reliable technology solutions.

In this series of articles, we will focus on 9 technology trends you will likely hear more about over the next 12 months. We will identify the possible benefits and risks to small businesses and nonprofits, so you can be better prepared to adopt the solutions that best meet your goals and risk tolerance.

Below are our top 9 tech trends for 2020, along with our first topic, 5G:

1) 5G

2) A faster WiFi for a faster world

3) AI and machine learning: The force multipliers for data analytics

4) Autonomous drones

5) ACPCs (Always Connected PCs)

6) Smart Cities

7) XaaS: Everything-as-a-Service

8) Consumer and User Experience

9) Digital Privacy

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Innovations with 5G

Fifth-generation mobile networks could change the way businesses share data and make transactions while handling a host of other activities, all at blazing speed. The 3rd Generation Partnership Project, originally organized for a 3G rollout in 1998, is now developing industry standards and a planned rollout for 5G technology.

According to ZDNet.com, the changes that businesses and users can expect include faster data connections to minimize lag time for cloud applications, the spread of edge computing, machine-to-machine communication upgrades and faster video delivery services for media such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.

The spread of 5G will also contribute to advancements in smart cities, smart vehicles, smart manufacturing and Internet-of-Things technologies reliant on 5G, reports Forbes contributor Daniel Newman, principal analyst of Futurum Research and CEO of Broadsuite Media Group.

The drive toward 5G technology actually began during the implementation of 4G, when telcos wished they had different grades of infrastructure to support different classes of service. This is addressed with 5G technology, which allows for three service grades that may be tuned to the special requirements of their customers' business models (as summarized below from ZDNet, which gives an in-depth explanation of the different tiers of services and their infrastructure).

1) Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) will service more densely populated metropolitan centers with downlink speeds approaching 1Gbps (gigabits per second).

2) Massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC) will enable the machine-to-machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) applications “that a new wave of wireless customers may come to expect from their network, without imposing burdens on the other classes of service.”

3) Ultra Reliable and Low Latency Communications (URLLC) will address critical needs communications and edge-to-edge computing where bandwidth is not quite as important as speed, such as is needed for autonomous vehicles, where reaction time to a possible accident can mean life or death.

It is important to note that the need for faster, better service as provided by 5G is not entirely people driven, but instead to help meet the growing need for software consuming services.

“It's not only going to be we humans that are going to be consuming services," remarked Nick Cadwgan, Nokia's director of IP mobile networking, speaking with ZDNet. "There's going to be an awful lot of software consuming services. If you look at this whole thing about massive machine-type communications [mMTC], in the past it's been primarily the human either talking to a human or, when we have the Internet, the human requesting services and experiences from software. Moving forward, we are going to have software as the requester, and that software is going to be talking to software. So the whole dynamic of what services we're going to have to deliver through our networks, is going to change."

So when will you be able to take advantage of the faster, more widely available wireless services promised by 5G? While telcoms are testing in some US cities today, you may have to wait until 2023 until it is widely available, when TechRepublic predicts 100 million people (or about a third) in the US will be connected to the service.

While we don’t recommend early adoption of technologies for our enterprise customers, we understand as a consumer you may just want to try out the new technology for yourself. An iPhone 5G is “likely” in 2020, according to an International Data Corporation announcement on Sept. 9. But, you should check on availability for 5G service in your area because, to date, Verizon “5G Ultra Wideband” mobile service, for instance, is in select areas within only 10 cities: Phoenix, Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Providence, St. Paul and Washington, D.C.