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Digital data runs our lives as a permanent addiction, a smart drug, increasing in popularity every day.

Our Smart Devices are always on, connected with location, data, and push notifications. A recent study from Nielsen showed that 88% of Americans now use a second screen device when watching television and movies such as Netflix, Disney+, or Hulu.

2020 will be defined as the start of the decade where our reliance on devices such as smartphones, computers and cameras will keep growing into endless digital communication.

Applications from the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G will signal business transformation as the number of connected devices grows exponentially into an over $11 Trillion market size by 2025.

Smart sensors will be everywhere. From Nest by Google to smart cameras and doorbells to manage your packages, dogs, and children, our lives are always connected.

As 5G Internet networks roll out in China ahead of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, the world has merged into a society of always-on, and always streaming data.

Industry 4.0 Has Arrived

The announcement by Sprint about its two updates is an example of edge adoption, most likely to be seen in 2020, followed by cloud collaborations from enterprises that will set the stage for edge computing and data analysis.

Areas such as manufacturing will take a modular approach and transition from the traditional manufacturing floor model as digitization increases. The recent development of the Smart Factory in Lewisville, Kentucky by Ericsson is an example of automation in manufacturing meant to drive sustainable production, powered by 5G and IoT.

5G Rollouts and Gigabit Connections

5G technology aims to reduce the communication barrier where we depend on wires to relay information by enhancing digital connectivity from the network provider for customers. According to reports, the adoption of 5G has been much higher in South Korea and China as compared to the USA, and time will tell how widespread it becomes. With speeds estimated at 10Gbps, 5G networks are poised to be faster than broadband services from Verizon, Time Warner, and Comcast— unless your local government blocks 5G.

As of this writing, the USA can only manage download rates of 1.8Gbps, but perhaps the Wi-Fi Alliance announcement of 6 GHZ Internet bandwidth will increase access to more devices being always online.

T-Mobile has started the adoption of 5G in its network with the company offering the service to an estimated 200M people in the United States. Verizon has also launched its 5G network with download speeds from 600Mbps to 1.5Gbps. AT&T and Sprint have joined the bandwagon of 5G rollouts with both companies opening 5G signals to their customers with iPhone Pro, Samsung 10, and Google Pixel flagship devices. Sprint tops the list of 5G enabled cellular providers that have made forays in the market compared to competitors such as Verizon.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Experience

What technology is being adopted quicker — Virtual, Augmented, or Mixed?

The adoption of virtual and augmented reality will transform manufacturing because of developing simulated environments that enable design. Production of innovative products determines the competitive ability of an enterprise and the same is true in the manufacturing sector where companies will need to streamline the lifecycle of the product for better results. Application of VR and AR will increase information connections among different teams/departments within enterprises leading to high productivity. Thanks to the VR and AR technologies, companies can boost interactions for real-time immersive experiences, resulting in quicker product feedback. Interactive solid modelling with a haptic interface, CNC drilling, and robotic technical repairs are additional critical fields where VR and AR may help streamline and disrupt the learning and repairs of smart technologies.

Mixed Reality technology allows real-time interaction between objects in the real world as well as in the digital world. Sometimes coined as hybrid reality, this technology requires more processing capabilities unlike AR and VR, which uses less power. Microsoft developed the HoloLens, which allows interaction with digital products in the best manner possible while adding creativity to the users. The adoption of this technology is increasing in the business sphere as focus shifts to problem-solving initiatives that add value to operations. At the same time, MR assists in harnessing business operations by assisting companies to interact, refine and use digital information to their advantage.

Extended reality is applied in the retail sector where companies such as Rolex adopt the technology to enable users to choose the right fit before making a purchase. The company developed an application that allows customers to interact with the real product hence boosting satisfaction and sales. IKEA has not been left behind either, as the furniture maker utilizes extended reality with customers, where they can fit the right pieces in their houses via their smartphone Place app. Even NASA has implemented ER for its robotic operations and training for astronauts.

AI is Hidden Everywhere; Always On

The deployment of AI across various sectors is heating up and the time is now for augmenting capabilities of humans with this technology. Adoption of AI in industries such as security, finance, smart cities and transport has seen the technology become a reality within a short time span.

The potential of AI is captured by a report by PwC, which estimated addition of $16T to the global economy and projecting a 14% jump by 2030. The report further indicates that China leads the world in AI adoption with the country scaling its applications in education, healthcare and national security.

For instance, AI adoption in the finance sector is evident with the figures expected to rise. Today, banking institutions apply #ArtificialIntelligence and #DataScience to determine the credit score of customers to reduce the risk of default. On the national security end, AI enables analysts to view and make decisions based on real data with the assistance of surveillance cameras. Even startups in the private sector such as Anduril are bridging the gap for smart defensive surveillance.

Smart Technology Enables a Digital Only Society

According to Pew Research, a person’s average quality of life will be enhanced as a result of the high rate of digital penetration.

Societies will transform in diverse ways as we move into the #FutureOfWork including transportation where self-driving cars will optimize resources and energy consumption. Translation capabilities from #AI will mean increased interactions among people from different backgrounds leading to an open world. Businesses will experience more value in their customer service as AI will lead the way in reviewing market trends and meeting consumer demand. AI will not only assist in decision-making for enterprises but also allow executives to map problems and develop optimal solutions. Business efficiency poses problems to many organizations and AI will address this challenge by helping managers develop innovative solutions.

The Always-on Display feature now found in Samsung and Android smartphones is important for device users as the information displayed on the screen gives them a quick preview of everything such as time, date, time zone, traffic and weather conditions. We have become used to this feature in our smartphones and I claim that Always On Displays make our lives more convenient. I personally live a multi-device life because of attachment to my smartphone, laptop and I pad. These devices keep me on the move and oversee my daily schedule with co-workers and family. Whether I travel to the office on the metro, take an afternoon meeting at Starbucks, or remotely sync on Zoom, these devices feed me with information that I need.

Smart Devices Power Digital First, In-Person Conferences

If you are attending CES 2020 in Las Vegas, there is more to be excited about than vegetarian pork and foldable phones.

The modern day conference is defined by smart applications such as Brella and Whova.

As conferences scale both digitally and in-person, new Smart apps powered by AI recommend meetings, agendas, and events.

New product launches and startup exhibitors require seamless technology to demo app features or to plan their marketing and sales strategy.

#ArtificialIntelligence, #MachineLearning and Cloud Computing conferences have integrated with smart technologies to serve their audiences and the phenomenon is extending to conferences across industries.

Digital-focused or digital-only conferences lead the way in global experiences, as seen by IOT Solutions CongressIOT Evolution Expo and Industry of Things World Conference.

We should expect more digital-enabled and digital-only conferences to occur in Industry 4.0 and the Age of AI.

2020- A New Decade of Opportunity

There is no doubt that we live in an increasingly connected world. As internet expansion continues and more consumers gain access to smart devices, digital transformation will spark new industries, new startups, and new products. Given the rise of the Internet of Things, 5G, Smart Sensors and Always-On-Display technologies, data has become woven into our minute-by-minute physical and digital lives.

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