Hotly anticipated or hyped-up tech that is delayed is called vaporware. Here are some fumes to keep inhaling…
Around this time of year, predictions abound on the technology advancements and innovations expected ahead. Many research and technology consultancy firms have their own ideas about trends forecasting. How refreshing it is to hear from one that predicts what will not happen instead!
Global tech market advisory firm ABI Research has produced a white paper that predicts a total of 19 hotly watched areas—including 5G wearables, quantum computing, and self-driving trucks—that will not make much of a dent this year.
What will not happen in 2020?
Says Stuart Carlaw, Chief Research Officer at ABI Research: “After a tumultuous 2019 that was beset by many challenges, both integral to technology markets and derived from global market dynamics, 2020 looks set to be equally challenging. Knowing what will not happen in technology in the next year is important for end-users, implementors, and vendors to properly place their investments or focus their strategies.”
Here are some of the technologies that will need more time to get real market traction:
5G wearables: “While smartphones will dominate the 5G market in 2020, 5G wearables won’t arrive in 2020, or anytime soon,” says ABI Research’s 5G Devices, Smartphones & Wearables analyst Stephanie Tomsett: “To bring 5G to wearables, specific 5G chipsets will need to be designed and components will need to be reconfigured to fit in the small form factor. That won’t begin to happen until 2024 at the earliest.”
Quantum Computing: “Despite claims from Google in achieving quantum supremacy, the tech industry is still far away from the democratization of quantum computing technology,” says ABI’s AI & Machine Learning Principal Analyst Lian Jye Su: “Quantum computing is definitely not even remotely close to the large-scale commercial deployment stage.”
Self-driving trucks: According to ABI’s Freight Transportation & Logistics Principal Analyst Susan Beardslee: “Despite numerous headlines declaring the arrival of driverless, self-driving, or robot vehicles, very little, if any, driver-free commercial usage is underway beyond closed-course operations in the United States.”
A consolidated IoT platform market: For many years, there have been predictions that the IoT platform supplier market will begin to consolidate, but Dan Shey, ABI’s Vice President of Enabling Platforms says it just will not happen yet. “The simple reason is that there are more than 100 companies that offer device-to-cloud IoT platform services and for everyone that is acquired, there are always new ones that come to market.”
Edge will not overtake Cloud: The accelerated growth of the edge technology and intelligent device paradigm created one of the largest industry misconceptions: that edge technology will cannibalize cloud technology. But ABI’s M2M, IoT & IoE Analyst Kateryna Dubrova says: “In fact, in the future, we will see a rapid development of an edge-cloud-fog continuum, where technology will complement each other, rather than cross-cannibalize.”
8K TVs: Announcements of 8K Television (TV) sets by major vendors earlier in 2019 attracted much attention and raised many questions within the industry, says ABI’s Khin Sandi Lynn, Video & Cloud Services Analyst. “The fact is, 8K content is not available and the prices of 8K TV sets are exorbitant. The transition from high definition (HD) to 4K will continue in 2020 with very limited 8K shipments—less than 1 million worldwide.”
Zero-trust security models: While the principles of Zero Trust are obviously sound in an increasingly de-perimitized world, actual implementation is still a costly and complex affair for many small and medium-sized businesses. The prerequisites are onerous; once implemented, it requires continuous micro-management, which can be a challenge in an environment where development and sales strategies are hurtling toward go-to-market in days, rather than weeks. And this is without taking into account ephemeral development cycles, with on-demand spin-ups (leveraging containers) that can close hours later.
For zero-trust to work effectively, security automation and analytics will need to play a big part to comprehensively cover enterprise networks that are both growing and in continuous flux. As such, zero-trust probably needs another few years before mass market adoption.
Wi-fi 6 in IoT: To date, much of the marketing around Wi-Fi 6 has emphasized higher speeds and throughput versus Wi-Fi 5, and the initial client adoption has been centered around high-performance mobile and computing devices. However, there is a much wider range of device types that can be connected via Wi-Fi technology, ranging from connected light bulbs and thermostats to low=power wearables and industrial condition monitoring sensors, among many others.
Today, these devices are being served predominantly by 802.11n Wi-Fi chipsets, and a number of vendors are continuing to innovate in this space to provide lower-cost chipsets with minimal power consumption to serve these markets more effectively. However, new enhancements in Wi-Fi 6, such as TWT and Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) that improve power consumption and airtime usage, as well as improved coexistence, simpler client designs, and extended range, can enable low-cost Wi-Fi 6 chipsets that can better serve the needs of a wide variety of IoT applications than ever before.
IP providers, such as CEVA, are already promoting low-power features of Wi-Fi 6 through its RivieraWaves RW-AX Low Power platform, a 20-Megahertz (MHz) solution for small, low-power IoT devices, medical equipment, and wearables as a replacement to 802.11n. In October 2019, AIC Semiconductor licensed CEVA’s 1×1 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 IP for low-power IoT connectivity applications. However, in order for this market to scale, many more Wi-Fi solution providers need to develop more IoT-centric Wi-Fi 6 IoT chipsets to help increase the viability of Wi-Fi 6 for IoT applications. In addition, more education and awareness around Wi-Fi 6 for IoT applications also need to be developed.
While there are likely to be some wearables and smart home products supporting the technology in 2020, ABI Research believes that 2021 will see the first real ramp up of Wi-Fi 6 for IoT applications, as more and more chipset providers begin to provide low-power IoT-centric Wi-Fi 6 SoCs over the course of the next 12 months. As these Wi-Fi 6 IoT chipsets fall in price, and the cost and availability become comparable to 802.11n, the enormous benefits that these solutions can provide versus existing technologies will help scale up Wi-Fi 6 adoption across a number of IoT verticals over the next few years.