Australia Markets open in 1 hr 31 mins

Aussie executives gave us their biggest tech predictions for 2020 – from 3D printing entire meals to drones delivering your pizza

Sharon Masige
  • With 2020 drawing near, we asked business executives to give us their tech predictions for the new year.
  • Some of the predictions include technology changing the face of food waste, banks throwing cash into open banking and the greater focus on remote working.
  • Executives from companies including cyber security business McAfee and project management software business Wrike gave their insights.

2020 is almost upon us.

As this year winds to a close, we took a look at some of the big tech trends business executives predict will take off in the next one.

Food printers and drone delivered pizza

Mary Sue Rogers manages ForPurposeCo., a social enterprise owned by Australian food rescue charity OzHarvest. Rogers thinks 2020 will be a big year for the food and waste technology market as new investment finds it.

"First, consumers are demanding sustainably sourced food through to the expansion of plant-based proteins," Rogers told Business Insider Australia in an email.

"Second, technology-driven packaging and biotech to help preserve food and reduce food waste. There’s also a real focus on biodegradable packaging and the elimination of single-use plastics."

The final food-related trend Rogers noted was around robotics, AI and big data.

"For example, drone delivery of your pizza, 3D printing of the perfect food for you and your diet, or analytics that focus on the causes of food waste in order to take preventative actions," she added.

A major security overhaul to protect your money

As Australia's banking sector undergoes a transformation, Jason Baden, ANZ regional vice president of app services company F5 Networks, said 2020 "will see banks investing in more open banking initiatives".

He added that open banking, will, in turn, bring in a new wave of security concerns as the industry will need to "allow third-party applications to access user data".

Also predicted for the banking sector is more collaboration between fintechs and banks, according to Narayan Iyer. The Australia and New Zealand manager of IT company Cognizant said as the fintech market becomes more competitive, fintechs, traditional players and big tech companies need to plan their next move to make sure they stay relevant in that industry.

"Especially as open banking will kick off in Australia in February, financial organisations will fight for a share of the pie," Iyer said. "It is, therefore, reasonable to expect greater collaboration in 2020 between upstart fintechs, incumbent players and potentially digital giants through strategic partnerships.”

A rethink of the cloud to keep your data safe

Joel Camissar, regional director of McAfee Mvision Cloud Asia Pacific, said there will be a new security paradigm for 2020, particularly when it comes to the cloud.

"When using cloud providers, organisations need to remember that while cloud providers secure their cloud platform, companies are still responsible to protect the data within the cloud service," Camissar told Business Insider in an email.

He added that in McAfee research, 69% of respondents said they trusted their cloud providers to keep their data secure "when in fact cloud security is a shared responsibility". He went on to say that "no cloud provider will solely deliver 100% of the security."

So in 2020, Camissar said there will be a new realisation that security in the cloud needs a new approach. It will see organisations partner with cloud providers while also applying their own set of security controls built in the cloud, for the cloud.

Qantum computing will edge closer to reality

Iyer said quantum computing is fast approaching and there is a high chance there will be more R&D funding for the technology in 2020.

"What was once a long-standing scientific theory is now becoming a reality with the likes of Google’s quantum computer greatly surpassing the ability of our current binary computers," he said. "Quantum computing will significantly enhance industries that rely on computing capabilities, such as AI, big data analytics, IoT and automation.

"Would we be able to get our hands on a quantum computer in 2020? Probably not, but the quantum race is on and commercialisation is in sight."

The future of working remotely and learning from anywhere

There are several trends that tech executives see around how we work.

Andrew Filev, CEO of project management software company Wrike, told Business Insider Australia via email that businesses will look to remote and teleworking to support employees' growing appetite for flexible work.

"The Japanese government and Olympic Committee have urged eight million employees to telework during the Tokyo Olympic Games to decrease commuting congestion," he said. "By 2025, remote and telework work will be viewed as a remedy to urban congestion, and be encouraged or incentivised in up to 30% of cities with populations above five million people.”

Filev also pinpointed a greater adoption of digital platforms, especially as Gen Z enter the workforce.

"Generation Z will make up 12% of the Australian workforce in 2020, and this number will increase steadily throughout the decade," he said. "This generation is natively comfortable with virtual collaboration and are masters of the social marketing tactics they’ve used their whole lives. Millennials accelerated the digital transformation, but Gen Z will own the post-digital era with eye-popping results for brands.”

On top of that, Filev predicts that e-learning will become more mainstream.

“By 2025, 45% of white-collar employees will have used an e-learning platform to improve their job skills or explore new careers,” he said.

In a similar vein Gregg Ostrowski, regional chief technology officer of AppDynamics, discussed how companies have to meet the rising the expectations customers have of the digital experience.

Ostrowski referred to the 2019 App Attention Index Report which found that two-thirds of Australians "would avoid trying a brand known for delivering poor digital experience".

"As we enter a new decade, we also enter the 'Era of the Digital Reflex' – a seismic shift in the way customers interact with digital services and applications, causing these digital services to become almost a ‘reflex’ of innate human behaviours," Ostrowski said. “Any outage, inconvenience or a poor customer experience of any kind will cost Australian businesses dearly in 2020,"

Ultimately, Ostrowski suggested that businesses make sure they meet their customer's digital expectations.

Plugging the tech skills gap

Mike Featherstone, Asia Pacific managing director of tech skills company Pluralsight, said that in 2020 and beyond, "the rapid pace of change in technology will continue to challenge local talent who will need to keep their tech skills fresh."

But while he said there is currently "a dire tech skills shortage burdening organisations across the nation", Featherstone believes it doesn't have to continue in the future.

"With a tech skills development platform at the fingertips of local developers, the ability to push boundaries in technology will no longer be hindered by the lack of talent," he said. "This coming year is an opportunity for organisations to equip themselves with the right tools and teams to evolve with technology."