Top Tech Trends in Canada for 2020

A new decade begins with exciting new opportunities for making your business tech-savvy
By Cara Bedford

In the best-selling 1997 book The Innovator’s Dilemma, Clayton M. Christensen, a Harvard Business School professor, introduced the term disruptive technology. The disruptive technologies of the past decades included the telephone, the television, and even the Internet. Now we have in front of us a new technological frontier with more potential disruptive technologies than ever before. For those that can take advantage of these new digital trends, 2020 offers new opportunities to not only remain relevant, but to stay ahead of the curve.

This is especially true in Canada, a country that heavily uses technology. For 2020, an estimated 24 billion dollars will be spent on the software industry alone, according to Statista, making Canada one of the global leaders when it comes to the software industry.

With such a huge market in Canada, businesses and other stakeholders must watch for opportunities to use these emerging disruptive technologies that can present plenty of financial gains and industry advantages when researched and integrated to vital processes.

Artificial intelligence

Long a staple of science fiction films, artificial intelligence is fast becoming a staple of many enterprises. A report from Forbes points out that a robust 80% of enterprises have already invested in some iteration of artificial intelligence to help increase the efficiency of operations.

Others may see the disruptive potential of artificial intelligence as a threat to job security as it may render some human roles as redundant. A study by Gartner predicts that artificial intelligence may possibly displace 1.8 million jobs this 2020.

But in the bigger picture, the outlook is more encouraging. Whatever livelihood that may be lost to AI will be replaced with more. Gartner posits that AI has the capability to create 2.3 million jobs—after all, the AI can’t train itself. The key takeaway is that the increase in efficiency will yield more jobs with higher salaries.

With most processes heading online, artificial intelligence will take on a more central role in various disruptive technologies in Canada. The primary industries of Canada including logging, oil, fishing, aircraft and automobiles will see a sizable boon when infused with AI features.

The Internet of Things and Automation

A key application of artificial intelligence is integration of numerous technologies to turn it into one efficient and well-oiled machine. This is the concept behind smart cities and smart homes. It is similar to the creation of a superteam of technologies that will complement each other with various functionalities.

This seamless interconnection of various technologies is called the Internet of Things (IoT), a concept that will drastically help various businesses and consumers in Canada.

The IoT will connect smart devices and programs together with an on/off switch that is accessible via the Internet. This will enable remote monitoring, improved mobility, management and security when it comes to resources, especially for companies.

This can be as simple as efficiently managing light and energy consumption inside the office space. Productivity can also be enhanced with the help of popular virtual assistants that include Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. These artificial intelligence can consolidate the management of various programs and devices to handle tasks such as payroll queries, meeting schedules and office inventories.

The market for IoT can be really immense in Canada. A forecast by the Energias Market Research expects the year 2024 to have IoT projections of $6.5 trillion compared to just $1.2 trillion in 2017. The global market size of IoT may grow up to 26.6% between 2018 and 2024.

To manage the interconnectivity of IoT, artificial intelligence also resorts to automation or the handling of tasks with minimal or zero human intervention. In advanced cases, AI automation can analyze, discover, learn, monitor, measure and assess tasks on its own. 

SaaS and Cloud Computing

The core of Canada’s economy is the strength of its small and medium businesses. Many of these commercial entities don’t have full resources to put up their own complex digital infrastructures when their needs are not that comprehensive yet. This is when Software as a Service (SaaS) becomes a viable and practical solution.

SaaS is a disruptive technology that offers a particular service that consumers will customize or subscribe to according to their specific needs. It offers a variety of options that include payment processing, point of sale systems, and digital marketing.

SaaS will lower the need to own entire digital infrastructure when one can just subscribe to a particular need. It is easier to manage and maintain because there is a support staff behind the service.

SaaS is also available any time of the day and can be scaled or adjusted according to the magnitude of a project. The ease of its use has enabled many enterprises to embrace it and adopt it as a go-to system.

One of the reasons behind the success of SaaS is cloud computing, another innovative technology that stores data online and is readily accessible on-demand like a proverbial cloud hanging over its users. According to Statista, investments in public cloud spending increased fivefold over the decade. It started at $77 billion and the magic number can balloon up to $411 billion by 2020.

Mobile Usage and 5G

Another key technological innovation that Canadian enterprises should be keen to understand is the normalcy of smartphone usage. Most people are simply mobile nowadays: they get their entertainment, information and purchases at the tap of their fingertips. In fact, studies show that when using a smartphone, users spend 90% of their time on apps they’ve downloaded. If you’re still ignoring the dominance of mobile, that may bel the difference between the growth of a company or its fall out of relevance.

An anticipated breakthrough in 2020 is the introduction of 5G technology to significantly improve mobile usage. It features faster mobile network speed, better cost efficiency and more reliable bandwidths and power. This means streaming of videos with higher resolutions and fewer interruptions.

Businesses that will integrate the potential of 5G may see a jump in efficiency and profit opportunities. In 2028, the market size for 5G is predicted to expand to $248.46 billion compared to just $608 million in 2018.

Voice Search

One increasingly popular technology is the use of voice searches. Currently, 20% of mobile Google searches have been made through voice activation, and it is expected to escalate to 50% or more by 2020. This is crucial knowledge for businesses as it can help extend the exposure of brands and content online more efficiently: you have to go where your clients or potential customers are. Voice searches are more intuitive and convenient than typing out a request, so there is immense potential to design content that can be found easily when using voice searches.

Disrupting the Norm

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to digital innovation this new year. As a highly developed market economy, Canada is in a prime position to take advantage of all these new technologies to develop new ways of doing things, and this opens up opportunities for Canadian businesses to be a leader in key industries with the help of disruptive technologies.

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