The most overhyped, and most significant, tech trends of 2020

A survey of IT professionals finds AR and 5G bust for 2020, machine learning and DevOps on top.

CES 2020: The trends and tech business pros should care about Enterprise technologies like AI, data analytics, and 5G underpin the latest IoT gadgets, smart devices, and autonomous vehicles and will be on full display at CES 2020.

Cloud provider INAP surveyed IT professionals to see what they thought of the biggest tech trends, and the result is a list that tech leaders could use to plot initiatives for the year ahead.  

The survey results break down into two categories: The most overhyped trends and those most deserving of attention. Each category contains seven items, with one trend appearing in both.

The most overhyped trends of 2020

1: Augmented reality (39% say it's overhyped)

INAP's Laura Vietmeyer notes that AR may be more popular than this makes it seem, as despite being considered the most overhyped it also was considered worth attention by 51% of respondents. 

The reason AR is still worth consideration, said Vietmeyer, a content specialist for INAP, is because it's applicable to some industries, but not to all. Those not using AR are likely replying that it's overhyped.

SEE: Digital dexterity: What it is, why your organization needs it, and how CIOs can lead the charge (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

2: 5G wireless technology (35% say it's overhyped)

As INAP notes, the average consumer won't be living in a 5G world until 2025. In other words, 5G may be happening now, but it's still an overhyped trend because it won't even be practical to consumers for another five years.

3: Biometric authentication (32% say it's overhyped)

Biometric identification is a fine technology, provided biometrics are used as another layer on a central security system, INAP said. The more employees work remotely, the less practical biometric authentication will be. 

Instead of investing in this trend, INAP said, two-factor authentication is a better bet.

Along with the top three most overhyped were:

  • AI in the data center (31%)
  • Blockchain (31%)
  • Anything "as a service" (30%)
  • Shadow IT (27%)

The most important tech trends of 2020

1: Machine learning (71% say it's important)

Described by INAP as a tool that "makes it possible for a computer to efficiently process large amounts of information and make adjustments accordingly," it's no wonder machine learning is considered so important.

As data becomes a bigger and bigger part of our lives, it's more important to make good use of it, which we wouldn't be able to do without machine learning.

2: Digital transformation (71% say it's important)

It's hard to talk about modern business tech without talking about digital transformation. Businesses of all types are still in the middle of transforming from analog to digital entities. 

Expect digital transformation to hang on and remain important for years to come.

3: DevOps (69% say it's important)

INAP ties DevOps directly to digital transformation, and with good reason. Software is no longer a part of business, but is business as a whole: If it's not working or isn't updated enough, an entire company can grind to a halt.

DevOps tries to eliminate silos between developers and IT teams so that they can work together to speed up, and smooth out, software updates and day-to-day operations. It will only become more important as software is more integrated into every aspect of modern business.

These three are rounded out by:

  • Multicloud (65%)
  • Internet of Things (65%)
  • Edge computing (63%)
  • AI in the data center (62%)

Whether or not these trends will change IT projects for the year remains to be seen. It is worth considering the long-term outlook for these trends and noting that a general survey may not indicate much about specific industries.

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