Technology solutions built around artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G offer the most immediate opportunities for tech firms to generate new business and revenue, according to CompTIA’s third annual Top 10 Emerging Technologies report released on Wednesday.

Each year, the Emerging Technology Community of CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the global technology industry, releases its list of the top emerging technologies.

SEE: Managing AI and ML in the enterprise 2020: Tech leaders increase project development and implementation (TechRepublic Premium)

“Our ranking represents a consensus viewpoint that emerged after some spirited debate and discussion with the community,” said Michael Haines, director of partner incentive strategy and program design for Microsoft and chair of the CompTIA Emerging Technology Community, in a press release.

“We’re not proposing that every solution provider and channel partner needs to immediately add these technologies to their menu of products and services,” Haines added. “But these innovations will have a sweeping impact on the business of technology. Companies need to prepare now for the changes ahead.”

AI and 5G each moved up one spot from last year’s list. The Internet of Things (IoT), which claimed the top spot in 2019, dropped to third on this year’s list. Augmented and virtual reality and biometrics also moved up, while blockchain and robotics slipped a bit.

“We always saw the marvelous opportunity in AI,” Haines said in a blog post. “It’s literally been moving up the list. It’s one of those interesting ones to watch. AI is now being evaluated as we see it by nearly every organization for possible application to drive insights and better solutions.”

Some technologies such as 3D printing and drones fell completely off the list, after claiming a spot since the list began in 2018, while Natural Language Processing made its first appearance.

Top 10 emerging technologies for 2020

1. AI

AI claimed the top spot on the list. Artificial intelligence refers to programmed algorithms that automatically parse and apply knowledge. It’s the largest force in emerging technology, and includes security and sales applications for businesses.

2. 5G

5G offers improvements over 4G, such as low latency, intelligent power consumption and high device density. 5G will make augmented reality, smart cities and connected vehicles possible.

3. IoT

The Internet of Things combines information from connected devices and allows for analytics of systems. These platforms, devices and datasets provide additional insights and efficiencies for the enterprise.

4. Serverless Computing

Serverless computing, or Function as a Service (FaaS), allows companies to build applications that scale in real time so that they can respond to demand that can change instantly depending on orders of magnitude. FaaS offers a consumption-based platform so that developers can quickly and cost effectively deploy applications.

5. Biometrics

Security will be improved by biometics by allowing people and devices to authenticate and move seamlessly through the world.

6. Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality

AR and VR transform how people engage with machines, data and each other. The enterprise is using mixed reality, AI and sensor technologies to enhance execution flexibility, operational efficiency and individual productivity.

7. Blockchain

There’s an ever-increasing need to be able to secure and manage transactions across the internet, and blockchain is the answer. Blockchain manages data and supply chain challenges.

8. Robotics

Robotics are shifting from industrial use to service delivery and are impacting home and businesses, both physically and virtually.

9. Natural Language Processing

NLP is a field of AI that enables computers to analyze and understand human language. Speech-to-text converts human language into a programming language. Text-to-speech converts a computer operation to an audible response.

10. Quantum Computing

Our ability to process and analyze big data will be impacted by quantum computing. It is the key to leveraging machine learning and the power of AI.

Top 10 emerging technologies from 2019

For comparison, in 2019, these were the top 10 from CompTIA:

  1. IoT
  2. AI
  3. 5G
  4. Serverless Computing
  5. Blockchain
  6. Robotics
  7. Biometrics
  8. 3D Printing
  9. Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality
  10. Drones

The list is intended to be used as a starting place for debate. Haines said in a blog post, “What I like about it a lot is that people will disagree with the list. They’ll say, ‘Oh, well I think this one ought to be in there or that one ought to be in there.’ And you know what? That’s really one of the reasons for the list—it’s a living document. It’s the view of this community, but it fosters great discussion.”

Image: Sompong Rattanakunchon / Getty Images

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