It’s the time of the year where everyone recaps the past year and makes predictions on the next year. I’m not really different. In my last article, I recapped the year here at HomeTechHacker. This article will focus on my 2020 home technology predictions.
Recap of my 2019 predictions
To help you decide whether or not it’s worth it to read this article I will submit as evidence my performance on my 2019 home technology predictions.
2019 Prediction #1: Cordcutting
I predicted the cordcutting trend would ramp up and that more and more streaming services would emerge. Traditional cable companies are losing millions of subscribers (including me), and every content provider is throwing up a streaming service. In 2019 alone we added heavyweights Apple TV+ and Disney+. 2020 will bring us HBO Max, Peacock, Quibi and who knows what else. All of these services are coming with exclusive content. Streaming is already required for many of our favorite shows.
Verdict: Nailed it!
2019 Prediction #2: The rise of 5G
Well, I said 5G would start to affect our lives in many ways, and I jumped the gun on this one. While I still think many of my predictions about connected devices and revolutionizing home Internet are true, it’s clear it is going to take years for this to occur.
Verdict: A bit premature
2019 Prediction #3: Technology as a service
For this prediction, I said the trend of home consumers using cloud services to fill more of their technology needs would continue and it has. Chromebooks, and thus a reliance on cloud services like Office 365 and Gsuite, continue to rise in utility and popularity. Voice Assistants like the Alexa and Google Assistant show no signs of slowing down.
Google Stadia has entered the world of gaming as a service, joining others like Gamefly and PlayStation Now that allow users to play games locally that are run from remote servers.
In many ways, streaming video is also technology as a service. You no longer need DVRs to record to hard disks in your house, you just stream video on demand from your streaming stick or mobile device.
Verdict: Nailed it!
2019 Prediction #4: Privacy and security fight back
In this one I though congress might consider some GDPR like legislation in the US, but that hasn’t come to pass. However, congress has interrogated many leaders of companies with dubious privacy records and are considering many privacy-related actions including legislation and breaking up companies that they deem are becoming too powerful.
Meanwhile, breaches keep happening and privacy violations keep happening.
Verdict: Not too far off
2019 Prediction #5: Wearables take another step forward
The wearable market took steps in 2019, even if they weren’t giant ones:
- The Apple Watch 5 was a hit, adding features like an always-on Retina display, a built-in compass, and improved activity tracking
- Google bought Fitbit, signaling that they realize they need help with their struggling WearOS products
- Fitness focused wearable companies like Polar and Garmin continued to innovate, with new products like the Polar Ignite and the Garmin Vivoactive 4
- Echo buds, Apple Pods, Galaxy buds, and the like have seemingly taken over a growing earphone market
Verdict: Nailed it!
2019 Prediction #6: Smarthome tech keeps growing
I may be biased here as I love smarthome tech but it seems to be permeating our homes more and more. Despite my love of Home Assistant, I still realize that smarthome hubs are primarily for hobbyists. The real smarthome expansion is happening a result of Google Assistant, Alexa, and Apple HomeKit. More and more products work to have compatibility with these smart assistants. In turn, each of these smart assistants has remote control and automation capabilities to tie many smarthome devices together.
Verdict: Nailed it!
Now, on to my 2020 predictions!
2020 Home Technology Prediction #1: The smartphone market stagnates
For years now smartphones have only been incrementally improving, but prices keep going up. There has been less innovation and sales growth is leveling off. This is evidenced by the fact that smartphone users are waiting longer before upgrading and Apple no longer reports iPhone unit sales.
The highest-profile innovations have been foldable phones and improvements in camera technology. My favorite improvement over the last year was the 90Hz screen of the OnePlus 7 Pro that Google and other manufacturers followed.
With 5G not being available to most consumers and manufacturers seemingly baffled at what new feature will capture consumer’s attention most people simply don’t have a good enough reason to upgrade.
2020 Home Technology Prediction #2: Google will continue to flounder in music and chat
Google Hangouts is going away. YouTube Music will replace Google Play Music. Both of these were announced over a year ago and both have been delayed. YouTube Music has yet to gain parity of features with Google Play Music, yet Google Play Music is no longer updated.
Google’s messaging strategy is littered with products that make it hard for consumers to know what to use. Allo. Hangouts. Duo. Voice. Messages. Which one do you use for what? Google has really made a mess of this and it seems to continue.
2020 Home Technology Prediction #3: Virtual/Augmented reality make their mark in the home
In my opinion, the Oculus Quest has changed the game for VR. Now you can buy a relatively affordable VR headset that doesn’t need to be tethered to a PC or a smartphone and delivers an excellent experience. Facebook has shown a commitment to the platform and I expect a fair amount of organic growth from consumers.
The enterprise is where things get interesting. Academic institutions and entertainment companies are looking to VR and AR as ways of differentiating themselves from the competition. Their investments, along with real estate, architecture, engineering, construction, and other industries will push the platform forward.
2020 Home Technology Prediction #4: Cybersecurity of IoT really starts to concern people
For those in the know, IoT cybersecurity has always been a concern. Many manufacturers are not putting enough investment into making their products secure. More importantly, consumers are not spending enough time taking basic security measures to secure their home networks and from hacking. This has resulted in pretty scare hacks like this Ring camera hack.
In 2020 consumers will realize that their IoT devices are targets just like banks and retailers. IoT device makers will need to spend more time making their devices secure. We are going to need better security devices in our home that make it easier for the average consumer to secure their devices, like the Firewalla and Bitdefender BOX. Right now cybersecurity practices are too complicated.
2020 Home Technology Prediction #5: Artificial Intelligence makes our home even smarter
Artificial intelligence is already making our home smarter with thermostats, robot vacuums, and voice assistants. But many security systems and smart doorbells are getting facial recognition. Smart fridges can now alert us when we are out of food items. Streaming services predict what you want to watch. More and more regular activities will shift to automation from smart control.
Best of all, we may not even notice that AI is involved, and that’s the way it should be. Technology is best when it “just works.”
Predictions are always hard and technology can go in many different directions. I’m sure some of these predictions will happen as I expect. Others will take paths I haven’t even considered. The one thing that is certain is that the rapid pace of technology change will affect our lives in incredible and unpredictable ways. Just twenty years ago there was no Alexa and no smartphones. Few people had more than one computer in their house. We were still using MP3 players with wired headphones. No Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat or Instagram. What will the world be like 20 years from now?
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