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2020: A look ahead, what will 5G mean for us and other trends to watch

2020: A look ahead, what will 5G mean for us and other trends to watch

2020: A look ahead, what will 5G mean for us and other trends to watch

As we enter a new year and a new decade, here are some of the technology trends to watch for in 2020. As for our industry, Managed Mobility Services, everyone wants to know when 5G will be available as a real experience and what new devices will have 5G capabilities, let’s start with 5G first.

5G, foldable screens and killer cameras

With the Consumer Electronics Show just ending January 10, 2020, gadget watchers had a glimpse of what is to come in terms of new mobile devices. Look for some new manufacturers to bring lower cost alternative devices to market, it’s all about the cameras and photography, larger batteries, faster charging times and foldable phones get real in 2020. Even though 5G was launched in 2019, there were only a handful of phones to support the faster network and overall, we were underwhelmed by 5G in 2019.

Wireless carriers are still building out this new complex 5G technology, with each carrier having a different strategy for the buildout, so for the most part, 5G was not part of the equation for the majority of consumers. Will that change in 2020?

Many analysts say perhaps by the end of 2020 we will have a better feel for 5G, with that said, here are a few new devices that were unveiled at CES 2020:

  • OnePlus Concept One– with a disappearing camera feature
  • Coolpad Legacy 5G– the cheapest 5G phone only costing $400, available in Q2 and operates on sub 6Ghz spectrum and will be supported by T-Mobile and AT&T’s networks. It will also work on Sprint.
  • Galaxy S10 Lite– the lite version of the Galaxy S10 with a 6.7 inch screen and rectangular camera on the back, also has a headphone jack. No word on pricing or release dates.
  • Galaxy Note 10 Lite– comes with a 6.7 inch screen, rectangular camera on the back (3 rear cameras), S Pen stylus and headphone jack. No word on pricing or release dates.
  • Cyrcle– a phone with a circular screen that is 3.45 inches in diameter, priced at $700, won’t be available until 2021.
  • TLC’s foldable phone– 7.2 inch foldable display phone with 5G support and 4 rear cameras, may cost around $500 when it comes out, no dates set yet.
  • TLC 10 5G– 4 rear cameras and a headphone jack, a new 5G phone all under $500, expected to be released early 2020
  • TLC 10 Pro– It comes equipped with four rear cameras, including a 64-megapixel main shooter and dual flash. It also has a headphone jack and USB-C port. Pricing to be in the $500 range. TLC has an event scheduled for Feb 22, 2020 we may hear more.

Look for more 5G devices to be released over the next several months and throughout 2020 as the carriers continue to build out their 5G networks while device manufacturers bring to market handsets with the technology to handle multiple bands in a single device.

The smarter home

The smart home is becoming more prevalent in U.S. households and according to S & P Market Intelligence, about 12.5 percent of all U.S. households are now considered “smart”. This trend is expected to increase this year and analysts predict that by 2021, about 28 percent of all homes will be smart and will continue an upward trend from there.

A few predictions as the smart technology continues to evolve:

  • Eventually, there will be some sort of standardized Home Automation Platforms– there are currently a variety of smart home devices on the market today, and there are multiple operating systems available, making a smart home decision for the consumer, a complex buying decision. Look for standardization in this area over the next several years to make smart devices easier to install and operate.
  • Smart homes will start to influence home sales– by 2020, home buyers will expect homes to have some sort of smart features like a smart thermostat, smart light switches and other devices that may save on energy bills. Additionally, realtors have already started using beacons on for sale signs to provide information via a text on their smartphone to prospective buyers that drive by.
  • Improved sensor technology– the explosive growth of interconnected devices will make sensor technology an integral part of the next digital age
  • Smart Furniture– look for usb ports to be integrated into more furniture pieces, additional AC outlets, lighted cup holders, touch lighting when you touch a piece of furniture for example, your lamp turns on, all of these to accommodate our need for convenience, in both home and office.
  • Going even more green– look for the increase of renewable and sustainable fuels for electric power generation, water resource management including reuse and recycling of water, increased availability of green products and services.

Innovation in wearables

The wearable market has grown tremendously in the last five years going beyond the basic fitness band with health and fitness monitoring at the center of it all. 2020 brings new wearables and technology to monitor blood pressure, glucose levels, and even devices that provide thermal meditation and help with sleep and relaxation.

The number of connected wearable devices worldwide is expected to jump to over 1.1 billion in 2022. Wearables continue to integrate with more mobile apps and convenience services we have become accustomed to like wallet apps, music streaming services, GPS apps, digital assistants all while manufacturers are focused on improving on processing speed and battery life.

And while wearables are not just smart watches, CES 2020 unveiled many new weird and interesting wearable tech:

  • Tattoos and E-Ink
  • Virtual Reality Headsets
  • AR Glasses
  • Digital Textiles and Embedded Sensors
  • New Health Monitoring Devices
  • Pet Monitoring and Tracking Devices
  • New Payment Wearables
  • Gaming Accessories

The streaming revolution

Mobile has now surpassed TV growth as the preferred video delivery medium. Perhaps 2019 was a glimpse of what is yet to come in terms of the streaming wars with Apple TV Plus and Disney Plus as new services that were both launched offering consumers even more choices. If it’s not enough to have these plus Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Sling and others, look for more new streaming services in 2020 to include Peacock, HBO Max and Quibi. Existing streaming services will look for a way to keep their subscribers amid all the new services launching that promise exclusive content, competitive price points, and varied programming.

Carriers bundling services

Bundling is here!  Verizon is offering customers on its high-end unlimited plans free subscriptions to Apple Music. The move comes about six months after the company started offering six-month trials of the music-streaming service to new customers, so the timing makes sense.

All of the four main US carriers are bundling a media subscription service along with its wireless service.  Each of the carriers now offers video subscription services to their most valuable customers.  Verizon’s Apple Music offer encourages customers to pay for higher cost rate plans and could even improve customer retention by increasing the cost to switch to another carrier for customers.

For Verizon, the partnership with Apple Music is interesting.  First, its competitors all chose to focus on video streaming services. T-Mobile offers Netflix, Sprint promotes Hulu, and AT&T offers customers several options, including its own HBO Now service.  The other notable difference for Verizon is that because the other carriers locked up the top streaming services early on, Verizon opted to partner with the fastest growing music service.  Only time will tell which carrier will benefit the most from their bundling strategy. Verizon also offers Disney + free for a year for customers with an unlimited plan of FiOS home internet.

The fight for mobile payment systems

2019 was a year of much growth in mobile payment systems and a shift from physical payments to digital. New platforms seem to pop up quickly in this space and ultimately those that will prevail will be those mobile wallets and mobile payment systems that are not only convenient but are completely secure.

In 2020 expect this to trend to continue with mobile payment systems such as Venmo, Zelle, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Xoom and others.

Mobile apps redefining service industries

There are more than 2.5 million apps in the Google Play Store and over 1.8 million apps in the Apple App Store. If you haven’t noticed, there seems to be an app for everything. So it is fitting that companies that require some sort of delivery, pick up and/or communication with the consumer have utilized mobile apps to set their business not only apart from their competition but also in an effort to deliver exceptional levels of customer service.

In our world of instant gratification, the Door Dashes, Insta-carts, Uber Eats and many of these types of businesses have existed solely because of their mobile app. Look for this trend to continue as well as service companies continuing to expand their customer service offerings and reinvent the way they do business with mobile apps.

Consumers demand for privacy and access to their data

The new year launched with a new privacy law for California residents, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), giving California residents the right to see and delete their data. With the recent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that was enacted by the European Union in May of 2018 which is broader in scope than the CCPA, consumers in general have become weary and more concerned in how their personal data is being collected, tracked and shared.

Add in all the recent data breaches over the last several years by many large companies, it is no surprise consumers are more cognizant than ever regarding identify theft and other scams where their personal information could be used without their knowledge. Look for this trend to continue with many new bills in Congress currently being discussed to expand digital privacy bills to protect consumers.