From disruptive AI to the internet of things, technology trends will continue to shape the way we live and work in 2020.
Last year saw breakthroughs from lab-grown meat to the development of smartwatches that help detect heart attacks, and the pace of development shows no sign of slowing.
These changes are great news for MBA grads. According to a survey of corporate recruiters by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the tech industry was one of the strongest sectors for MBA hiring demand last year—at CUHK Business School, for instance, 11% of MBAs were hired by tech companies after graduating.
But what does 2020 have in store for the tech industry?
Here are the five technology trends you should be on the watch for this year.
1. Big data meets automated machine learning
It’s been said that data is the new oil—but unlike oil, we’re in no short supply.
In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, more and more organizations are coupling big data with automated machine learning (ML) to tackle the huge amounts of data they have at their disposal.
By using this ‘AutoML’ technology to apply complex analytics to real-world problems, companies are able to bypass the need for highly-skilled data scientists in the short term, and start applying these crucial technologies straightaway.
For CUHK MBAs, this looks like a golden opportunity. The AI and Machine Learning elective on the CUHK MBA teaches students how to apply technologies like AI, ML, and Deep Learning to business projects in the financial services industry.
This knowledge of how to employ complex technology to achieve concrete business objectives will prove very desirable as more companies take up AutoML processes, both inside the financial services industry and out.
2. Edge computing will transform the Internet of Things
Edge computing is a new tech phenomenon that aims to bring the computational power of AI to smaller IoT networks.
It came to the forefront of tech news late last year, when Amazon Web Services announced that they were partnering with Verizon to create 5G cloud computing software based on the technology.
As more companies worldwide follow Amazon and Verizon’s lead, market researcher Forrester predicts that investment in edge computing will skyrocket—and that means tech-savvy MBAs need to pay attention.
For CUHK students at least, this should be easy, as the MBA electives on offer give students plentiful opportunities to learn about disruptive technologies—for instance in the Tech Disruptions and Innovative Business Models module.
3. Integration over automation
This uptick in AI and IoT technology won’t just affect consumers and information processing; it’s also set to have huge ramifications for robotics.
IDC predicts that by 2022, the global robotics market will have reached $210 billion, with half of investment coming from manufacturing as AI and IoT technologies make robots more sophisticated.
However, this doesn’t necessarily spell mass automation. Many outlets are predicting that human-worker combinations, or ‘cobots’, will be a huge trend in 2020.
These robots will be tasked with enhancing the capabilities of human workers to increase efficiency—for instance, by taking over repetitive actions that frequently cause injury, or microscopic actions that require minute precision.
This digital transformation will require managers who know how to handle innovation and manage change—both skills that CUHK students learn in the Digital Transformation and Innovation elective on the MBA program.
4. 3D printing will enable more companies to shift to circular manufacturing
Another big trend in manufacturing is a shift towards sustainable production.
3D-printed biodegradable polymers are reportedly opening doors to circular manufacturing processes, as they can be reused over and over before being disposed of with minimal damage to the environment.
As consumers become more concerned about the products and services they use and their impact on the planet, this kind of thinking is likely to become more and more important for MBAs to learn into 2020 and beyond.
5. Augmented and virtual reality will reach new heights
Finally, augmented and virtual reality technologies are set to play a big role in tech in 2020, after a booming 2019 in which a reported 42.9 million people in the US alone used a VR product.
Unsurprisingly, one of the key areas in which this will come into play is gaming. With China being the world’s largest video games market, CUHK Business School is a prime location for MBAs who are interested in developments in this area—and in fact, it might even put them ahead of the curve.
CUHK MBA grad Howard Tian set up his own VR startup, Go Immersive, in 2017, and it is still thriving three years later.
As AR and VR hot up in 2020, we may see more CUHK alums following suit.