Beyond’s 2020 Outlook: The Top Five Trends We’re Tracking

Laptop with 2020 and lightbulb.

AI, self-driving cars, 10G – what will the new year bring? The Beyond community is tracking a series of important trends that are taking shape in what should prove to be an eventful year. Here are our top five:

1. The Rise of the Connected Life

A technology revolution has resulted in an explosion of connected devices capable of acting autonomously. In homes, that means a communication network that connects devices and appliances, allowing everything from remote thermostat adjustment to being alerted if an elderly person falls over. In offices, it looks like smart desks that can alert you when you’ve been sitting too long and voice-controlled conference rooms. And in factories, it translates into machines that can communicate with each other throughout the production process. But all of this innovation is going to require more bandwidth and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed expanding access to more wireless bandwidth. Support the FCC’s decision and sign our petition.    

2. The Privacy Conundrum

On January 1, 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act went into effect. Regardless of your opinion on the law, one major flaw is that it only adheres to California. That means that 49 other states play by a different set of rules, or lack thereof.  All Americans deserve to have privacy protections, no matter where they live or travel. Instead of 50 states with 50 potentially different laws, Americans need a federal privacy law that covers the 3 C’s: 1) Consistency, applying to the entire nation; 2) Control, giving consumers clarity on how their information is collected and used; and 3) Confidence, requiring organizations that retain consumer data to take reasonable steps to protect it from illegal access. To learn more about why this matters, read our related article.

3. Getting America to 100% Connectivity

As America strives to provide broadband access for all – especially in rural areas – public and private entities are coming together to solve the problem. These collaborations are taking some interesting forms. In Montgomery, Massachusetts, for example, where emergency services weren’t even available via landline phones, the Massachusetts Broadband Institute and Comcast joined forces to provide broadband to over 375 households. And in Virginia, the Rural Broadband Coalition has brought together business, government, and education leaders to get rural residents connected. The state has also benefitted from federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to improve broadband infrastructure. To urge our elected officials to unleash the power of our communities by providing broadband for all, please sign our petition.   

4. The TV Renaissance

The way we watch and experience television has changed forever. The growth of broadband and streaming revolutionized television in the 2010s, creating a world of on-demand choice for the consumer. The 2020s look to bring even more choice and customization to the TV experience, with the rise of augmented and virtual reality allowing users to interact with the real world, supplemented by digital content, or immerse themselves in a completely virtual environment. And with field trials for 10G broadband speeds beginning this year, the future for top-quality, dramatic, and interactive content has never looked brighter. Want to know more? Read about the TV evolution here.

5. The rise of e-sports

Without a doubt, the 2020s will be the decade of e-sports. The phenomenon has taken the sports and gaming world by storm: by 2021, e-sports are projected to have more viewers (84 million) than any other sport except football. Today there are teams, leagues, and sponsors, with Comcast building a state-of-the-art $50 million e-sports stadium in Philadelphia. And among Generation Z, the future is already here: 44% say they’ve watched an e-sports broadcast, compared to 51% who’ve seen a live sports broadcast. The rise of e-sports, however, will require next-generation 10G broadband infrastructure. For more information on the desperate need for Wi-Fi infrastructure, read our article here.     

From smart spaces to increased broadband, streaming TV to e-sports, 2020 promises to be the threshold of a decade that revolutionizes communication and entertainment – if our infrastructure can support it. Here at Beyond, we will be following these trends closely and keeping you informed on the issues you need to know about.