Change is a critical factor in the fast-paced world of technology. New products and trends come and go so quickly that it’s hard to keep up, but if an organisation doesn’t want to risk becoming a dinosaur, then keeping on top of current developments is a must. Here are five predictions from Marcus Harvey, Sales Director EMEA at Targus, for what will be the biggest technology gamechangers to look out for in 2020.
Prediction 1: Holding superfast tech in the palm of your hand
At up to 100 times the speed of its 4G predecessor, 5G is the next biggest evolution in telecommunications infrastructure. It promises superfast download speeds and lower latency. While the exact date for rollout of 5G is hazy, the knowledge of its oncoming presence, means that businesses must prepare to accommodate for this technology in both work and leisure time.
Smartphones having superfast capabilities means we’ll see them doubling up as the go-to workplace device of choice; portability will be the order of the day. This will result in a domino effect for the bags and computer accessories industry, with a significant increase in demand for products to house and protect these devices as they become more prevalent and even more valuable.
Businesses will need to adapt to the needs of the new employees who chose smartphones and other portable tech as their preferred work devices. Laptop sleeves, tablet cases and laptop bags will surge in popularity; lightweight functionality will be the biggest requirement for any modern worker.
In addition, docking stations at work will need to be able to accommodate a wide variety of smartphones to ensure workplace set up is a seamless as a laptop experience.
Prediction 2: Security will be the priority
With regulations such as GDPR coming into play, data protection was a key defining factor for industries across the board in 2019. This brought discussions around cybersecurity to the forefront, with organisations and consumers alike being urged to take better care of their data.
Yet, cybersecurity has often been viewed in a silo – as a separate entity to physical security when the two are intrinsically linked.
One only needs to look at the example of Heathrow Airport to understand how physical security threats are just as much, if not more, threatening than cyber ones. Heathrow Airport was stung with a £120,000 fine last October by the Information Commissioner's Office after a staff member lost a USB stick which was later found by a member of the public. This goes to show that such a seemingly small mistake can have huge and costly implications.
Physical security trails behind cyber security in terms of budget and attention, but the penny will drop in 2020 when organisations realise that a lost memory stick or mislaid smartphone is all it takes to open the floodgates to crime and fraud, which can potentially cripple any business.
2020 will see a bigger focus on physical security and the bags and computer accessories industry will need to step up to the plate to ensure physical security is top-of-mind for organisations.
Prediction 3: Seeing the world through green-tinted glasses
Following through on sustainability promises will be a big industry gamechanger in 2020. We’ve seen enough pledge-making and greenwashing from companies misrepresenting their sustainability initiatives. Now discerning customers want to see action from companies in all different areas. Resellers and enterprises are also demanding it of suppliers; they’re enforcing high standards across the board as their own environmental policies ripple down the supply chain.
Being a smaller company means it’s easier to keep short supply chains in check, but as a larger corporation it can be difficult to keep it green at all levels. The onus is on the organisation to drive this change and transparency is key here – customers appreciate and expect companies who are honest about their sustainability journey.
Sustainability is no longer just a USP: it's now part of the table stakes. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in 2020 and beyond.
Prediction 4: Meeting the needs of the next generation
Flexible and remote working will be the name of the game in 2020. Gen Z, being the new working generation, will make decisions based on what technology their employers provide and what policies they implement. Being connected and agile will be key for employers looking to attract the right talent.
Setting up a workspace with connected functionality will be a must. Businesses need hardware that has cloud capabilities, matching the pace of the evolving work ecosystem. The right docking station, for instance, can help you get all your devices and gadgets synced up and under control. The same way a laptop is an improvement in portability versus a PC, a docking station is an improvement versus a desk cluttered by a mess of wires.
Connected desks are the way forward and this will become increasingly commonplace in 2020.
Prediction 5: The role of IT suppliers will change
As organisations, both big and small, turn to leaner models to achieve optimum business efficiency, the amount of time and budget available for training and development can be limited. Reliance on fewer people to get more done means that businesses will increasingly lean on their IT suppliers to educate and guide them on the best-suited technology for integration into, and outside of, the workspace.
Enterprises purchasing IT devices and accessories for the workplace face a wealth of choices which can ultimately be quite confusing. Often there is just too much choice and too many vendors and this can result in analysis paralysis.
In 2020, we’ll see IT suppliers existing as an extension of the organisation, imparting valuable advice and helping businesses determine how the technology can best add value to their operations.
Everyone wants to remove white noise and the weariness decision-makers face when there are too many choices that aren't quite the right fit. In the world of bags and computer peripherals, offering valuable advice and supporting businesses throughout their IT purchase journey will be key.