Each year, we delve into the upcoming tech trends that will significantly impact our digital landscape over the next 12 months.
Curious about the technologies gaining momentum? Wondering about the crucial trends that business leaders need to brace themselves for? Well, here are the ten indispensable tech trends to keep an eye on in 2024.
1. Bridging the Digital and Physical Realm
The fusion of the digital and physical worlds is already happening and will only intensify in 2024, with two key players: digital twin technology and 3D printing.
Digital twins are virtual replicas of real-world processes, products, or operations, offering a safe digital environment to test new ideas. Expect to see more digital twins in 2024, spanning from factories to machinery, cars, and precision healthcare.
After fine-tuning in the virtual space, engineers can make adjustments and bring them to life using 3D printing technology. Take Formula 1 teams, for instance—they collect data during races, stream it to digital twins, and run scenarios to make real-time design changes. The result? 3D printed car parts crafted based on the insights gained. The bridge between the digital and physical is only getting stronger!
2. AI on the Rise
Heading into 2024, artificial intelligence is making a real impact in organizations. The rise of no-code AI, flaunting its user-friendly drag-and-drop interfaces, means any business can tap into its potential to craft smarter products and services without needing a tech wizard.
The retail world is already catching on to this trend. Take Stitch Fix, for example, using AI-powered algorithms to suggest clothing that perfectly fits their customers’ sizes and styles.
Another big player in 2024? Contactless, autonomous shopping and delivery. Thanks to AI, paying for and receiving goods and services is about to get a whole lot simpler.
AI is set to be the right-hand companion to almost every job and business process out there. More retailers are adopting AI to streamline complex inventory management behind the scenes, making convenience trends like buy-online-pickup-at-curbside (BOPAC), buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS), and buy-online-return-in-store (BORIS) the new normal. It’s an AI-powered world we’re stepping into!
3. The Metaverse Getting Real
Experts foresee the metaverse adding a whopping $5 trillion to the global economy by 2030, and 2024 is expected to be the defining year that shapes the metaverse’s path for the next decade.
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) tech are on the rise. Keep an eye on the work environment within the metaverse—2024 might bring us more immersive meeting spaces where we can chat, brainstorm, and create together. Microsoft and Nvidia are already in the game, developing metaverse platforms for collaborative digital projects.
Already in development for some time, immersive technology has the potential to significantly enhance recreational experiences where real-world events intersect with the digital realm. A compelling example of this application can be found in the domain of online sports betting, where betting options, live statistics, and odds are seamlessly integrated into the field of vision, possibly even streaming the event itself.
Coupling this with the possibility of making it a social event could replicate the atmosphere of being present at the actual event. Platforms like Betway are actively exploring these innovative ideas.
4. Advancements in Web3
In 2024, expect significant strides in blockchain technology as companies delve into creating more decentralized products and services.
Think about it: currently, everything’s up in the cloud. But what if we decentralize data storage, securing it with blockchain encryption? Our information not only becomes more secure but opens up innovative ways to access and analyze it.
The coming year will also see Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) becoming more practical.NFTs could be the keys to interact with the digital products and services we purchase, or they might represent contracts we make with others.
5. Evolving Editable World
Picture a world where we can tweak materials, plants, and yes, even humans. Thanks to nanotechnology, we’re entering an era where we can create materials with brand-new features—think water resistance and self-healing capabilities.
While CRISPR-Cas9 has been in the game for a while, 2024 is set to accelerate gene editing technology. It’s like word processing but for genes, allowing us to “edit nature” by altering DNA. This means fixing DNA mutations, tackling food allergies, enhancing crop health, and even tweaking human traits like eye and hair color.
6. Quantum Leaps
There’s a global race underway to scale up quantum computing. Quantum computing, leveraging subatomic particles to revolutionize how we process and store information, promises computing speeds a trillion times faster than today’s fastest traditional processors.
However, there’s a catch. Quantum computing has the potential to render our current encryption methods useless. This means any country mastering quantum computing could potentially crack the encryption of other nations, businesses, and security systems.
Keep a close eye on this trend in 2024, as countries like the US, UK, China, and Russia invest heavily in developing quantum computing technology. It’s a game-changer worth watching!
7. Strides in Green Tech
Tackling the climate crisis is a global challenge, and in 2024, we’ll witness ongoing efforts to rein in our carbon emissions.
Keep an eye on advancements in green hydrogen—a clean-burning energy source with minimal greenhouse gas emissions. Major European energy players like Shell and RWE are pioneering the creation of a significant green pipeline from North Sea wind plants.
Expect progress in decentralized power grids, too. This model, with small generators and storage in communities or individual homes, ensures power availability even when the main grid falters.
While our energy landscape is currently dominated by big corporations, decentralized energy initiatives have the potential to democratize power globally and reduce carbon emissions.
8. Robots Taking on a Human Touch
In 2024, robots are gearing up to be even more human-like, both in appearance and capability. These robots will step into real-world roles as event greeters, bartenders, concierges, and companions for older adults. They’ll also dive into complex tasks in warehouses and factories, working alongside humans in manufacturing and logistics.
Imagine this: a company striving to create human-like robots for our homes. At Tesla AI Day in September 2022, Elon Musk unveiled two Optimus humanoid robot prototypes, with plans to take orders in the next 3 to 5 years.
These robots can handle simple tasks like lifting items and watering plants, paving the way for potential “robot butlers” assisting around the house. Exciting times ahead!
9. Strides in Autonomous Systems
Business leaders are continuing the march toward autonomous systems, especially in the realm of delivery and logistics. Many factories and warehouses have already embraced partial or full autonomy.
Expect to see a surge in self-driving trucks, ships, and delivery robots in 2024. More warehouses and factories will integrate autonomous technology into their operations. Take Ocado, a British online supermarket giant, for instance.
They employ thousands of autonomous robots in their highly automated warehouses, efficiently sorting, lifting, and moving groceries. Using AI, they strategically position the most popular items within easy reach of the robots. Now, Ocado is extending this successful autonomous technology to other grocery retailers.
10. Embracing Sustainable Tech
As we head into 2024, there’s a notable push toward more sustainable technology. Our love affair with smartphones, tablets, and computers is real, but have we considered where the components for our beloved gadgets come from?
The focus is shifting to the origins of rare earth components, especially for computer chips, and how we’re managing their consumption.
Even our reliance on cloud services like Netflix and Spotify, housed in massive data centers, raises concerns about energy consumption.
In the coming year, the call for transparent supply chains will intensify. Consumers are increasingly demanding energy-efficient products and services backed by sustainable technology. It’s a shift toward a more conscientious tech landscape.