2020 Technology Landscape

A 5-year vision on the future of technology

Each year, the Citrix Technology Office updates the industry on the latest technology trends with our Technology Landscape. Citrix makes sense of the changes driving these trends, correlating surveys and data from industry sources in addition to adding in Citrix perspectives and data. This year’s landscape is themed “Creating Your Future” and focuses on the many facets of innovation from lean startup, design thinking, and agile development to the outliers of innovation being developed by tech influencers around the globe. We’ve distilled the predictions we think you’ll find most interesting and highlighted them below

People today are expected to filter, understand and act upon an enormous mountain of data. Consequently they are overwhelmed; they are “info-toxicated.” Existing tools that are used to help people process and communicate information are creating large inefficiencies in their workdays. According to McKinsey, 30 percent of work time is spent on emails, and half of that time is wasted. Another study suggests that only a quarter of emails are actually essential. People need better tools to manage their work information life.

The first step to helping improve performance is freeing up cognitive bandwidth. According to the book “The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload” to free up cognitive bandwidth we must reduce decision fatigue, reduce interruptions, and reduce expensive context switching.

Fewer decisions and simplicity will drive systems that are more productive, so here are a few tips to try:

  1. Turning off electronic notifications to reduce interruptions.
  2. Create environments where unwanted interruptions are avoided in order to reduce expensive context switching.
  3. Cut meetings in half.
  4. Read half as much email.
  5. Helping people filter email by adding context to the subject line. Prefixes like “FYI:” or “REQ:” can help people pre-filter.
  6. The book “The 4-Hour Work Week” recommends batching email to read twice a day to reduce context switching.

We are seeing healthcare really embrace the Internet of Things. Things will transform visits with medical professionals. Things will assist with chronic disease monitoring and reminding us to take prescriptions and engage in therapies. Things will help us make healthy choices so health parameters stay within acceptable, long-term boundaries. Things are already impacting fitness. We call this the Healthcare of Things.

Predictions for the Healthcare of Things:

  1. Wearables will be the predominant form factor.
  2. The medical profession will be reluctantly dragged into Healthcare of Things.
  3. You will be heavily incentivized to be Healthcare of Things instrumented.
  4. Collected data from Healthcare of Things is a treasure trove—for good or evil.
  5. Vendor lapses in security and privacy will not be tolerated.
  6. Visits with caregivers will be more meaningful. Fitness will be more achievable.

Wearables – From watchbands to sensors embedded in clothing, shoes and sports equipment, we have a plethora of information about our heartbeats, steps, temperature, and general movement available today. Advancements in sensors will bring medical-grade vitals into our daily lives. And, as things evolve, they will increasingly work together, learning from each other, and performing checks and balances to assure accuracy and consistency.

Impact on Medical Profession – The practice of medicine is cautiously slow to change. Whether it’s accepting the data and readings from personal devices—or the much more serious aspects of those devices controlling drug delivery —IoT growth for healthcare will be mostly patient-driven in the early days and used to augment both in-office and virtual visits.

Want Cash? Wear This! – While being instrumented today means purchasing devices, the future will bring “free” devices. But there’s a catch—you will need to anonymously or otherwise publish your data. This practice will be tied to insurance discounts and company health program incentives, and you will be directly targeted.

Follow the Money Into the Cloud – Marketers, researchers, and insurance companies salivate over thinking of all the uses for HoT data and the money they will make. Your data represents you and your habits. If it’s not properly anonymized, it can be directly tied to your social media profiles—and you will be directly targeted.

Mobility is not an option. In fact, it’s the default state of work and play. Security is equally not an option; it is required. Coupled with privacy and safety, security will be much more ingrained and augmented in our daily lives and routines. As both evolve into 2020, it is critical to be simultaneously more mobile and secure. Technology must augment policy to balance security and functionality into an experience that consistently meets the demands of both enterprise and individual—and is easy to understand, use, and maintain.

Predictions for the intersection of mobility and security in 2020 include:

  1. Your digital life becomes your default persona, dynamically managing individualized security and privacy objectives.
  2. Wearables replace smartphones as the primary mobile device—and as primary security factors for authentication and authorization.
  3. Connectedness to vehicles, homes, and healthcare instrumentation require physical security interfaces to be mission-grade.
  4. DNA-augmented authentication and authorization uniquely identifies you as you and makes it difficult to be anonymous.
  5. “Security be damned—we have to get this product to market” will be a vendor slogan of the distant past.

Globally we are seeing a rapidly growing middle class (particularly in emerging countries) as individuals, powered by increased education, move out of traditional labor based jobs and transform into “knowledge workers.”

This increased prosperity is spawning further growth in education because families are now able to invest more in the education of their offspring. OECD research shows that demand for education has risen by 20 percent in developed countries over the past decade and substantially more in developing markets.

As we look across the future of work, the changing workplace, and the impact of the millennial generation, we will see a regeneration of the education space over the next decade. Millennials in particular want education to adapt to their high priority needs for a meaningful life and work-life balance. This mandates being able to secure a well-paying job without a lifelong education expense liability.

The future of education is not just about utilizing the abundance of technology that is available. It is about how the education marketplace will adapt to the changing needs of the future knowledge worker, the future of work, and the economy.

Citrix believes the key areas for the future of education are:

  1. Lifelong learning is the new norm, and employers are expecting workers to embrace this model.
  2. Students will have greater control of their personalized learning needs.
  3. Creative skills and “trade” skills will be important in the future of work, requiring the educational content to be dynamic in time and delivery for the future worker.
  4. Massive Online Open Courseware becomes a core part of consuming education and learning with requirements of lifelong and personalized learning.
  5. Institutions will be forced to adapt to a hybrid curriculum and restructure to fit the needs of students. This will include embracing and aggregating third-party content (MOOCs) and taking an aggressive leap in the adoption of new technologies to enhance this experience.

At the peak of any hype cycle, shiny technology obscures value. The Internet of Things is no exception. Companies from Cisco to GE are making big predictions and bets on the IoT market. Part of getting over the “peak of inflated expectations” is converting hype into value. The core value propositions are easy to articulate for IoT: efficiency gains (costs savings + time savings + risk management), productivity gains, and enhanced human experiences. The transition happens when we quit talking about the technology and talk about what it does for us.

What Smart Things Can Learn from Dumb Things
We tend to look at new things through the filters of old perspectives; IoT is no exception. Right now we view IoT through the perspective of mobile computing. We have to worry about the OS on our phones being up to date, about how to get things on a network, loading apps, unlocking phones, etc. Perhaps we should look at IoT through a different perspective. Smart things could learn a lot from dumb things.

You plug in a “dumb” light bulb, flick the light switch, and then you’re all done. Right now, you plug in a “smart” light bulb, you configure a gateway to be on your wireless network, you pair the light bulb with the gateway, you load an app on your phone, you pair that app with the gateway, and then you’re all done. When you want to control that light again, be sure the wall switch is on, unlock your phone, run the app, select the light, and turn it on.... If it is a secure light bulb, you might even have to create a user name and password. Which is the “smart,” and which is the “dumb” light bulb again? We believe there are many principles that “smart” things can learn from “dumb” things.

  1. Onboarding – You onboard a dumb thing by buying it and putting it where it is going to be used.
  2. Security – You secure a dumb thing by putting it in a secure place: your home, your car, and your office. Possession in your secure place is nine-tenths of the law. You secure the place, not the thing. These places have locks and security systems. You don’t have a password for every object in your house.
  3. Interaction – Had we started with computing that was cheap, powerful, and wirelessly connected, we would have interacted with computing in vastly different and more natural ways. The iPad is fairly easy for a 2-year-old to use because it has physics that a 2-year-old can understand: you touch things, and they move. You interact with dumb things by touching them and manipulating them.
  4. Sharing – Most physical things are shared by mere presence. A friend in your car or watching your TV in your home. We all share physical spaces.
  5. Maintenance – You maintain your things by cleaning them, perhaps getting them fixed, or replacing them when you notice they are broken.

So how can we translate this for the world of “smart” things:

  1. Onboarding – Onboarding a smart thing should be the same as a dumb thing. Put it in a secure place. The difference is the smart thing is aware of the place it is in. The access points become the virtual gateway to the space.
  2. Security – Secure the place not the thing. The thing is secure by being in a physical place.
  3. Interaction – Utilize natural interaction via touch and for smarter device gesture/
  4. Sharing – Most devices will be shared. Sharing happens when a person is in a place.
  5. Maintenance – Can we automatically detect when things are broken and automatically maintain them? Techniques like app stores with automatic updates have been doing this for a long time. Perhaps when a device is beyond supportability it gets isolated. Perhaps we can do better than dumb things here.

So maybe we can teach a new thing some old tricks!

Integrate Everything

The Internet of Things is more about things working together than the things themselves. We have many non-networked things. We have been extending web pages to be programmatically mashable web services for some time now. People have realized their services are more valuable when they can be easily connected with other services. This is a network multiplier effect. With APIs for connected things, we are extending this mashability into the physical world. This integrate everything concept is a core tenant of the Citrix Octoblu IoT platform. These technologies further reduce the cost of automation of people, places, and things increasing operational efficiencies and delight.

About the Citrix Technology Office

The Citrix Technology Office is Citrix’s future looking innovation group. Comprising of Citrix Labs, the Citrix CTO Council and the Citrix Startup Accelerator, the Citrix Technology Office is hyper-charged to drive and embrace the next waves of technology.