7 Engineering Trends to Watch in 2020

What's in store for engineering in 2020? Here are 7 trends you might want to watch next year.
Christopher McFadden

2020 is shaping up to be an interesting year for innovation in engineering. Here are 7 trends that should be exciting to keep an eye on next year.


What are the biggest technology trends to watch in 2020?

2020 should be an interesting year for technological innovation. According to Forbes, here are some of the most important ones:

  • AI-as-a-service
  • 5G data networks 
  • Autonomous Driving
  • Personalized and predictive medicine
  • Computer Vision
  • Extended Reality
  • Blockchain Technology

Which is the best technology to learn for the future?

Whether you are just starting out in life or are a seasoned veteran in your field, it is always a good idea to keep an eye on future trends in the job market. According to sites like edeureka, here are some tech trends to check-in on: 

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Blockchain
  • Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
  • Cloud Computing
  • Angular and React
  • DevOps
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Intelligent Apps (I – Apps)

7 engineering trends to watch in 2020

So, without further ado, here are 7 engineering trends to watch next year. Trust us when we say this list is far from exhaustive and is in no particular order.

1. 2020 should be interesting for the Internet of Things (IoT)

tech trends IoT 2020
Source: metamorworks/iStock

The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the landscape of devices in industry and for consumers. Smart technology is slowly but surely finding its way into many businesses and private homes all around the world. 

2020 is shaping up to be a great year for IoT and its impact is predicted by some to increase company revenues by as much as $344 billion next year. The efficiency that IoT devices bring to an organization and are also predicted to provide around $177 billion in cost savings.

"IoT and smart devices are already increasing the performance metrics of major US-based factories. They are in the hands of employees, covering routine management issues and boosting their productivity by 40-60%." - BBVA Openmind

2. Electric Vehicles should have a good year in 2020

tech trends 2020 evs

Electric vehicles (EVs) are another tech trend to keep an eye on in 2020. Their market share in the automotive sector is growing year on year and 2020 should be significant.

Some new exciting models are coming on the market next year with many other manufacturers investing hard into the tech. The next decade should also see a massive increase in the number of EVs on the road.

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By 2030 it is estimated that somewhere in the order of 125 million should be on the road. But there are some other interesting trends within the EV market to look out for next year. 

Ever better batteries, the continued rollout of charging tech, autonomous driving, solar-powered EVs, electric planes, and better software are all things to look out for in 2020. 

3. Sustainable energy should see an interesting 2020

tech trends 2020 sustainable energy
Source: LoveSilhouette/iStock

The energy sector is another interesting market to watch in 2020. The drive for ever more sustainable energy sources and ever better efficiency should see some interesting innovation next year. 

The energy mix for many countries should also see sustainable energy receiving a bigger bite of the cherry. 

"EIA forecasts that utility-scale renewable fuels, including wind, solar, and hydropower, will collectively produce 18% of U.S. electricity in 2019 and 19% in 2020." - eia.gov.

The main things to look out for will be innovations in:

  • Energy storage and better batteries
  • AI and sustainable energy
  • Blockchain
  • Grid parity
  • Cybersecurity
  • Distributed Energy Resource (DER)
  • The political climate

4. 2020 should be an exciting year for cybersecurity

7 Engineering Trends to Watch in 2020

Cybersecurity is another area to look out for in 2020. From personal to corporate online data security, the ever-present threat of cybersecurity threats should fuel this neverending online arms race. 

According to a Booz, Allen, and Hamilton report, some of the main threats in cybersecurity that will drive innovation in 2020 will be: 

  1. Global balkanization of technology
  2. Tainted component: Clones and counterfeits
  3. Cybercrime hits the highway
  4. Malware takes flight: Drones as an initial network infection vector
  5. Shattering constellations: The future of satellites for Earth, space, and the internet
  6. When advanced persistent threats all look alike
  7. Digital elections interference
  8. Cyber operations carry an increased risk of conventional military response
  9. Nation-states poised to interfere in the 2020 Olympics

5. What does 2020 have in store for Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)?

2020 should be an interesting year for PLM in many sectors. Many market experts predict significant growth in the sector over the next few years. 

"[The] Global PLM market is expected to increase significantly in the next five to six years from the market size of $18.57 billion in 2018 to over $26.33 billion by 2023. The global PLM market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.2% from 2018-2023." - PDS Vision

Innovation in digital technologies and smart tech will continue to revolutionize this sector through 2020 and beyond.

6. What about Edge Computing?

Edge computing is yet another tech trend to watch in 2020. Next year is predicted to be a good year for the industry.

Edge computing is mainly concerned with moving processing from the cloud closer to the end-user or end-device. To date this has been driven by several key factors (courtesy of IoT World Today): 

  • Latency for time-sensitive applications, such as those within IoT which need real-time responses
  • Network and bandwidth. Edge computing can minimize the cost of moving large amounts of data, plus reducing reliance on the network
  • Data privacy and security. Edge computing approaches can help organizations comply with data sovereignty laws and make sure intellectual property remains on-premises

These factors will continue to push the industry forward, and 2020 should see some interesting innovations and solutions. 

7. Robotics Process Automation (RPA) should also have a good 2020

And finally, Robotics Process Automation (RPA) will be another engineering trend to watch in 2020. Automation is key to increasing the efficiency, quality, and profitability of many organizations around the world.

While automation in concept is nothing new; the ever-increasing sophistication in software and hardware solutions is supercharging the sector. Robots will continue to become an increasingly common part of the workspace in the future, and 2020 will not be an exception. 

"The RPA market will continue its rapid growth in 2020 as more enterprises come to understand both the power of process automation overall and the number of legacy processes for which RPA is an effective answer,” says Aaron Bultman, director of product at Nintex.

To this end, 2020 should see some interesting innovations in RPA. 

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