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The future is here: how will technology look in the 2020s?

Mon Jan 20 04:30:00 EST 2020

The new year; a time for resolutions, healthy eating routines and the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the world’s largest technology exhibition. A global stage for groundbreaking innovations and next-generation consumer technologies, each January global technology leaders and industry experts meet at the Las Vegas Convention Center to get a look at how the future of technology will unfold. As the event comes to a close – and with Money 2020 on the horizon for those of us in the fintech industry, we take a look at the events and technologies likely to shake up the market in 2020, and throughout this new decade of innovation.

CES 2020

The first CES was held in New York in 1967, where it played host to 250 exhibitors, 7,500 attendees, and brands including LG, Motorola and Phillips. Today CES hosts more than 4,500 exhibitors and 170,000 visitors from all over the world. Showcasing futuristic products and new inventions, over the years CES has launched new inventions including the car stereo, the floppy disk, the cordless phone, and the VCR.

Fintech continues to play an important role in developing innovations that directly impact the payments landscape - from the creation of the UK's first credit card by Barclaycard, to the rise of the internet shopping in the nineties, and more recently the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in fraud detection. When Apple launched the first iPhone at CES 2007, none of us could have predicted just how much the smartphone would change how we live, work, play and pay.

What were the big innovations this year?

So, what were the hot talking points this year? As well as the usual TVs and smartphones, CES 2020 brought us a smart toothbrush that maps the user’s mouth for perfect polishing, a 24mph egg chair, a robot that washes dishes and a reverse microwave that lets the user perfectly chill drinks in minutes.

Looking to the horizon, Sony chose CES 2020 to unveil its Playstation concept car, packed with entertainment features and designed to support safe autonomous driving. Uber revealed its Hyundai flying taxi – a plane drone hybrid it hopes to launch at scale towards the end of the 2020s. Whether we’re talking about game-changing foldable smartphones or a robotic companion that appreciates a nice hug, this year’s big launches all work to demonstrate the limitless potential of smart technology in everyday life.

This mirrors the trend for seamlessness and convenience seen throughout the fintech industry. Speaking to the defining characteristics of great technology, Keith Little, CIO in Barclays Cards & Payments, says:

“New technologies are changing how payments are taking place – contactless, mobile and increasingly seamless payments. Consumers demand convenience and are quick to adopt new ways of paying.”

Money 20/20

With an ever-growing trend for consumers and businesses looking to manage their finances seamlessly and efficiently, the rate at which fintech is developing shows no sign of slowing down in the 21st century. A global brand with events held in Europe, Asia and the US, Money 20/20 is an important date in the fintech calendar for many, reflecting some of the key ideas and discussions sparked at CES.

Last year’s Money 20/20 brought us new fraud detection models, behavioural biometrics, and real-time payments. For Barclays attendees, Open Banking and the dawn premium APIs were the focus. Connected ecosystems were seen as the way forward, and as Maria Parpou, Managing Director at Barclaycard Commercial Payments summarised:

“Connected ecosystems have the potential to transform the way we think about e-commerce, and right now we have an incredible opportunity to own the financial layer underpinning these new platforms – our partnerships with businesses like Coupa and SAP Ariba are examples of what is possible.”

Looking ahead

Events like Money 20/20 and CES help the industry look to the horizon and navigate the future trends.

Keith Little, says: “The subjects covered at industry events, along with our own knowledge and expertise, give us a good lens on the ideas that will define how we talk about fintech this year, as well as the technology that will be particularly relevant to our brand and our customers. The innovations may be new, but our focus remains unchanged on delivering great outcomes for our customers.”

It seems like only yesterday, but technology has changed so much since 2010. What will the world look like when we come to write about the tech trends in 2030?