As we move into a new decade, we take a look at some of the technologies that are set to make an impact in 2020 and beyond.

1. 5G

Hopes are high that 5G, the fifth generation of cellular network technology, will revolutionise many areas of life, with its higher download speeds and lower latency compared with previous generations, and the AV sector will not be exempt from this.

In the corporate sector faster download speeds will open up new opportunities for content sharing and for video calling with colleagues no matter where they are in the world.

When it comes to digital signage, 5G will enhance the personalised content that is already proving popular with consumers, delivering videos, adverts and other content specifically targeted to an individual.

Emerging technologies such as AR and VR will also become more viable, and opportunities for live events abound.

2. WiFi 6

Another next-generation technology, WiFi 6 is designed to improve speed, increase efficiency and reduce congestion in heavy bandwidth usage scenarios.

As the WiFi 6 protocol enables simultaneous upstream and downstream multiple user, multiple input, multiple outlet (MU-MIMO) data transmissions on the same frequency, WiFi performance will be higher, especially in busy environments such as stadiums, transportation hubs and auditoriums, which have previously frustrated visitors with poor coverage.

Again, this will have a huge impact on the live events sector, adding to the creative possibilities of venues.

In addition, WiFi 6 should offer benefits when it comes to hosting multiple devices on a network.

3. AI

On the list for a few years now, 2020 could be the year that AI moves into the mainstream.

2019 saw AI edge into a number of markets, from enhancing the personalised learning experience in the education sector, to improving video calls with information on callers or better tracking of speakers in the corporate world.

AI is growing its reach every year. In 2020, this could include AI assistants extending into the professional sphere.

4. Data and analytics

2020 will also be the year of data, and useful data at that.

There’s no denying that a business needs AV technology, but that doesn’t mean there is an unlimited budget for this.

However, as connected devices become more available and as the Internet of Things (IoT) develops, it becomes much easier to use the data generated by sensors and devices to make a business case for investment.

Smart technology that can collate and analyse data on meeting room usage, for example, can highlight under- or over-utilised rooms, leading to better estate management and, in turn, a more efficient user experience; real-time monitoring is also possible with networked devices, resulting in less downtime and more efficient working practices, all of which lead to a clear ROI.

One thing that won’t change in 2020, however, is the focus on network security, so expect this to be a major concern among end users.

5. Edge computing

Just as the majority of companies have embraced cloud storage and concerns over reliability and security have been largely assuaged, up steps edge computing to add to the debate.

Edge computing promotes the processing of data near the edge of your network, i.e. where the data is being generated, rather than on a centralised server or in the cloud.

In this new scenario, sensors will collect data and edge servers will process this data in real time and on site. Cited benefits include enhanced operational efficiency, improved performance and less unplanned downtime.

Consider the personalised digital signage offerings mentioned earlier. Edge computing would take away any privacy concerns raised by these kinds of activities as data will be anonymised and stored at source rather than identifiable information sitting in the cloud.

In all likelihood, Edge and the cloud will be employed side by side, rather than one usurping the other, but it will almost certainly be a talking point throughout 2020 and beyond.

What’s interesting looking ahead is just how interlinked these developments are.

Taken alone any of the above technologies have the potential to impact the world of AV. Considered together AI, data, 5G, WiFi 6 and edge computing could revolutionise entire industries.

2020 certainly looks set to be an interesting year.