Just 20 years into the 21st century, we have already seen remarkable changes that we could never have anticipated. We've come up with 20 predictions that explore what the next 20 years may have in store for your organization.

By 2041, virtually every object in our lives will be connected to the internet. Smart cities, smart industries, smart transportation, smart homes, smart furniture, and even smart sensors in our bodies will all be connected on an ultra-fast data highway. Our environment will be safer and we will have better quality of life as everyday tasks are eased and insights from data will let us make better decisions on everything, from our health to travel to business transactions. We will be truly connected in every aspect of life.

Everything will be connected to the internet

The Internet of Things (IoT)—which connects smart devices and enables them to share and combine data—will be ubiquitous. Driven by artificial intelligence (AI), big data and 6G—the sixth-generation mobile network that will be 100 times faster than 5G1 and will provide the 'highway' on which data will travel —the IoT will mean that, by 2041, we will each have hundreds of devices connected to the Internet.

When it comes to our lives, there will be sensors everywhere, even under our skin. Transit passes or tokens will be a thing of the past as transit riders will have implanted microchips in their hands, which they will swipe on a digital reader. Sensors in chairs and toilets will capture real-time health-related data that is sent to your fridge so your fridge can recommend what foods are best to eat. The IoT will create autonomous and self-governed interactions between systems, sensors and other devices that support most day-to-day activities, such as through self-driving cars and drone delivery services. AIoT—when AI is combined with the IoT—will unleash the IoT's full potential even more.

Cities will be smart, making our lives as residents better. Hyper-connected IoT run by artificial intelligence will allow for dynamic street lighting, smart traffic flow and robotic waste collection from garbage cans that signal when they're full and cars communicating with available parking spots and meters, which is already occurring in hospitals. Many cities will be carbon neutral, running on self-producing clean energy systems such as solar farms, as well as circular economies that reduce consumption.

Sensors will also be used across industries. Farmers will use the IoT to gain insight into their operations, improving their production capabilities to feed the planet's growing population. In banking, the IoT will lead to new forms of secure payment, such as biometric tokens. Insurers will employ 'pay as you live' policies, where advanced technologies are used to enhance decision making—and increase or decrease premiums accordingly.

In the future, blockchain will offer an infrastructure of trust and security, especially with an ever-increasing number of IoT-enabled devices and sensors, as its use of encryption allows data to be reliably viewed and shared and therefore has important cybersecurity benefits. Blockchain and smart-contract platforms will support device-to-device communication and reliable decision-making in real-time, since data cannot be modified, deleted, or lost. People will be able to execute customizable transactions that are more complex than basic payments, such as sending a payment under certain terms—but without the need for lawyers, banks, and escrow companies, or any of their associated fees.

1 What is 6G, how fast will it be, and when is it coming? Andy Boxall and Tyler Lacoma, Digitaltrends.com, June 3, 2021.

Predictions pulse

Trends, breakthroughs, milestones, and insights on our path towards the maturation of technologies like IoT and 5g and their impact on supply chains and manufacturing.

Related predictions

Explore more predictions

Curious to find out what else could happen between now and 2040? Read our other predictions:

Connect with us

Stay up to date with what matters to you

Gain access to personalized content based on your interests by signing up today

Connect with us