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Engineering and Technology TrendsWhat’s in store for engineering and technology in 2020? Look no further!

We’re laying out some quick, key trends you’ll want to monitor this year whether you’re still studying, relatively new to your field or a seasoned technology and engineering veteran.

Reflecting on the past year, and the past decade as a whole, E&T editor Tim Fryer said the sphere of technology and engineering today depicts a long-term vision that has come to fruition.

[It] has changed out of all recognition. Industry 4.0 has made 2010’s factory of the future the factory of the present for 2020. The digital thread that runs through design, manufacture, supply chains, maintenance and full product life cycle has evolved incredibly quickly and is having an effect on every job function, every product and every business.

The Internet of Things, Augmented Reality, electric vehicles, drones, self-heating concrete, robotics and advanced uses for GPS are just some of the major developments which will dominate in 2020.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) is altering the world of technology and software engineering as we know it. In fact, smart technology now intercepts so much of the world at work and home.

Interesting Engineering claims IoT is predicted to increase company revenues by as much as $344 billion and offer cost savings of $177 billion in 2020 alone. The total installed base of (IoT) connected devices is projected to amount to 75 billion worldwide by 2025 — a fivefold increase in ten years.

According to BBVA Openmind:

“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%.”

If you want to enter or progress in the field of IoT, then make sure that you gather as much knowledge as you can relating to:

  • Automation
  • Data analytics
  • Cloud computing

Electric Vehicles (EVs)

There are some big names coming to the electric vehicle (EV) market. Among these is Tesla’s new major competitor BYTON, which is set to start mass production of their EV later this year after introducing its concept in 2018.

The next 10 years should also see a massive increase in the number of EVs on the roads in general, which means a lot of movement and scope for growth in the automotive engineering world.

Indeed, by 2030 it has been suggested that there will be around 125 million EVs out there and in the UK alone. The government is pushing to ban all petrol and diesel cards by 2040, with at least half replaced by 2030.

Sources say it’s also worth monitoring the progress of “better batteries, the continued roll out of charging tech, autonomous driving, solar-powered EVs, electric planes and better software” when it comes to this sphere.


Drone capabilities are expanding every year, providing education, career and investment opportunities. In 2020, we’ll see rapid development when it comes to drone accuracy and performance, whilst the industry as a whole is expected to rise from $2 billion to $10 billion in the next decade.

As their presence increases across a variety of industries, young engineers will “need to know the latest UAV technology, safety procedures and privacy policies”, says technical marketing manager at RS Components, Simon Duggleby.

Self Heating Concrete

Many technology and engineering industry experts believe we’ll start seeing self-heating concrete being increasingly used on roads, as well as in buildings and homes.

Benefits of this technology include:

  • Reduced costs
  • Faster construction times
  • Improved quality.

Since concrete is the most widely produced and consumed material in the construction industry, many believe that by 2030 we’ll be using about 5 billion metric tons per year.


Fanuc 430 robot. Model by Ken Schulze, rendered by Indrek Narusk.

Robotics are increasingly being used in the technology and engineering sector (among countless others), with the market expected to grow by 175% over the next decade.

Robotics Process Automation (RPA) is another engineering trend to watch. While automation is a well established concept (since its implementation can improve efficiency, overall quality and net profit), RPA is taking the sector to new heights.

Aaron Bultman, director of product at Nintex explains:

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.

What’s in Store for 2020

Engineering is a wide-ranging field with many sub sectors. Moreover, technology is so deeply intertwined in the engineering industry (and vice versa) that each area greatly informs the other to a greater degree than ever before in today’s modern world.

There have been many changes to these areas in recent years and the future holds even more scope for change and transformation. As we head into a new decade, where its predecessor set the groundwork for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it will be both exciting and intriguing to see what unfolds.

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