Engineering Technology Trends to Watch in 2020


The year 2019 will be more about the evolution of existing technologies than about innovation. Because for years now, all we have been talking about is, what is going to happen in 2020?


With less than a year away, we can say that the future is here to stay. It has been promised that major engineering technology trends will be made visible throughout 2019.

The massive growth is going to characterise the technological trends that are impacting engineering and manufacturing in 2019. And on the other hand, the industry is going to see a continuous effort and challenge to meet the shortage in the sector.

To face the rapid change, engineers must upgrade their existing skills and learn some new ones that will help to collaborate with the latest technologies that their jobs would be adapting.

The rise of disruptive technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Additive Manufacturing (AM) which is also called 3D-Printing are all set to dominate the industry this year.

Engineers are advised to be at the forefront of these innovations and emerging technologies and also the new technologies that have become important for designers and engineers.

Smart City Planning and Design

In 2019, Smart Design would be taking a longer view in the future. The very first step into building towards the future is through building smart infrastructures that can support all Smart City applications for today and tomorrow.

Otherwise, the smart city has to dig up the same streets over again to add infrastructure for the new applications. This would present an unnecessary waste of resources, tax money and time.

Doing things the right way from the beginning is the best thing to do, so existing applications such as traffic sensors, smart lighting, smart parking and others can be easily updated while others are incorporated into the infrastructure. Smart City and design are space engineers should watch closely this year.


Internet of Things (IoT) Sensors

In 2009, they were already talking about the Internet of Things (IoT) for at least a few years. It took over 10 years for it to reach the maturity we have seen today.

Before, it was made to be impossible to connect everything to the Internet because the networks were not ready. But thanks to 5G connectivity, all the technologies that depend on it are going to improve at a much faster pace.

According to an analyst firm Gartner, 20.4 billion connected things are going to be in use worldwide by the year 2020.

However, the Internet of Things is sometimes referred to as the Internet of Everything; it demands faster communication between sensors for it to work correctly.

Industrial engineers must also observe for the security of manufacturing applications such as sensors that are used to monitor the status of the assembly line.

This means that no matter the field you are in, every engineer need to watch out for security alerts. All in all, IoT is one of the trends engineers should also watch out for in 2019.

5G Connectivity

5G is going to make the realisation of vision 2020 come to pass. Something we have been talking about for the past years.

Eyes are focused on 5G network developments and its adaption around the world. 5G connectivity is what’s going to power everything that the different branches of engineering are going to be working within 2019 and beyond.

So from the manufacturing assembly line to how to light up smart cities to city infrastructure and machine-to-machine connectivity, the 5G network is going to change the way we live, work and interact with people, machines and cities.

Cybersecurity Engineering and Risk Management

This is one of the spaces security engineers should watch out for this year, if not the most important, is the advancement in Cybersecurity research. It is going to help to stay ahead of the game before vulnerabilities turn into serious breaches.


However, ensuring that networks and security systems are updated has always been a priority. Also, designing systems that will deal with disruptions such as natural disasters or cyber-attacks must be done with the vision into the future and must be updated often.

Cybersecurity engineers must always be at alert to carry out constant threat analysis and risk assessment at an early stage during which the product development would ensure that security is a powerful feature of every device and product.

Engineering Design with AR, VR, and MR

The adoption of Mixed Reality (MR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies in the manufacturing sector are closing the breach between the real world and the digital world.

This would bring a significant boost to automotive engineering designers thanks to the help of new advances in MR, VR, AR and more practical applications of the R+ technology that is powered by 5G.

This means that with the help of these technologies, engineers are going to work with more powerful tools assisting them in their jobs.

Automation, Machine-to-Machine (M2M), and Human-to-Machine (H2M)

Automation is going to take centre stage in digital transformation and smart manufacturing in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. But for it to remain relevant, manufacturers need to embrace the change, automation and offer training to their workforce to fill up the skills gap that is existing today.

AI and IoT are going to make manufacturing more agile and smarter. And engineers are going to be tasked to supervise the machines with the help of smart devices.

However, the traditional workforces are going to see a lot of change due to automation, so they would need to develop skills to execute the digital transformation that automation brings to the manufacturing sector.

Forward-thinking leadership is going to be in high demand in this sector with humans being the ones driving the change that is needed for success.

Note that Human-to-Machine (H2M) is the emerging collaboration between humans and machines.


Finally, with the global adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) taking a front row seat this year, analysts have so far anticipated that IoT is going to create new security risks for both enterprises and consumers.

And by using tools such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) enterprises can predict and protect us from cyber-attacks sooner.

Gideon Akeni
Observe and Conquer


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