Data Trends To Watch in 2020


Here are the key trends that will dominate data reliant businesses this year.

Focus on enabling privacy compliance across business processes and systems

Privacy is an overwhelming business imperative that is changing the perspective of consumers, governments, and corporations regarding existing methods of doing business in a rapidly evolving data economy –  be it data collection, processing or usage by the owners of this data. 

While 2018 was the starting point of data privacy regulations with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect, it was also a year when companies began implementing these regulations and measuring the impact of data privacy on businesses. Other countries followed suit with regulations such as New York’s Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security (SHIELD) Act and California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) bill effective from January 1, 2020. 

According to research from PwC, only 25 percent of consumers believe most companies handle their personal data responsibly. While issues with privacy prevail, there is an uptick in the usage of data for decision-making, and this has become essential for driving businesses. We see larger companies beginning to embrace consumer privacy practices. In a bid to be privacy-compliant, these businesses are incorporating data privacy and security programs to educate consumers about what data is being collected, where it is being used, and how sharing data will benefit consumers and businesses alike. Privacy-implementation strategies need to be developed requiring a combination of technology and social engineering.

Most of the innovations in data and analytics will need to be privacy-led in 2020 where companies will focus on scaling up with the use of AI and ML models in a privacy-led environment. Privacy requirements will guide data adoption strategies for better business decision-making and enable faster innovation cycles. One can expect to see businesses investing in educating consumers about the purpose of data usage with the intent to bring about behavioral change for information sharing.

Adoption of DaaS to power enterprise decision-making

By 2020, there will be around 38.5 billion connected devices, up from 13.4 billion in 2015, signifying an increase of more than 285 percent. However, the mere collection of copious data will not render it useful for businesses. 

Organizations are often not able to have a single effective source of data, but rather have to collect data from multiple sources such as search engines, social networks, their CRMs, advertising platforms, and many other indirect tools. Collecting and unifying this data to support a variety of use-cases is a costly and time-consuming process.

The availability of data from sources as DaaS API – Data-as-a-service – enables enterprises to source data as needed, minimizing data costs and waste. Streams can be consumed continuously and snapshots can be accessed on-demand. Historical data can be retrieved as needed. DaaS services enable enterprises to develop incremental data consumption and sourcing strategy with minimal investments in resources to figure out what data is useful for its business decision making. Making data available on-demand helps enterprises figure out its data usage scenarios and then ramp-up investment in developing and deploying data-dependent workflows.

In 2020, DaaS services will thrive on the rising demand for real-time/what-if/historical data analytics across different industry verticals. 

Connected TV and Digital OOH advertising will go mainstream

Engaging customers on multiple channels will become du jour. Connected TV, digital and interactive OOH adoption will grow as consumer-facing businesses aim to add more real-time digital consumer data to deepen their understanding of their consumer journeys. This is being driven by the fast-changing content consumption habits of digitally-savvy consumers, the availability and proliferation of media in various forms and form-factors. Furthermore, the rise in digitization of retail experiences also requires a rethink of advertising experiences.

Users are increasingly consuming content through Connected TV. Viewers enjoy this content in long-form and live on-demand through different channels. The recent trends in pricing and roll-out strategies of streaming service companies like WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, Disney, and Comcast’s Peacock suggest how much media companies have to gain or lose when consumers start switching en masse to streaming video in lieu of cable TV.  Linear content consumption is waning. The effectiveness of Connected TV as a media channel is poised to grow with the deployment of 5G network infrastructure, the rise in video consumption and improved personalization technologies.

Digital OOH is rapidly replacing traditional OOH. According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, in the second quarter of 2019, OOH advertising revenue rose by 7.7% compared to last year, totaling $2.69 billion. Top brands have increased their spending on digital OOH as they are able to drive engagement with larger audiences in the real-world and increase their brand presence.  Digital OOH promotes rich interactive consumer experiences on the spot – including information sharing, planning and more, and promises better inventory utilization by functioning both as a mass-media and as addressable media in a seamless manner.

With the increased usage of connected devices and wholesale digitization of media channels, we expect adoption of programmatic advertising practices across most channels and formats with improved media effectiveness measurement across both online and offline channels in an integrated manner.  Omni-channel marketing will become standard practice rather than being aspirational.

Edge computing technology adoption will grow

The average person uses approximately 1.72GB of data each month – a figure set to increase to 5.07GB by 2021. Streaming, social media, live content are the main drivers of this data usage and is to reach over 67 billion GB in 2021, a rise of 720 percent in only five years.  This data needs to be moved between cloud servers and devices on the edge to facilitate various kinds of services. The figure below shows the kind of data that gets ferried back and forth.

With the increased number of data devices, the data processing takes place in the cloud which has significant effects on the time and speed, which means data has to be connected to the cloud and back on the device. The latency could be critical for certain sectors such as health and disaster management.

Edge computing as a paradigm for designing the next generation of systems aims to address a few issues outlined above – a) move compute where the data is – especially consumer data – on the mobile, b) This minimizes privacy infractions, and c) minimizes network bandwidth usage – by reducing data pushes to the server. Edge devices are also quite powerful and networks of such devices can be used to solve larger problems. This upcoming year will see further real-world applications of federated learning (enabling ML on the edge), and other systems improvements to realize this vision.

In summary, privacy and data security remain the watchword for the industry and it will be interesting to see how businesses cope with the upcoming regulations across the globe.