Our experts predict what's in store for 2020

Our experts predict what's in store for 2020

From flying taxis and augmented reality sunglasses to micro productivity apps and peer to peer electricity sharing, RMIT experts reveal trends coming our way in 2020.

Along with Dallas and Los Angeles, Melbourne has been named as one of the sites for Uber Air trials starting in 2020. Photo: Uber/AAP Along with Dallas and Los Angeles, Melbourne has been named as one of the sites for Uber Air trials starting in 2020. Photo: Uber/AAP

Drone technology and Uber Air trial

Dr Matthew Marino said the Uber Air test planned for next year had generated a lot of excitement.

“The Uber Air concept has been generating a buzz from both the public and industry since Melbourne was named the third city to test the aerial ride sharing scheme colloquially known as “flying taxis,” he said.

“Regulatory bodies and invested parties are actively establishing relationships with research institutions such as RMIT in the effort to make Uber Air a reality. 

He said the design of the passenger-carrying drone was looking both innovative and promising.

“Civil engineering firms are also showing significant interest and investment, with ports planned for new high-rise buildings.

“All in all, progress is underway to make the creation of the next big sector in modern aviation a reality.”

Household energy practices

Energy companies and households should be paying attention to the peer-to-peer revolution in 2020, according to Dr Andrew Glover.

“Most of us are familiar with the way online trading platforms like AirBnB and Uber have disrupted established industries in recent years,” Glover said.

“Our research shows the energy industry may be next.

He said instead of purchasing energy from an energy retailer, households may be able to buy and sell energy with other households using an online platform.

“More and more households are installing solar panels and batteries, meaning that they are increasingly producing and storing energy, not just using it, Glover said.

“Households with excess energy will be able to sell it to others in their area, potentially at cheaper rates than they’d get from a traditional energy company.”

Augmented reality glasses are a trend to look out for Augmented reality glasses are a trend to look out for

Social media and micro-productivity trends

Dr John Lenarcic noted digital sunglasses looked to be on the comeback in 2020.

“Amazon has their Alexa-enabled Echo frames and Bose their audio sunglasses with augmented reality capabilities,” Lenarcic said.

“With the Echo, a wearer will be able to talk to their spectacles and ask Alexa questions, while with the Bose, the sunglasses will provide the user with a personal listening experience without the need for ear buds or headphones, providing a soundtrack to their daily lives.

“Facebook has partnered with Ray Ban to design augmented reality glasses as well while Google and Microsoft are also working on more design-conscious eye wear that will exploit augmented reality and virtual reality technologies.”

Lenarcic said micro productivity apps were another new development to watch.

“This is a concept that Microsoft Research has been working on and involves systems that facilitate micro-tasks by getting big tasks done with lots of little ones such as writing a novel in bits and pieces while on the daily commute.

Transport, planning and infrastructure

Associate Professor Andrew Butt said rapid population growth meant transport would remain a critical issue for Melbourne and Victoria next year.

“It is likely to be another year where increasing congestion and ‘construction blitzes’ will shape the experience of commuting in cities and regional areas.

“With major projects like the Westgate Tunnel, Melbourne Metro and North East link in planning or construction, scope for solutions to some of these issues are in train.”

However, by the time these three projects are complete, we anticipate almost one-million more Melburnians, almost the size of Adelaide, will be added to Melbourne within a decade, he said.

Consumer and marketing trends

The new decade would bring a range of incremental changes for marketers forced to adapt to a post-digital lifestyle, Assoc Professor Con Stavros said.

He said this incremental change would be driven by 'Generation Now', a group of consumers who in the post-millennial environment were completely reshaping the brand and product experience.

“Consumers demand instant gratification, and they are increasingly brand promiscuous, consistently connected by an Internet of Things and expect brands to show social leadership, particularly when it comes to environmentalism.

 He also said it would be a challenging year for retailers. 

“Expect to see an endless cycle of sales by brands, particularly retailers, who have painted themselves into a corner by overusing sales promotions, making them an ineffective marketing weapon."


Hear from local and international leaders as they share their insights on emerging and current trends and potential solutions to address the challenges faced by our society. Find out more at Engaging for Impact 2020 (4-6 February, RMIT).


Story: Diana Robertson


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