7 tech trends we'd like to see in the 2020s

Sunil Rajguru
New Update

The world saw technological acceleration in 2020 and many areas like Cloud, Work From Home, OTT, online education etc received a fillip. Here’s hoping that tech pervades deep into other essential areas in 2021 and beyond.


Agritech: Growing up in the 1980s we were told that 80% of Indians lived in rural areas. After that rapid urbanization took place and now that’s heading towards a 50-50 type situation. While the cities can take care of themselves in terms of tech, there is a need to push it in the rural areas. While the desktop and laptop revolutions gave Indian villages a miss, not so with the smartphone.

China and India are leading the mobile revolution in terms of usage and rural areas have seen a good usage of apps like WhatsApp and the now banned TikTok. Thanks to the Jio revolution, Indian mobile broadband rates are the cheapest in the world. It is now possible for the Indian farmer to get integrated with the latest rapidly evolving technologies of the day.

The Internet of Things (IoT) can prove handy here. They are small connected economical devices which can mesh up to be a really powerful network. IoT devices embedded in things like tractors and water pumps paired with the farmers’ mobile will go a long way. The government can come out with a super agri app that can help the farmer right from sowing, tending, reaping, selling and distributing their produce. Agricultural drones are another area of interest.


As it is a new agriculture policy has come and technology can help in maximizing results for the smallest of farmers. One survey said that India has barely scratched 1% of its agritech potential and that sounds about right. In this case, literally the sky's the limit. We need a surfeit of agritech startups to kick things along big time in the 2020s.

Regional languages integration: Google's $10 billion investment in India also included MuRIL or Multilingual Representations for Indian Languages, an AI-powered model that will address the issue of interoperability of Internet services in 16 Indian languages. It will help users switch a language during a Google Search and also get support in Google Maps. The revamped Instagram Lite introduced support for Indian languages. OTT has also become popular in regional languages and global players are scrambling to give full support in regional languages.

With the Make in India campaign gaining momentum in 2020, especially after the escalation with China, the aim should be to have all the Indian apps in all the Indian languages. If major global and Indian players push for full inclusion, no Indian will be left out in all the tech revolutions that will take place in the 2020s.


The rise of Indian towns: While urbanization and megacities were the clear trends till the 2010s, the Work From Home or Work From Anywhere paradigm may balance it out. Thanks to advances in online education, students from towns can avail of the latest cutting edge education and courses. With the option to work outside the office, it now becomes attractive for people to work in smaller towns where they can have a much higher quality of life for the same package. The tech modernization of towns in India in the 2020s would go a long way in solving the high density of population in our megacities.

Smart education in rural areas: It is difficult for small children to take to online education. Tougher for rural college students without laptops, desktops and reliable broadband connections. The time is right to convert Government Schools into Smart Government Schools. It will be a one-time investment that will go a long way for India’s future.

China introduced educational reforms in the 1980s which led to great dividends in the decades to follow. It is never too late to invest in the future and India can make this the Decade of Smart Government Schools. Since smartphone and mobile broadband penetration is already high in rural areas, we can piggy bank on that and transform Indian education.


Industry 4.0 for the SMBs: Small and medium businesses suffered during the Corona crisis-lockdown-recession. Factories struggled to introduce social distancing and no touch technologies. As a result many went out of business. This problem can be sorted out by Industry 4.0, which is also a one-time investment.

Deep Tech in government: The huge data related to 1.3 billion Indian citizens can be managed with the help of Deep Tech. India has introduced Aadhaar and Contact Tracing, but much more can be done. AI skills for government employees would help. Like Digital India, XR (Extended Reality = VR+ AR + MR) can form a Digital Reality India. The government should look at XR for training, simulations and knowledge transfer for police and government officials as well as responses to things like natural disasters.

With immersive technology, citizens can participate on a large-scale with things like city planning. It can be made part of e-governance. If every government office had a VR headset, then it would be easier to view actual projects, plans and certain documents. Information from the top museums in India could be presented in the form of headsets for rural India and even tourism could be digitized.


Efficient AI chatbots across the myriad Central and State government websites would go a long way in solving time-consuming basic and widespread queries. Being on the right track, last year’s Union Budget also proposed data center parks all over India.

5G’s final arrival: Take many of the above concepts. IoTs. Better use of the mobile. WFH. Online education. Industry 4.0… They can all be enabled by 5G. 5G is not an upgrade. 5G is not a mobile broadband service. It is in fact a whole new way of living. A whole new technology. A way of powering entire Smart Cities with all its components: Smart Factories, Smart Homes, Smart Cars, Smart Utilities etc.

Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani has said that his company can implement 5G in the second half of 2021. The government should come out with 5G licenses immediately. The implementation doesn’t have to be nationwide immediately. Various players can take up various zones and that will give a big fillipp for the 2020s.