2020 Tech Trends: What’s Hot in Laptops, Computers, and Mobile Devices for Small and Medium Businesses

Liz Alton

A new year and a new decade rapidly approaches and businesses are thinking ahead to investing in the technologies that will power the next level of growth. Some of the investments are in emerging, splashy technologies like IoT devices, virtual reality, and more. Yet 2020 is expected to be a year where they also look closely at their infrastructure and make the upgrades needed to lay a foundation for innovation in the decade ahead. Here are five key trends that will shape laptops, computers, and mobile devices in 2020.

Mobile Devices Prepare for 5G and Wi-Fi 6

5G mobile networks have been in development for years, and 2019 saw the first inroads toward mainstream adoption. In 2020, it’s expected that as many as 2 million 5G enabled smartphones will ship worldwide, according to Statista. Adoption is expected to scale, but companies will begin examining their fleet of smartphones and mobile devices.

Whether they’re considering the convenience of 5G and Wi-Fi 6 enabled smartphones or larger form-factor solutions that are always-on via cellular capabilities, 2020 marks an inflection point. Faster speeds will enable better experiences and higher productivity. A key trend in the year ahead will be laying a foundation to invest in the infrastructure to make that a reality.

Increased Focus on BYOD Programs

As businesses wrestle with cybersecurity challenges, bring your own device (BYOD) programs have become more challenging. Today’s workers want the flexibility and personalization of BYOD programs, but securing those devices—without potentially impacting personal use and data—has proven to be a pain point. New technologies could make it easier to embrace BYOD programs again in 2020.

CRN reports, “New capabilities in Apple’s iOS 13 should address many worker concerns around taking part in these programs, potentially leading to a renewed push for BYOD adoption. Apple’s new User Enrollment solution allows corporate workers to easily keep their personal data and business data separate on their iPhone. As a result, employees don’t have to worry about the possibility of intrusive actions being taken by their IT department—such as remote wiping of their device data or a change of their passcode. Those sorts of concerns have hampered BYOD efforts at a time when many businesses want to see more adoption, since BYOD has been shown to increase productivity and is required for using many workplace apps.” In an environment where empowering employee mobility, productivity, and positive experiences is key, the ability to foster effective BYOD programs remains a technology priority.

Integrated Devices Simplify Computing Stacks

In the evolution of technology, there’s often a drive toward simplifying, stripping down unnecessary devices, and consolidation. Increasingly, businesses are seeing employees who are working from diverse locations—remotely, at client sites, during travel, and more—and want portable, efficient technology stacks that meet their needs without limiting their mobility. As workers become less willing to port around smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other technologies, integrated devices are becoming more popular.

In 2020, convertible devices that act as both tablets and computers will help employees have access to apps, files, and connectivity on the go—without weighing them down. As the product category has matured, companies are able to choose between models that act as keyboard-enabled tablets or ones with more robust computing that offer the simplicity of a touchscreen. Mobile workstations will also get a renewed focus for workers that need to access top computing performance in the field when even greater speed and processing power is in demand. Simplified computing stacks will make it easier for employees to get what they need, while reducing the number of devices that businesses need to purchase, maintain, and secure. 

Prioritize Devices and Infrastructure Upgrades

According to the 2020 State of IT Spiceworks survey, 44% of companies plan to raise their IT budgets. They cite three key drivers for where they’ll focus spend. The authors write, “Overall, the need to upgrade outdated IT infrastructure continues to be the biggest driver, followed by escalating security concerns, and employee growth.” 64% highlighted the need to manage outdated infrastructure.

Businesses face an ongoing challenge to navigate the spectrum between investing in infrastructure and funding innovation. Yet for many, taking their operations to the next level—as well as driving higher levels of productivity, efficiency, and winning customer experiences—begins with strategically upgrading core devices. In addition, there are increasing discussions on the cost of lifecycle management on organizations, and how proactive management can reduce burdens on IT teams as well as total cost of ownership spending. Businesses can get ahead of the costs of aging devices by prioritizing that spend now.

Related: Connection’s Laptop Buying Guide

Investing in Tablets for the CX

Customer experience remains a core focus in 2020, and tablets, Surface devices, and similar technologies will help deliver better experiences. Whether you’re investing in a fleet of tablets to empower your sales associates or using tablets to enable customers to self-service search for information in a physical location, tablets are an affordable, scalable way to deliver better customer experiences. 

Businesses can take advantage of better end-point security solutions, durable builds, and a variety of sizes, computing speeds and feature sets to customize the experience. Tablets are increasingly being used as digital signage, mobile points of service, and even to enable digital document signing. By investing in a fleet of technologies that power the customer experience, companies will have the ability to increase the speed at which they update information and adopt new CX innovation.

For IT and business leaders, now’s the time to plan the investments that will help your end-users thrive in 2020 and beyond. From embracing devices that can take advantage of faster networking developments to streamlining the technology stack used by on-the-go employees, innovations in technology are making it easier for businesses to reach their goals in the year ahead. 

Liz Alton is a B2B technology and digital marketing writer and content strategist. She has worked with a variety of brands including Google, Twitter, Adobe, Oracle, and HP, and written for publications including Forbes. She is a regular contributor to Connected, Connection’s official blog.