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Top 20 Transformational Technologies

Highlights from our 2020 annual predictions report

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Which technologies will you be following in 2020?

Each year we ask our analysts, "what technologies will you be following this year that have the greatest potential to transform the world over the next decade?" We also investigate this question using our proprietary data science platform: the Lux Intelligence Engine.

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Technologies by Industry

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The Top 4 Agrifood Technologies

Of particular relevance to the agrifood and health ecosystem, point-of-use sensing and omics made the list, driven by keen innovation and investment interest from across agriculture, food, and health.

The increasing ubiquity of sensors and the expectation of data to drive decision making underlie this significant momentum.

Top Agrifood Technologies
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5G, ranked #1 on the list, is a platform technology that offers several benefits such as low latency and multiple connections.

NLP, ranked #10 on the list, was first used in 1954 in an attempt to translate Russian sentences into English. Now, driven by recent innovations such as deep learning, it is experiencing a resurgence.

Blockchain and quantum computing, ranked #13 and #15 respectively, are truly disruptive technologies that hold a lot of promise.

Top Digital Technologies
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The top 4 energy technologies

These technologies are all compelling, individually. Collectively, they play critical and cross-cutting roles in the energy sector. 

Automotive companies have been quick to invest in solid-state batteries, which could underpin the future of safe and longer-range electric vehicles.

Hydrogen is back – just missing the top ten. The dream of a hydrogen economy has remained elusive, but the energy transition is driving innovations for industrial uses.

Top Energy Technologies
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Advanced plastic recycling (#3 on the list) has generated a huge surge in innovation interest, as well as interest from our clients, in response to regulation and consumer concerns about single-plastics and plastic waste.

In fact, we have a new report coming out soon with a detailed cost assessment of plastic recycling technologies. Send us an email at if you're interested in learning more.

Top Materials Technologies
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Despite not cracking the top list in previous years, shared mobility comes in at #2 on the list this year. A key to growth in shared mobility is a transition from providing one service (i.e. ride-hailing), to integrating many such as bikes and public transit. This shift provides a more robust array of transportation options in a city, and will encourage some to forgo car ownership in favor of mobility services.

Also, in the next decade, these services are expected to integrate autonomy, another reason commercial vehicle autonomy placed #6 on our list.

Top Mobility Technologies

three themes among the 20 for 20 technologies

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Renaissance technologies are newly relevant

Renaissance technologies in the 20 for 20 include:

  • Advanced plastic recycling
  • Commercial vehicle automation
  • Natural language processing
  • Hydrogen & fuel cells
  • Omics
  • Flow batteries

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Platform technologies’ impact is in what they enable

Platform technologies in the 20 for 20 include:

  • 5G networks
  • Shared mobility
  • Point-of-use sensing
  • 3D printing
  • Energy trading platforms
  • Last-mile delivery

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Breakthrough technologies are creation with unclear impact

Breakthrough technologies in the 20 for 20 include:

  • Solid-state batteries
  • Quantum computing
  • Battery fast charging
  • 2D materials
  • Vertical farming

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Key players driving innovation in the top 3 technologies