8 Outlooks for Intelligent World 2030

ByGary Maidment

November 5, 2021

Gary Maidment

Predicting the future of technology is a tricky business, often coming with a high margin of error that can result in missed opportunities, misguided investments, and a failure to anticipate and pivot to nascent tech trends.

We can even see cracks in 2010’s more recent crystal ball, with overly bullish forecasts on the prominence of tech like 3D TVs, crypto, AR, and smart glasses, all of which are yet to live up to the hype.  

On the flip side, robust forecasts can identify new opportunities for businesses, guide investment and the development of products and solutions, help shape whole industries, and – as technology should – make life better.  

In our Intelligent World 2030 report, we look at how how ICT can solve critical challenges facing society today, explore the technologies that will open up opportunities for people and business, and give our take on what needs to happen to get there. The report is the result of three years of research spanning 2,000 workshops and the contribution of more than 1,000 internal and external experts, customers, and partners. We deep dive into eight key domains of work and life, each of which results in “eight outlooks” of how each domain will shape up. On the ICT industry side, Intelligent World 2030 explores the tech and applications that will redefine telecommunications networks, computing, digital power, and the intelligent automotive industry.

We believe that life will be better as we open the door to the next decade – so, join us on the journey! In this series of blog posts, we’ll cover the eight outlooks, starting here with an introduction to some of the key tech and trends that we’ll explore in future posts.

Eight Outlooks

1. Healthcare

Some of the challenges we face:

  • A shortfall of 18 million healthcare professionals by 2030.
  • Uneven global distribution of medical resources and access to healthcare.

2030 outlook – examples:

  • Preemptive strike: From treatment to prevention, where technology can identify health issues before they progress.
  • Precision: From one-size-fits-all to bespoke solutions for personalized healthcare.
  • Home health: From hospital to home, including easy access to specialists and devices for monitoring your health.

2. Food

Some of the challenges we face:

  • Food shortages: Nearly 690 million people don’t have enough food globally.
  • Fewer workers: From 1991 to 2019, the agricultural workforce shrank by 18%.

2030 outlook – examples:

  • Space optimized: Less land will be required for farming.
  • Less toxic: The need for pesticides and fertilizer will decrease.
  • Cleaner: Reduced environmental impact, such as pollution, from farming animals for meat. Will lab-grown meat be viable by 2030?

3. Living Areas

Some of the challenges we face:

  • Lack of space: With the continued rise in the material possessions in the home, living space is at a premium – more than 10% of US households, for example, use offsite storage.
  • Mass construction: An average of 5.5 billion square meters of new construction takes place every year – the equivalent of a new Paris every week. Buildings account for 28% of global CO2 emissions.

2030 outlook – examples:

  • Clean buildings: Buildings will increasingly be designed with net-zero targets in mind.
  • Intuitive homes: Intelligent “brains” will enable connected homes that power an intuitive living space in sync with our needs.
  • Offsite storage: Tech-powered offsite storage will shift from inconvenient to desirable, freeing up space in the home.

4. Transportation

Some of the challenges we face:

  • Carbon-heavy: Transportation accounts for 26% of all global CO2 emissions.
  • Stuck in traffic: Long commutes, traffic jams, and gridlock have a major impact on quality of life. Economies also take a hit – in 2019, traffic jams cost the US US$88 billion.

2030 outlook – examples:

  • Low-carbon: Expect cleaner modes of transport, including electric vehicles (EV), plug-in hybrid EVs, and fuel cell vehicles will result in cleaner vehicles.
  • Mobile third space: Autonomous vehicles and urban air mobility will free today’s drivers with a new “third space”.
  • On-demand: Intelligent scheduling of public transport, prioritized green transport, and on-demand vehicle services are some of the applications that will change how you get from A to B.

5. Cities

Some of the challenges we face:

  • Energy-hungry: Cities account for 75% of all primary energy consumed and emit up to 60% of greenhouse gases
  • What a waste: Urban living generates 2.59 billion tons of waste per year.

2030 outlook – examples:

  • Smart gov: The convergence of blockchain, cloud computing, big data, and AI will change how local governments deliver services.
  • Think digital: Tech like nanosensors and intelligent hubs revolutionize urban management and, in turn, your city life experience.
  • Automated: Advances in real-time AI monitoring and optical detection will automate waste disposal and air and water quality.

6. Enterprises

Some of the challenges we face:

  • Demographic dilemma: 12% of the world’s population will be over 65 by 2030 and the number of under 25s will drop to 39%, shrinking the worker pool.
  • Fragile supply chains: Disruptions along the chain will emerge as the leading risk to company growth.

2030 outlook – examples:

  • Collaborative robots: Sensors and AI will make up for labor shortfalls in manufacturing.
  • Virtual manufacturing: A new level of tech-driven flexibility will completely change the manufacturing landscape and revolutionize productivity.
  • Supply chain: Moving from a supply chain to a supply networks will revolutionize how businesses operate.

7. Energy

Some of the challenges we face:

  • Climate change: One of the biggest threats in humanity’s collective future, climate change is likely to affect biodiversity, livelihoods, economies, food security, health, and overall quality of life.
  • ICT industry: The ICT sector contributes to around 2% of global carbon emissions.

2030 outlook – examples:

  • Ocean view: Offshore floating PV plants and wind turbines offer a promising new direction for clean power generation.
  • Energy Internet: Virtual power plants and the energy cloud will create a far more efficient energy ecosystem.
  • Low-carbon ICT: Low-carbon data centers and other innovations will see the ICT industry continue at the vanguard of energy-efficiency.

8. Digital Trust

Some of the challenges we face:

  • Cybercrime: Threats like ransomware and deepfakes can cost businesses millions of dollars and, according to estimates, caused US$1 trillion in losses on a global scale in 2020.
  • Trust: Issues remain with digital trust, spanning privacy, security, identity, transparency, data integrity and governance, and compliance.

2030 outlook:

  • Cyber solutions: Technologies like smart contracts, AI, and Privacy-enhanced Computing will be at the frontline of fighting cybercrime.
  • Blockchain: Is blockchain the answer to protecting enterprises?
  • Data regulations: Data governance laws will serve to increase data privacy and engender greater trust.

Each of these categories describe aspects of life that are central to how we live and work. Each also has major challenges, some of which appear insurmountable from our present vantage point. However, we predict that smart technologies can play a central role in overcoming many of them, creating a foundation for a more sustainable and inclusive world with more opportunities for individuals and enterprises.

In the next post on November 11, we will delve into the world of health and expand on how the technologies mentioned in this post will be developed and applied in the real world – and what that means for you.

In the meantime, check out our connected healthcare solutions and, of course, download the full Intelligent World 2030 report.


Disclaimer: Any views and/or opinions expressed in this post by individual authors or contributors are their personal views and/or opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views and/or opinions of Huawei Technologies.

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Gary Maidment

Digital Content Manager, Huawei Gary is a tech writer who focuses on ICT industry trends & he also runs this blog.

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