Tech Trends That WON’T Happen in 2024: Enterprise 5G, Mainstream Foldables, Network APIs and More

As 2024 kicks off, predictions abound on the technology innovations expected in the year ahead. However, several highly anticipated advancements, including Enterprise 5G, mainstream foldable devices, network APIs, and robotaxis, will NOT happen in 2024, states global technology intelligence firm ABI Research.

In its new whitepaper, 82 Technology Trends That Will—and Will Not—Shape 2024, ABI Research analysts identify 45 trends that will shape the technology market and 37 others that, although attracting vast amounts of speculation and commentary, are less likely to move the needle over the next twelve months.

“When we look at the backdrop for 2024, we are still seeing many of the 2023 trends impacting fortunes,” says Stuart Carlaw, Chief Research Officer at ABI Research. “High inflation, cost pressures, and reduced demand continue. Major markets like the US, Germany, and China face extended manufacturing recessions. Monetary policy's focus on curbing inflation hampers tech funding. Yet, there are signs of hope: inflation is dropping, central bank policies might change, and job markets recover. The global political landscape is the one outlier not on the trajectory to positive movement. That withstanding, 2024 could be a watershed year as we collectively turn a corner. It won’t be smooth, and it won’t be linear, but 2024 holds the promise of technology providing the acceleration engine to move us out of the past few years in the doldrums.”

What won’t happen in 2024?

Enterprise 5G
The year 2023 already illustrated a trend that will likely follow: 5G will fail to attract enterprise interest, again. In deciding about investments in connectivity technologies, enterprises are much more interested in use cases and outcomes than in the name of the connectivity technology—especially because the implementing enterprises are not connectivity technology experts.

Mainstream Foldable Devices Despite the best efforts of many in the industry over the past few years to make the user experience of foldable devices more acceptable—including thinner and lighter designs, better hinges, crease-free displays, fold and flip form factors, and larger cover screens—they have yet to convince consumers and capture their imaginations fully. This is not for lack of trying, as the roster of competitor foldable devices is impressive, including flip and fold variants.

Network APIs Network APIs, driven by GSMA's Open Gateway and CAMARA initiatives, will not likely create significant business opportunity, suffering the very same fate as GSMA’s OneAPI project in 2012, which was abandoned soon after it was launched. It is true that the telco operators desperately need enterprise revenue and use cases in 2024, but the same problems that faced network Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) a decade ago remain today: application developers are already addressing their needs through either aggregators or hyperscalers. Releasing fancy new network API initiatives will not automatically attract developer attention.

Generative AI at the Edge Most enterprises will be looking to deploy generative AI through the cloud, with only a handful having the capability and resources to deploy generative AI at the enterprise edge level. The challenge with running generative AI at the enterprise edge will be in terms of selecting a good use case, deploying the correct generative AI framework/model, and balancing Return on Investment (ROI) expectations. The potential of enterprise generative AI is huge, but 2024 will not be the year to see widespread deployments of generative AI at the edge.

Robotaxis Robotaxi operations will not gain traction in 2024. The complexity of unsupervised autonomous driving in the real world is becoming increasingly apparent, particularly in interactions with more vulnerable road users. The ongoing reaction and investigation into the causes of the recent Cruise accident and Cruise’s actions following this accident is likely to bring a greater degree of scrutiny to robotaxi deployments and service expansion in 2024, representing a significant headwind for unsupervised autonomous driving this year.

“ABI Research is privileged to sit in a powerful position between the tech innovator communities and those companies looking to utilize technology in their operations. Our goal is to provide the key decision tools businesses need to act with speed, appropriateness, and efficiency. 2024 will be challenging, but it also holds great promise and opportunity,” Carlaw concludes.

For more trends that won’t happen in 2024 and the 45 trends that will, download the whitepaper, 82 Technology Trends That Will—and Will Not—Shape 2024.

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