4 Future Trends That Represent Massive Opportunity Trends like 5G, autonomous vehicles and ghost kitchens are a natural evolution in our habits as consumers and sellers.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Staying on top of trends is how entrepreneurs succeed. I love reading and researching data to understand what's to come. Sure, no one can predict the future — yet, but excited for the time when AI will do that for us — but trends are our best bet when it comes to projecting where business is heading.
Not many years ago, we were predicting the rise of something called a smartphone and becoming comfortable with the idea of wide-scale digital subscription services with monthly fees and cars that drive themselves. Now the iPhone and Netflix are part of our everyday lives. Let's take a look at four new trends that represent massive opportunity.
1. Ghost kitchens are the food of the future
Accentuated by Covid, ghost kitchens, also known as delivery-only restaurants, are where food service is headed. The concept is popping up everywhere, from Barcelona to New York City. Uber-popular, fast-casual chain Chipotle just rolled out its first ghost kitchen. Speaking of Uber, ex-Uber CEO Travis Kalanick just raised $130 million for his ghost kitchen concept, according to The Wall Street Journal. If this doesn't foreshadow that ghost kitchens are the future, what will?
But, can this bare-bones trend turn into big dollars? Research firm Eurometer has estimated that ghost kitchens could be a $1 trillion business by 2030. These kinds of restaurants offer a streamlining effect like never before — with no waiters or flashy interiors, the inherently cut costs ultimately give the customer the same food at cheaper prices. This space is still relatively new and represents lots of opportunities to focus on hyperlocal regions.
2. Car companies are scrambling to offer more autonomous and electric vehicle options
More than ever, consumers are making ethical purchases and looking to reduce their carbon footprint. The intersection of those two ideas is electric and autonomous vehicles.
Tesla's Cybertruck, a futuristic-style truck with a stainless-steel exoskeleton and reported sports-car level performance is a prime example of why going electric and autonomous is where the car industry is headed. The fact that a truck can offer both a 2.9 second 0-60 mph acceleration and 500 miles of range shows its potential. After all, the Ford F-150 certainly can't offer those numbers.
The rest of the car world sees the opportunity as well. Even the notorious gas-guzzling Hummer is being reintroduced as an electric vehicle by GMC. If that's not a sign of the future, what is?
3. Cloud storage overtaking traditional disk-based storage
Stacked hard drives and overloaded computers are a thing of the past. Popular services like OneDrive and Dropbox offer cloud storage services for consumers across the globe. One service, pCloud, is heading the trend to take things a step further. Touting themselves as an external hard drive, after installing pCloud on your computer, everything stays totally in the cloud, unlike OneDrive or Dropbox. Plus, you can now choose the data region, where your files and personal data are stored either in the United States or the European Union. This is great for privacy protection and speed of data delivery.
And, in a security-challenged world, where seeing 2.2 billion accounts breached is commonplace (as reported by CPO Magazine), pCloud offers pCloud Crypto, a service that encrypts user content along with client-side encryption — essentially meaning that the users' files are encrypted on their device before they are ever transferred to the pCloud servers. With pCloud Crypto, not even pCloud's administrators can view files. The future is secure, and pCloud is leading the charge while making room for massive opportunity in the space.
4. 5G makes the widely unavailable available
The incredible speed that 5G offers introduces a whole new ball game for people and businesses that rely on digital communication — so, essentially everyone. How about this for some future Sci-fi forecasting? Seadronix is harnessing 5G power to develop autonomous ships. The company is using AI to enable vessels to travel unmanned using cameras and sensors. 5G enables the devices to work together in real-time to avoid obstacles and make necessary adjustments to avoid crashing.
Really, 5G is about making what's already semi-available through 4G and WiFi widely accessible and easy to integrate through blazing-fast speeds. While we've heard more about 5G than seen results so far, when 5G does ramp-up, expect augmented reality to become the norm, movies to be downloaded in seconds, and latency to drop to near zero. See ya later, buffering and hello an exponential amount of opportunities, thanks to the fastest computing power we've ever seen.
Time marches on, whether we like it or not. Trends like 5G, autonomous vehicles and ghost kitchens are a natural evolution in our habits as consumers and sellers. Who knows, in 10 years, maybe we'll be predicting 6G and flying humans.