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The next 20 years of emerging tech is vast, this landscape provides you with a visualisation of what to expect in the future.

Led by Dr Hazel Bradshaw, Emerging Tech Lead - Service Innovation Lab


Emerging technologies are set to disrupt a number of government processes and services, alongside citizens engagement with government and the services they offer. The EmTech 20-year landscape was intended to be a piece of ongoing research intended to help people working in government understand the types, forms, connections and impacts of these different technologies and the challenges and opportunities they pose.

Creating and offering people this constantly evolving landscape equips them with a better understanding of how emerging technologies might impact their work, and to use this to inform their decision-making.

The diagram displays a time scale of “current”, “0 to 5 years”, “5 to 10 years” and “10 to 20 years” on the vertical axis and 13 categories of emerging technology along the horizontal access. The 13 categories of emerging technology are: cloud computing, big data/analytics, encryption/privacy, internet of things, spatial computing, artificial intelligence tools, artificial intelligence applications, robotics/production, autonomous agents, symbiotic application, bio-tech and quantum computing. Categories are laid out from left to right, with cloud computing being furthest left, and quantum computing being furthest right. The cards underneath each category display the specific technology which falls under the category listed in one of the 13 columns.

It is worth noting this landscape projects details up to the use and release of Quantum Computing, as the possibilities of this technology being ubiquitously used will more than likely change the entire landscape.

20 Year Emerging Technology Landscape

How the Landscape was constructed

The selected technologies and their positioning on the landscape was informed by research, and shaped by consultation with other emerging tech leaders. It was constructed by applying a governmental lens which aimed to enable a better digital public service. These sources include:

Technology to focus on

With such a vast array of technology in the landscape, the Lab identified seven key areas of technology that should be given a high priority focus.

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Spatial Computing
  • Encryption
  • Internet of Things
  • Big Data
  • Robotics and Autonomous Systems
  • Quantum Computing

Opportunities for Further Work

This work has the potential to be expanded and developed. Possible future work could be:

Application of different lenses
Applying different lenses onto this landscape will most likely see the landscape change. An example of another lens would be that of digital inclusion, which would identify technology that could ensure a more equitable digital environment.

Workshops with external partners
To help broaden the technologies represented in the landscape, engaging with other government agencies and various private sector organisations to shed light on the developing trends within New Zealand.

Landscape visualisation development
The landscape could be made interactive and more interconnected. The landscape cards could be made interactive so they display definitions of the technology when clicked on.. More work could also be undertaken to develop a visualisation of the connections to show dependencies between the different technologies.

Primer per category
A primer template has been created and an example AI Primer can be found in the resources. A primer can be utilised to further explain the categories at the top of the landscape in relation to what it is, examples of it and other details listed in the template.

Further work could be done to investigate and therefore understand how disruptive the emerging technologies listed in the landscape are likely to be to the current environment. This should be visualised on the landscape itself, integrating disruption into the Primer.

Detailed description of the 20 Year Emerging Technology Landscape


The main table displays the 20-year emerging technology landscape. There are 4 rows representing periods of time, from top to bottom:

  • Current
  • 0 to 5 years from now
  • 5 to 10 years from now
  • 10 to 20 years from now

Each row illustrates how far in the future the technology is expected to become commonly used. There are 13 columns labelled with categories of emergent technology, from left to right:

  • Cloud Computing
  • Big Data/Analytics
  • Encryption/Privacy
  • Internet of Things
  • Spatial Computing
  • Artificial Intelligence Tools
  • Artificial Intelligence Applications
  • Robotics, Production
  • Autonomous Agents
  • Symbiotic Application
  • Bio-Tech
  • Quantum Computing

Columns for technology categories which are in common use now are on the left. As you read each column from left to right, the technology categories are increasingly experimental, still in research and development, or limited to academic or private institutions. 53 technologies are represented in the diagram, each one placed in its respective column (for its category) and row (for when it will be in use, for example in 10 to 20 years).


This section describes the categories of emergent technology, the technology itself, and where they fit in the timeline.

Technologies with Cloud Computing
Storage (AWS, AZURE, etc) - Current
Applications as a Service - Current

Technologies with Big Data
Big data / data analytics
Hadoop Ecosystem, Spark, R - Now
Data Lakes, NoSQL Databases - Now
Big Data Governance Solutions - 0 to 5 years

Technologies with Encryption/Privacy
Digital Ledgers - Current
Blockchain - Current
Distributed Ledgers - Current
Homomorphic encryption - 0 to 5 years
Wearable two-factor authentication - 0 to 5 years

Technologies with Internet of Things
Digital Twins - 0 to 5 years

Technologies with Spatial Computing
Augmented Reality - Current
Virtual Reality - Current / 0 to 5 years
Mixed Reality - 0 to 5 years

Technologies with Artificial Intelligence Tools
Facial Recognition - Current
Machine Learning - Current
Cognitive Computing - Current / 0 to 5 years
Computer Vision - 0 to 5 years
Generative Adversarial Networks - 0 to 5 years
Natural Language Processing - 0 to 5 years

Technologies with Artificial Intelligence Applications
Identification(Facial Recognition, fingerprints, voice, gait) - Current
Process analysis/optimisation - Current
Monitoring, Surveillance - Current
Deep Fakes - 0 to 5 years
Natural Language Generation - 0 to 5 years
Digital/Intelligence Systems - 0 to 5 years
Conversational Interfaces - 0 to 5 years
Digital Twins - 5 to 10 years

Technologies with Robotics
Robotic Process Automation - 0 to 5 years
Advanced Robotics - 5 to 10 years

Technologies with Production
3D Printing - 0 to 5 years
4D Printing - 0 to 5 years
Bio Manufacturing - 0 to 5 years/ 5 to 10 years
Self Assembling Components - 5 to 10 years

Technologies with Autonomous Agents
Vehicles - 0 to 5 years
Drones - 0 to 5 years
Weapons - 0 to 5 years / 5 to 10 years

Technologies with Symbiotic Applications
CoBot Robots - Current
Wearables - Current / 0 to 5 years
Brain Computer Interfaces - 0 to 5 years
Smart Prosthetics - 0 to 5 years
Human Machine Convergence - 5- 10 years/ 10 to 20 years

Technologies with Bio Tech
Genetics - Current
Proteomics - Current
Nano Bio-tech - 0 to 5 years
Bio Computing - 5 to 10 years

Technologies with Quantum Computing
Artificial Intelligence - 0 to 5 years
Financial Modelling - 0 to 5 years / 5 to 10 years
Cryptography - 5 to 10 years
Weather Forecasting - 5 to 10 years
Molecular Modelling - 5 to 10 years
Particle Physics - 10 to 20 years