2018 was an eventful year for the world of technological innovations, with AI making practical advances, yet still not being quite ready to reliably apply to the concept of autonomous vehicles. We also saw highly promising tech being launched, albeit not yet on a commercial scale – among the notable ones – crypto anchors, earprints, and AI microscopes.
Technology predictions are often all over the board with some of them sounding rather futuristic while others – downright ludicrous. We weed the latter out in this article, as we examine the trends worth exploring and pursuing in 2019.
In addition to mainstream smartphones, smartwatches, and smart glasses in 2019 and beyond we will see the concept of ‘connected’ and ‘smart’ being applied to much more than IoT devices. Our homes, offices, buildings, retail stores, banks, train stations, airports, and factories are all getting connected, with built-in sensors providing us with insights and intelligence at every minute of the day. Furthermore, the hardware and software required to enable this trend have become more commercially viable, inferring that we will only see smart systems deeper permeating the fabric of our lives, going forward.
Building upon the previous trend of ubiquitous and omnipresent connectivity, the next step in the process of breathing life into devices is making them as independent as possible. In addition to receiving data through environment-sensing devices, robotic tech needs to be powered by AI to process and act upon that data. From autonomous vehicles and factory robots to surgery arms and robotic firefighters, machinery is becoming more connected, smarter and more autonomous. While we are yet to see widespread machine intelligence in action, this is often a function of cost, maintenance complexity, or availability rather than a willingness to adopt. As AI systems continuously improve, 5G connectivity gradually goes mainstream, and the cost of adoption decreases, we can expect to see this technology applied to anything from manufacturing and industry to public transport, banking, retail, and customer service.
AI impacting software development
In line with the first two trends we’ve just discussed, it has become clear that most software development going forward will involve AI, in the shape of machine learning, deep learning, and other types of predictive algorithms. While traditional development has largely relied on binary, ‘if-then’ type of logic, through cognitive computing more machines will be equipped to make complex decisions on their own – a trend we are likely to experience well beyond 2019.
Platforms as services
As reliably accessing connected, autonomous platforms becomes paramount, we are naturally going to experience a surge in the offerings of platforms as services. Like the shifts the software and networking industries already went through (SaaS, cloud services), the availability of ecosystems that enable smart, autonomous systems, will be made largely through service-based offerings that include hardware, software, and integration components on top of cloud services and support.
Cyberprivacy ever more important
As we embark on our new reality of omnipotent connectivity and ever-present intelligence, maintaining privacy and protecting data will continue to be of paramount importance next year. Furthermore, this will extend beyond personal privacy, to enterprise and corporate data, including proprietary manufacturing, trade, and IT intelligence. In a world where nearly everything can be replicated at ever decreasing manufacturing costs, protecting organizational assets is an investment worth planning for.
What else are we to look forward to?
In addition to the top 5 2019 trends identified here, Gartner’s predictions also touch on edge computing, quantum computing, and augmented analytics – areas we will certainly see developing in the next decade and beyond.
Unsure of which trends you should heed, and which ones are less likely to have a lasting impact on your business? Revisiting your long-term strategy and plans can help you more easily identify the technologies that can help you achieve them vs. the nice-to-have’s, which are less likely to generate significant ROI.