Innovation in the tech industry moves at breakneck pace. As technology evolves, it enables even faster change and progress; the resulting wider adoption and usage causes further acceleration of the rate of change, until eventually it becomes exponential. When mobile phones were first introduced, they took 12 years to reach 50 million users; the internet took just seven years to get to the same point. Once digital technologies emerged the rate is accelerated dramatically; Facebook reached 50 million users in 4 years; WeChat, one year and Pokemon GO, nineteen days.
Disruptive technologies are predicted to accelerate and transform many industries at a rapid pace throughout 2019. These technology trends will shape the world and the future and will present opportunities for business owners and investors alike.
A decade ago, many companies could be competitive by only adopting established technologies. In 2019, due to digitalisation companies need to embrace disruptive technology at a much earlier stage in order to achieve significant competitive advantage. Persistent change and disruption are now the norm, rather than the exception, in both business and society. The lightning speed of change, driven by technology, is taking us from the digital age to a new reality. Over the last decade digital business models have transformed how people shop, work, learn and communicate. Today, any business that has not become digital risks being left further behind as the post-digital era offers tremendous opportunities for new technologies to build upon digital foundations already in place and become critical to future growth.
From our aggregation of a wide selection of tech predictions for the year ahead, a general consensus forms that there will not be one single trending technology in 2019 but a number of technologies that will become essential to businesses and consumers alike. The technologies identified to be the most disruptive are Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Virtual Reality and Quantum Computing.
Whilst the future of cryptocurrencies remain debatable, many big name companies are diving deep in the technology that underpins them – blockchain. Juniper Research has concluded that six in ten large-market cap companies are mulling over using blockchain. From Walmart and Daimler to IBM and Overstock – all these companies are betting big on what is seen as one of the most disruptive technologies of the next decade.
Tech Predictions for 2019 by Inc.com states that this year will see a wide adoption of blockchain technology. This will be driven by the emergence of mature stablecoin players such as TrueUSD (backed by IBM and others), USD coin (backed by Goldman Sachs and IDG) and DAI stable coin. These non-volatile digital assets will lead to the transformation of the current highly volatile cryptocurrency market to a digital market place with value tethered to the established economy and financial markets. This will encourage more and more businesses to incorporate blockchain solutions to take advantage of the efficiencies, security and scalability it offers. The use of innovative new algorithms, coupled with computing power advances, will speed up the processing time of blockchain transactions from seconds to milliseconds or microseconds in the next few years, enabling high-velocity trading across blockchains. Additionally, Ethereum is implementing architectural changes to address previous scalability issues in preparation for widespread adoption. As a result blockchain could transform the way we handle finance, real estate, Internet of Things (IoT), the supply chain of most industries and much more. Many governments are rushing to incorporate it in every sense they can as they know the high cost of falling behind on this.
In Technology Trends in 2019 by Dimension Data the first observation is that easy access to these new technologies will be key. Cloud providers now offer infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and obviously software-as-a-service (SaaS) all of which provide a low cost entry point for businesses to the latest game-changing technologies without having to build their own algorithms and platforms. This also facilitates the use of a combination of these technologies further advancing usage and technological developments.
For example ChatBots have widely become used for online customer service. The introduction of AI algorithms means the latest bots can assess the tone, phrases and pitch of the customer allowing answers appropriate to the conversation.
The second major prediction by Dimension Data is that identity will emerge as the game changer for blockchain adoption. They report that there has been a massive amount of investment in blockchain in 2018 and blockchain-based platforms are starting to dominate in the financial and capital markets. This is predicted to extend to additional settlement areas such as equity trading and also identity management. With the majority of major cybersecurity incidents involving breaches of personal identity information, the high levels of encryption and the disperse nature of data used in blockchains could dramatically change the general level of cybersecurity. This in turn could allow individuals to finally truly own and control their online identity.
SimpliLearn has identified what they feel will be the top eight technology trends for 2019:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) – computer systems built to mimic human intelligence and perform tasks such as recognition of images, speech patterns and decision making. AI can complete these tasks faster and more accurately than humans. AI is already widely used for navigation apps, streaming services, smartphone personal assistants and smart home devices to name a few consumer uses. Businesses AI uses include train scheduling, assessment of business risk, maintenance prediction and improving energy efficiency. In 2019 there will be greater convergence of artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning in business applications.
- Machine Learning – a subset of AI where computers learn by discovering patterns and insights from data. Machine learning applications are used by businesses for data analytics, data mining and pattern recognition. For consumers it drives web search results, real-time ads and network intrusion detection.
- Blockchain –offers total security as it is data than can only be added to, not deleted or changed. As a permanent record, blockchain negates the need for a trusted third party to oversee or validate transactions. Blockchain is seen as one of the most disruptive technologies over the next decade due to its possible introduction across all record keeping and transactions, lowering costs whilst increasing transparency and efficiency. The most innovative corporations will start using blockchain to improve collaboration and blockchain will be present in many industries at the core of business innovation.
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA) – the use of software to automate business processes. It is estimated that up to 45% of activities we do can be automated. McKinsey estimates that less than 5% of occupations can be fully automated but about 60% can benefit from automation freeing up time for more specialised and value added tasks.
- Internet of Things (IoT) – The number of IoT devices reached 8.4 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach 30 billion devices by 2020. Consumer uses include remote locking of doors, preheating ovens, tracking fitness through Fitbits and hailing taxis through Uber or Lyft. The IoT can enable better safety, efficiency and decision making for businesses to improve customer service and care.
- Edge Computing – is a progression form the wide adoption of cloud computing over the last few years. Whilst cloud computing offers a centralised computing engine at the end of a wire, edge computing applies smart computing capabilities to the smart devices increasing efficiencies. Edge computing is of particular uses where there is no connectivity but also increases the speed of response without the need to be relayed down the wire to a centralised cloud which will then respond. As a result of the dramatic growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the proliferation of data, businesses have recognised the shortcomings of cloud computing in some situations and edge computing has stepped into the breach.
- Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) – VR immerses the user in an artificially created environment whilst AR enhances the users real environment. Both have huge potential in training, entertainment, education, marketing and even rehabilitation after injury. The major players include Google, Samsung and Oculus but many smaller players have emerged many offering Mixed Reality (MR) combining both VR and AR.
- Cybersecurity – whilst not new, Cybersecurity is expected to evolve significantly over the next few years as new technology including AI and blockchain are utilised to enhance security through authentication of both users and hardware, data loss prevention and deep learning.
Newblare goes the full hog and has identified 5 Technology Trends you must Invest in 2019 for Maximum Return.
- Top of the list is Blockchain technology stating it is quite evident this is one of the most promising technology trends and is here to stay as well as grow in the near future. As always, it is essential investors look for companies that have identified specific applications of this technology to develop a product that is easy to use and low cost to maximise market acceptance and demand. Ideally the solution will either reduce costs or increase revenues, preferably both.
- The second trend to back is Artificial Intelligence in particular organisations that encompass cutting edge systems that learn, understand, adapt, predict as well as operate on an autonomous basis are the ones that investors need to keep an eye on.
- 3D printing technology as 3D printing companies are recording higher sales, launching fresh products and also innovating consistently. Some industry reports predict the 3D printing market will grow to $35.4 billion by 2020.
- Healthtech is next especially those designing robot based microsurgery techniques and solutions.
- Last but not least is Augmented and Virtual Reality. Microsoft and Magic Leap are betting big on these technologies in their bid to offer businesses and users a unique blend of reality based concepts known as Mixed Reality (MR). MR incorporates key innovation from AR and VR which is why investors find it more attractive. Magic Leap has attracted investment from Alibaba, Temasek, Google and JP Morgan. Gartner has predicted that MR, VR and AR technologies will be embraced by 20% of large enterprises by the end of 2019.
One thing for sure, this is an exciting time for technology with greater advances predicted over the next ten years than what we have seen in the last decade. Quite remarkable when you consider how smart phones, social media and connectivity have changed the way we work, communicate, spend time and generally live our lives over the last ten years.
With the new waves of technologies sitting on top of existing tech, the mind boggles at the increased capabilities and speed of development as the new technologies combine to generate exponential change. It is an even more exciting time to be backing these new technologies and identifying investment opportunities. Seasoned tech investors know that sensational returns are possible from trail-blazing companies that successfully ride the upcoming technology wave.
Reuters Institute and University of Oxford “Digital News Project – Journalism, Media and Technology Trends and Predictions 2019”
G.P Bullhound “2019 Technology Predictions Trends and Innovations Shaping the Global Tech Sector”
Dimension Data “Technology futures in 2019 and beyond”
Quora “What will be the trending technology in 2019?”
SimpliLearn “8 Top Technology Trends for 2019 and the Jobs They’ll Create”
Inc.com “31 Tech Predictions for 2019”
Interesting Engineering “5 Technology Trends to Watch in 2019”
Newblare “5 Technology Trends you must Invest in 2019 for Maximum Return”
Electronic Design “5 Tech Predictions for 2019; Entering the Decade of Disruption”
Forbes Technology Panel “Top Tech Trends in 2019; 11 Experts Detail What You Need to Watch”
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