2018 was quite a year for innovation in technology and this year looks set to push changes to the edge. The groundwork has been laid for a digital network that will allow artificial intelligence to drive everything we do. A new digital reality is being created in which real and virtual worlds are being brought together. This new digital reality in which we will live and work will connect people, things and processes in new and exciting ways. What’s more, the convergence of digital technologies is powering opportunities for continuous innovation. For businesses and entrepreneurs, the trend for change can enable them to create cutting-edge technology and implement it to leap ahead of competitors. To help anticipate upcoming trends and budget accordingly, Gartner, the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company, has released a list of the top strategic technology trends that it predicts will lead the way in 2019. We’ve summarised these trends to give you an insight into how they could meet your business needs and change the way in which you live in 2019.
Investment in autonomous things has been growing for several years now, especially where vehicles are concerned, but Gartner anticipates this will really spike this year. Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) will drive new capabilities in hardware and software systems. We are likely to see more autonomous vehicles on the roads, drones in the air and even autonomous shipping vessels. However, as well as automating physical objects, we will see the growth in the automation of processes and human actions. Intelligent agents will be working on our behalf and taking on time-consuming tasks. Almost every application, service and connected object will incorporate some level of AI to power automation.
Augmented analytics are set to go mainstream in 2019 as part of business process management and process mining. Rather than expanding analytics, this is more about augmenting people with AI systems. Natural language interfaces analytics will be used to create business insights and intelligence. Natural language generation (NLG) will revolutionize the way in which we gain more accurate insights from data. This will allow businesses to surface significant findings in less time and will make data science more accessible to more people. Gartner talks of the development of citizen data scientists and predicts that by 2020 they will grow in numbers five times faster than professional data scientists. Although there is no doubt that AI will augment big data analytics the question will lie more around the distribution of tasks.
AI-driven development is all about how tools and technologies can embed AI into applications. This will include the tools used to build AI-powered solutions, enabling professional developers as well as data scientists to integrate AI capabilities. The development process will be further accelerated by the likes of automated testing and automated code generation. Developers will be able to work independently of data scientists using predefined models, and platforms. Virtual software developers will become more mainstream. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2022, at least 40% of new application projects will have AI co-developers on their team.
A digital twin is a digital representation of a real-world thing, a replica of a physical asset, that is connected to its real-world counterpart. Digital twins are living simulation models that update and change alongside their physical equivalents. Again, this one has been around for a while and in a world full of a growing number of sensors is a must. Digital twins can allow us to describe, explain, simulate and predict behaviour. How they will differ in 2019, however, is that they will use emerging technologies to respond in real time and use advanced big data analytics and AI to drive potential business opportunities. Digital twins of whole organizations are being produced to drive improved process efficiencies. Digital twins will see us being able to monitor real-world assets and drive savings in maintenance and repair.
The concept behind edge computing is that information collection, processing and delivery take place closer to sources of information. This takes computing beyond centralized facilities and exploits microservices architectures. Edge devices will be empowered with AI chips, greater compute capabilities and 5G technologies. With lumps of application functionality being sent to edge devices, computing power has the potential to expand indefinitely.
How humans interact with the digital world is set to go beyond virtual and augmented reality with additional sensory features. The next generation of virtual reality will be able to sense shapes, track user’s position and allow them to fully view and interact with their world. Gartner predicts that by 2022, 70% of businesses will be experimenting with immersive technologies. Immersive experiences are set to become much more commonplace in 2019 with the increase in virtual personal assistants, chatbots and customer service agents. Meanwhile, in the manufacturing industry, remote assistance will be used more and more to keep businesses running.
Blockchain is a shared ledger based upon an algorithmic trust model that allows companies to trace transactions and work with untrusted parties. The use of blockchain reduces business and technology friction as it is independent of additional applications. Last year was a bad year for blockchain, but 2019 is predicted to see new applications and potentially new companies on the horizon. As AI crosses more into the mainstream, it is on the edge of being able to solve real problems for people. Working with data in its encrypted state, AI will help create blockchain-inspired solutions to lower costs, reduce transaction times and improve cash flow. Although at the time of writing blockchain models can be difficult to scale, CIOs should evaluate the technology and its business value even if they don’t adopt it just yet.
Again, this one is nothing new but will become more and more prominent in 2019. Smart spaces are environments created to bring technology together to support humans. The environments can by physical or digital, but both facilitate interactions and connect people and systems seamlessly. Smart spaces range from digital workspaces to connected factories and even whole smart cities. As technology becomes further integrated into our lives this year, smart spaces will be popping up much more frequently.
The rise of AI and IoT means that consumers are sharing more and increasing types of data within the digital space. Meanwhile, businesses have the opportunity to use AI to track and analyze all sorts of consumer behaviour. There are lots of questions in the air that will come to the fore this year. Are consumers willing to share their data in order to have the best possible experiences? Organizations need to pay attention to what consumers want as they become increasingly aware of the value of their information. The big question for businesses isn’t whether they are compliant, it’s whether they are doing the right thing.
Innovation in the tech industry moves at a rapid pace, and 2019 seems set to be no different. We are going to become increasingly connected to each other and the things that surround us, which offers exciting opportunities for businesses and hopefully some great experiences for consumers. No doubt tech trends that aren’t on this list will come to the forefront, but these anticipated trends are a great place to start to get your business moving in the right direction.