Trying to make a prediction is never easy. But if we’re talking about the technology sector, it becomes even more complicated. The broad spectrum of start-ups, large multinationals, cutting-edge technologies and business developments, coupled with a spirit of constant innovation, make this sector one of the most complex when it comes to forecasting its evolution. In spite of these conditions, we can focus on several highlights that will without a doubt have people talking this year. Here we’re going to tell you about the trends in the technology sector that will shape 2019.
Artificial intelligence, Blockchain and Machine Learning are on everybody’s mind
Within the technology sector, there are several aspects that stand out and appear to be gaining relevance in 2019, according to studies carried out by various gurus and companies in the sector. The funny thing is that most of these predictions agree on three main technologies that are going to be relevant this year: Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Machine Learning. Let’s talk a little more about each one of them.
Artificial Intelligence tends to affect areas related to cybersecurity and the management and optimisation of databases. These systems allow us to automate processes, however this technology still has a long way to go before it reaches its full potential. The increasing use of AI in business and thus in society will increase the use of data. As a result, Equinix’s list of the main technology predictions for 2019 talks about “distributed artificial intelligence architectures”, since it predicts that the new generation architectures will be freed from centralised locations.
On the other hand, the Gartner advisory company, in their annual study on technology trends, talks about the “democratisation of AI-driven developments”. This idea is born from the association between application developers and those in charge of managing data to create solutions based on Artificial Intelligence with the objective of having people create their own utilities. Chatbots are a good example of this. Who hasn’t interacted with one while browsing the internet? These AI-based applications aim to improve customer service. Currently, almost any company is able to implement a chatbot, regardless of whether it offers a physical product or service, without the need to have an army of programmers or an employee who specialises in Artificial Intelligence among its ranks.
It seems that Artificial Intelligence will affect and reshape user experience. The automation of several processes through Artificial Intelligence and robotics will increase the understanding of user needs and behaviour as well as the potential for predictive decision-making in real time. The world of retail and human resources are two of the areas in the job market that are most affected by this phenomenon. In the first, despite the fact that in-store purchases still represent a greater percentage of sales compared to the online arena, retailers will opt for chatbot systems or stores without cashiers. Not only that, but artificial intelligence allows users to identify clothes and other products from a specific brand on Instagram and then acquire them in a store. The HR area will experience a technological boost during this year as decision-making will begin to be guided by Artificial Intelligence. This automatic learning aims to make processes more impartial such as performance evaluations and diversity in the company. According to the aforementioned study by Gartner, a third of companies will incorporate artificial intelligence into their processes, which translates into an improvement in working conditions and an increase in flexibility.
Blockchain will prevail in financial institutions
Blockchain is a technology that allows intermediaries to be eliminated in economic transactions. It is based on the existence of a distributed database whose records (blocks) are encrypted so that transactions can have the necessary security and privacy. This technology is associated with the cryptocurrency market. But it can also be used to digitise transactions that are not strictly financial in nature.
According to the study by Gartner, Blockchain-based solutions will be positioned in 2019 through the automation of business processes and the digitalisation of records, in order to allow entities to improve their operational efficiency. They will also favour the exchange of information and asset tracking.
2019 will be the year in which “institutional capital will finally move towards cryptocurrencies, motivated by a growing Blockchain activity in traditional financial institutions”. This is what the investment firm GP Bullhound has said two years in a row in its annual report that makes predictions about the technology sector. Despite the ups and downs that Bitcoin has suffered and the doubts surrounding its uses, cryptocurrencies seem to be here to stay. In fact, GP Bullhound goes even further and ensures that cryptocurrencies, even Blockchain and artificial intelligence, can put an end to existing monopolies in sectors such as banking or advertising. Hence, it states that 2019 will be the year of digital banks and FinTech, which will be viewed more favourably by investors and regulations that contribute to its flourishing. Traditional banks, however, still look at them with suspicion.
Speaking of cryptocurrencies, some articles report on the creation of a possible cryptocurrency for Facebook payments, that is, a virtual currency created by decentralised Facebook for all users. Reality or fiction? But what is a reality is the fact that investments in Blockchain are growing at a rate of 73%, and that the projected expenditure for 2022 is 11.7 billion dollars.
Machine Learning and augmented analytics
Machine learning based on deep neural networks (DNN) has made great progress in recent years. According to Gartner and its annual study on technology trends, one of the fields where machine learning is taking hold is in augmented analytics. The latter uses machine learning (automatic learning) to transform the way in which analytical content is developed, consumed and shared. Human Resources, Finance, Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Purchasing and Asset Management are just some of the departments where this automated knowledge can be integrated into business applications. Thus, decision making is optimised by integrating the data into its context. In short, organisations can carry out a more in-depth analysis of data with the appropriate context. The previous step, and the challenge for many companies, is to previously give analytics a boost within the business itself.
More technology trends in 2019
As we mentioned at the beginning of this post, the technology sector changes every second and a new discovery can turn the entire sector upside down. For this reason, although we have highlighted three aspects that seem to be key for 2019, we can’t forget to mention several others that are also going strong.
♦ Iot (Internet of things) and digital twins: Una de las principales tendencias sobre soluciones del IoT es el paso de los gemelos digitales de los objetos a los flujos de producción. Pero ¿qué es un gemelo digital? Es una representación digital de un objeto real. La tendencia apunta a que su aplicación irá más encarada a los procesos productivos, utilizándolo para monitorizar plantas industriales y reproducir sus correspondientes gemelos digitales como forma preventiva. Si se produce un cambio productivo importante se podrá predecir su efecto realizándose primero la prueba en el gemelo digital, es decir, en un entorno simulado.
♦ Augmented reality: Augmented reality allows us to visualise an environment through a digital device. This technology is being developed in order to become more affordable, lightweight and comfortable, in addition to generating holographic screens of a better quality. For example, there will be a demand for video streaming in 8K and video downloads in 4K in the online leisure sector.
♦ 5G mobile phones: 4G gives way to 5G to improve browsing experiences and download speeds. If we translate this goal into figures, it is estimated that 5G is 20 to 100 times faster than 4G, while allowing for more simultaneous connections. To get a better picture, downloading an HD movie that’s about 15GB in size will take only a few seconds. Applying this technology to the home means that the 5G connection will allow several people to transmit 4K and virtual reality content simultaneously, without interruptions. In terms of video games, 5G allows you to play without the need to have the games saved in a console. But 5G also poses certain technological challenges, for example, the frequencies that make it possible to transmit more data are also sensitive to physical obstacles. Meaning it is essential to manufacture new antennas to be able to process the signals without any problems.
♦ The cloud, the new pilar of organisations: The Cloud will become a new pillar around which companies will be organised. This opens up a new paradigm in terms of cybersecurity that will lead security providers to experience a boom during 2019. Since security systems will integrate new technologies into their computers, customers will be informed of the threats that arise at any given time. Also, interconnection will be a key point in mastering the complexity of Clouds, that is, the environments of several Clouds will further the importance of interconnection. The Equinix study cited above anticipates that in 2019 we will see the next level of challenges associated with hybrid cloud computing and multicloud approaches.
This idea brings us to the idea of collaborative technologies, especially in business environments (primarily, “the cloud office”). This refers to a collaborative workflow, collaborative document creation or mobile video tools. The use of these tools aims to be the way of motivating employees to try them out and gain value from them. However, they require a profound change in traditional business structures. Changes that could perhaps take more than a year to implement.
The Cloud is essential for mobile applications. The limitations of security, memory and storage space on mobile devices mean that more and more users are using Cloud-based applications. In 2019, these applications are expected to account for more than 90% of global mobile traffic.
♦ Data is the new gold: Data is the gold of the 21st century. During 2019, it will continue to be fundamental given that it will form the core of digital transformation and will become the source of new revenue streams that will exceed current income flows. Information architecture will undergo an abrupt change. Another of the aspects related to data management are ethics and privacy. And it’s more relevant now than ever before, with the approval of the new European Data Protection Regulation, the GDPR, which has led companies to become more concerned with protecting the data of their European customers. Gartner, in its annual study on technology trends, says that concerns about data is a global trend that will affect all companies in 2019. In this regard, it says that companies that are proactive about addressing data protection stand to gain the trust of users.
At BETWEEN, we are always at the forefront of the technology sector, after more than 20 years of experience operating in this sector. This knowledge and our technical background help us to better understand the fluctuations in the sector and the technological developments that emerge. We therefore work hard to assimilate them and add them to our portfolio of services. One example of this is Blockchain, Big Data and Business Intelligence; areas in which we are always working to offer our partners the best and newest solutions. The technology sector is volatile, with an indisputable sense of immediacy, in which the resource proposed today may become obsolete within months. Thus, our IT Solutions don’t hesitate to test out the new solutions that appear in the market, thanks to the team of BETWEEN developers.
Flexibility is a precious commodity in a market with so many opportunities, which seems like it will be marked by 3 aspects in 2019: Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Machine Learning.