Technology is changing the world as we know it at such a rapid pace that only those who pay close attention to the ongoing digital transformation are able to keep up. We’ve rounded up the top 5 most important technology trends for 2019 to help you understand the direction technology is moving in so you can prepare well in advance for its inevitable impact.
The fifth generation of cellular mobile technology, commonly referred to as 5G, is coming faster than most people realize. Major telecom providers around the world are upgrading their networks to open the next chapter of mobile communication and meet ever-more advanced and complex sets of performance requirements.
One 5G connection test, conducted by Finnish outlet Kauppalehti and wireless carrier Elisa, showed 14 times better performance over 4G LTE in a real-world environment, delivering speeds over 700 Mbps using Huawei-made equipment. Theoretically, 5G should be able to provide download speeds at up to 1,000 times faster than 4G LTE thanks to technologies such as millimeter waves, massive MIMO, full duplex, beamforming, and small cells.
With 5G, users will be able to download an entire high-definition movie in less than a second, but that’s only one reason why it is one of the most important technology trends for 2019. “These networks will boost the development of other new technologies, too, such as autonomous vehicles, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things,” explains IEEE.
Blockchain, the open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way will likely make a comeback in 2019 as use cases beyond cryptocurrencies emerge.
“For a long time, blockchain has been inextricably tied to cryptocurrencies, but that’s simply one application of the technology,” says Lucidity COO Nikao Yang. “Now, a variety of industries—from manufacturing to retail—will start to explore the improvements blockchain can bring to supply chain transparency, ownership tracking, and others.”
For example, Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant that made headlines in September 2014 with its $25 billion initial public offering (IPO), has been exploring the use of blockchain technology to speed up international payments, according to one of its recent patents. In fact, the company has filed over 10 percent of the world’s blockchain patents.
If Alibaba’s history tells us anything, it’s that the company can recognize a lucrative opportunity when it sees one. “Blockchain is a new technological landscape where it could be very profitable for Chinese companies to grab significant territory in their patent claim language,” says Taiwan-based IP specialist and Eiger Law partner John Eastwood.
Artificial intelligence (AI)
It probably won’t surprise you to see artificial intelligence (AI) on our list of top 5 technology trends for 2019. The artificial intelligence market is expected to grow from $21.46 billion in 2018 to $190.61 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 36.62 percent between 2018 and 2025, according to a recent market research report.
AI use cases cover data security, financial trading, healthcare, marketing personalization, fraud detection, recommendations, online search, natural language processing, smart cars, predictive sales and sales forecasting, customer service, robotic process automation, predictive maintenance, manufacturing analytics, data visualization, hiring, performance management, employee monitoring, insurance, credit lending and scoring, and much more.
We know that AI-driven automation will eliminate as many as 73 million jobs by 2030, but some forecasts suggest that it will create as many jobs as it destroys in the long run. Even if that turns out to be the case, it’s likely that there will be a long and very turbulent adaptation period characterized by high unemployment, massive protests, and the rise of what can only be described as neo-Luddism.
Technology is changing the way we interact with the world around us. According to Gartner, 70 percent of enterprises will be experimenting with immersive technologies for consumer and enterprise use by 2022, and 25 percent will have deployed to production.
The umbrella term immersive technologies includes augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and virtual reality (VR), all three of which change how users perceive the world. AR overlays digital information on top of the real world, MR merges real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations, and VR immerses users into completely simulated environments.
Out of the three, augmented reality will likely have the biggest immediate impact as its use cases span many industries. Large companies in manufacturing, logistics, and healthcare have been testing Glass Enterprise Edition and reporting a significant reduction in production time, greater operational efficiency, and other benefits. Microsoft is also actively working on an AR headset, and it will be interesting how this technology trend for 2019 will influence the way we work.
Privacy and ethics
From Facebook’s massive data breach that exposed over 80 million users (not to mention the one that affected nearly 50 million other accounts) to the Google walkout that included over 20,000 participants from all over the world who staged a series of protests against sexual harassment, gender inequality, and systemic racism to Linus Torvalds apologizing for his past behavior and adopting a new Code of Conduct, the year 2018 has put privacy and ethics in the limelight, and we think it’s safe to say that next year will be no different.
Consumers are realizing that technology can be used for both good and bad, and they’re not sure whether the self-appointed guardians of our digital future have our best interest or shareholders’ profits in mind. Companies that don’t pay sufficient attention to privacy and ethics will find themselves in a very difficult position going forward.
“Companies must gain and maintain trust with the customer to succeed, and they must also follow internal values to ensure customers view them as trustworthy,” states Gartner in its Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2019.
In this article, we’ve identified the top 5 most important technology trends for 2019 and explained what impact they’ll likely have. Those who know what the future holds can better prepare for it, and everything indicates that being two-steps ahead will be critically important in the coming years.