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“Blockchain is gaining traction among businesses worldwide; mobile screen interactions are expected to be gradually replaced by AI-enabled conversational interfaces; enterprises are exploring use cases of Mixed Reality; and the Internet users are going gaga over the OTT content; 2019 is going to be the year when businesses will leverage the latest technology trends to unleash the full potential of the digital-driven world and shape the future of work.”
The influence of technologies is apparent. It has radically overhauled the way businesses function and interact with customers. Few businesses, sitting in their silos, sense a palpable threat out of the latest technology trends, whereas nimble businesses count on the emerging technologies to spearhead disruption in their respective industries. Whatever the case may be, the change thrusted by technologies is imminent.
In 2018, innumerable technologies hit the global market. Some sat astride on to the wave, whereas some others decided to wait for the dust to settle down. But 2019 is the time to take it up a notch. This is the year when companies, across industries, will exhibit an eagerness to unfold the potentials of technologies that break the mold of conventional business practices. The year 2019 is expected to witness huge investments in market disruptors that will form the pillars of Industry 4.0.
According to a report published by IDC, the investment in technologies and services that support digital transformation (DX) of business products, processes, and practices is expected to be worth $1.97 trillion by 2022. At such a juncture, it would be useful for businesses to know the tech trends of 2019 that can help them make the right investments and grab the opportunities before they are gone.
Technologies That Will Attract Maximum Attention in 2019
We shall all agree to the fact that the digital revolution has led to innumerable innovations in technology. Let’s discuss the key tech trends in 2019 that are expected to create a buzz throughout.
Blockchain, we all know, is a distributed digital ledger, in which the stakeholders of a particular network record transactions in real-time, without involving any central or regulatory authority. Having earned recognition with the surge in the use of cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin, Blockchain is a critically acclaimed disruptive technology, which is thriving among businesses across the world. According to Deloitte, 2019 will be the year in which enterprises will further explore the potentials of Blockchain.
Blockchain offers robust security features to protect business transactions. It keeps transactions cryptographically secured, which means the hackers would require ingenious computing abilities to break through. Besides, it also involves multiple participants and leaves no room for Single Point of Failure (SPOF).
Another way which keeps the hackers at bay and helps boost security is “Permission Blockchain.” Permission Blockchain is different from “Public Blockchain,” which allows all the participants in the network to view transaction details. In case of Permission Blockchain, only a few of the participants are permitted to write blocks or access transaction details. This limits the chances of a breach.
Broadly, Blockchain technology is a solution which is widely experimented with different use cases. For instance, Bitcoin was one of the many use cases in which Blockchain turned out to be a perfect solution. The ability to maintain digital ledgers in real-time is not what intrigues businesses. What intrigues them most is the benefits of this distributed ledger technology.
Be it healthcare, BFSI, education, travel, supply chain, real estate, or manufacturing, Blockchain derives potential use case across industries. Companies are exploring this incorruptible digital ledger to devise solutions that can virtually handle diverse things such as identity management, auditing, smart contracts, stock trading, information sharing, and more.
2. Internet of Things (IoT)
Another technology trend in 2019 that is expected to make headlines is the Internet of Things. Known by multiple names such as “embedded Internet” and “pervasive computing,” or “web of things,” IoT as a concept has been there since the 1970s. It was only in 1999 that Kevin Ashton coined the term Internet of Things. Although IoT did not gain traction until 2013-2014, the technology is underpinning for Industry 4.0.
IoT, in the contemporary business environment, is a key digital transformation enabler. Be it the oil and gas industry or be it manufacturing, IoT has infused fresh energy into businesses. Today, it is among the top technologies for managing devices and applications. IoT connects wearable devices, enterprise-wide physical assets, and other electronic devices through sensors, actuators, and more, which helps in gathering real-time data from across the departments, processes, or business lines. Besides, it also facilitates machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, wherein companies can monitor the complete lifecycle of machines. Thus, IoT essentially helps businesses reap benefits such as predictive maintenance of machines and improved decision-making.
3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
It won’t be wrong to say that the AI and ML technologies are about building cognitive abilities. According to an article published by Forbes, “Machine Learning is a centerpiece of digital transformation strategies,” when people say AI, they are basically talking about ML. These technologies came into existence during the 1940s-50s when a neural network was created. Based on that a computer program was developed which had the ability to learn and evolve from the tasks it was made to perform. And then, years of research, development, and innovation led AI and ML to become prominent technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Right from start-ups to large-scale enterprises, companies are widely implementing AI and ML technologies to improve their product lines and devise advanced business solutions. Infusing the high-computing capability and offering advanced techniques and models, AI and ML are playing a key role in improving Business Intelligence (BI). Companies are exploring these technologies to anticipate customer’s behavior and design products and services as per the end-user demand, which tends to change with the change in tech trends. Besides this, these technologies also essentially help companies analyze the sea of data to generate actionable business insights and boost the decision-making ability of the management.
4. Conversational Interfaces and Designs
When Joseph Weizenbaum first created ELIZA, the world’s first Chatbot, people were easily able to make out that they were talking to a bot and not a human. As a result, ELIZA failed the Turing Test. In the years that followed; Chatbots has become a prominent technology in the making. Later, when bots such as Alexa, Cortana, Siri, and Google Now rose to prominence during 2010-2015, the stage was set for Chatbots to evolve further.
The journey which started with Chatbots has reached to conversational interfaces and designs, which is about delivering integrated experiences. Today, conversational interfaces are being designed to play different roles. For instance, a personal assistant, who crack jokes, take notes, play music on demand, or a customer-service executive, who provide all sorts of information on products or services.
Conversational interfaces is the finest technology that businesses are counting upon to improve the customer’s experience. Reports suggest that over 80% of the world’s businesses are most likely to build a Chatbot by 2020. The reason behind it is that businesses find it a fit case for interacting with the tech-savvy customers, who expect companies to provide services related information at any time and across devices.
Companies are building bots and various other conversational interfaces, which learn from humans and perform instant two-way conversation. Although still in their evolutionary phase, the potentials of conversational interfaces are continuously being explored and that's why it is among the top tech trends in 2019.
5. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Robotic Process Automation is fast gaining momentum. It is amongst the latest technology trends witnessing maximum traction across industries. Be it medical, food and beverage, manufacturing, or personal and home appliances, companies across all sectors are mulling over harnessing the potentials of RPA. In a McKinsey report, it is predicted, that by 2025, technologies such as RPA will have a “potential economic impact” of $1.7 to $4.5 (trillion) across sized applications.
RPA is helping companies in the manufacturing, telecommunication, and oil and gas sector, which cannot rip and replace their existing legacy suites as a whole. It help companies modernize infrastructure and other legacy business suites, but gradually.
Instances of automation were first heard when the ancient Greeks developed a fully automated water clock. Although the formative years from 1920—when manufacturing industries were at boom during World War 2—to the post-war era until 1970, are said to be the cradle of the modern day RPA, the term Robotic Process Automation was coined much later in early 2000.
In the present scenario, RPA has heaved a sigh of relief for businesses across industries as it acts as a key digital workforce enabler. One of the emerging tech trends in 2019, RPA helps companies in streamlining their end-to-end business processes. It is a specially developed software program that automatically monitors tasks and functions, which are repetitive in nature. Right from facilitating cost reduction to performance optimization, improved productivity, and ROI, RPA is a boon for companies. On the other hand, it is also being seen as a benefactor to millions of amputees and differently-abled people. Experts believe that RPA can play a key role in improving the lives of such people all over the world.
6. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)
The history of AR and VR dates back to 1838 when Charles Wheatstone devised a stereoscope for creating 3D images of objects for the viewers. However, this does not mean that the AR and VR technologies are new crops of Industry 4.0. It is just that the ripe flowers have started to emanate fragrance now, and businesses plan to harvest the benefits out of it.
While VR gives the users a feeling of spatial presence, the AR technology helps simulate things, which are not present in the real world. AR and VR are among the latest technology trends for 2019, as enterprises all over the world are making huge investments to explore their potential.
Surpassing their conventional use case, which was somewhat limited to building and designing gaming interfaces, the AR and VR technologies are now being said Mixed Reality (MR). It is helping companies to innovate their products and services as well as train their employees to serve the customers in a better way. However, there are many other reasons that MR makes it to the top technology trends in 2019.
MR is all about mesmerizing, accelerating interactions, and creating visual experiences—the way a human brain demands. It is prominently used in industries such as education, and advertising. In the Healthcare industry, MR is used to treat cases of depression by creating a simulative environment.
In the contemporary world, where customers are well-informed and where innovations in various products and services are intriguing them, Mixed Reality can play a key role in helping companies earn their loyalty. Enterprises use these technologies to generate brand awareness and test products keeping in mind the customers’ preferences, right before placing them in the market. This will help businesses gain the confidence of end-users. Moreover, it is believed that Mixed Reality can significantly support organizations to augment virtual and visual experiences of customers.
7. Cloud Technology
Cloud technology is undoubtedly one of the major digital transformation enablers. It has obliterated the conventional practices that were being followed to save, process, and manage business data. It has proved to be quite beneficial for companies in multiple ways. For instance, it offers real-time and remote data access, improves decision-making ability, boosts operational efficiency, and most importantly, reduces operational costs.
If we talk about the history of Cloud Computing, it goes back to 1960s, when JCR Licklider presented the idea of an Intergalactic Computer Network. But the technology gained worldwide attention only when Cloud experience solutions such as AEM (now Adobe Cloud Experience), AWS, Azure, Software AG Cloud, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, and quite recently, Alibaba Cloud started transforming businesses unprecedentedly.
In this data-driven world, Cloud technology essentially helps companies accelerate their business performance through effective data handling. Moreover, with solutions such as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), offered by Cloud service providers, companies need not invest in building IT infrastructure. They can shift to both public and hybrid Cloud services to test applications and the related deployment environment while having control of the business data at the same time.
Besides this, Cloud gives businesses the ability to store, process, analyze, and manage both structured and unstructured data. They can reap the benefits of big data and analytics, which can help in generating actionable business insights to further support businesses in taking effective decisions.
One of the most pervasive tech trends in 2019, Cloud is being largely counted upon to shift business’ IT and landscape off-premises. At a time, when things in the contemporary market continue to evolve perpetually, the Cloud technology is being seen as a strong force guiding the digital world.
8. Over-The-Top (OTT)
The conventional television is integrated with technology capabilities and a smart set-top box to produce Over-the-Top content, which is video content delivered in the form of web series and movies. The services are provided through the Internet and traditional facilitators such as satellites and other operators are nowhere involved.
When the Internet usage flourished, it gave birth to OTT. Initially, YouTube had the monopoly, but with the arrival of various live video streaming service providers such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hotstar, Sky Go, Hulu, and more, the market for OTT has now largely been decentralized.
With over 53% of the world’s population using the Internet actively, OTT is primarily believed to play a key role in communicating with consumers. It is gaining worldwide attention because of its ability to produce video-on-demand. OTT has led to the demand for connected TV, where Roku (digital media player series) or Smart TVs enables the viewers to see video content over the Internet.
One of the latest tech trends in 2019, OTT is no more limited to Android-backed smartphones, rather manufacturers are building Android TV sets with apps to essentially help users in delivering omnichannel experiences across devices.
Technologies When Converged Create an Interoperable Environment
Riding the technology wave, businesses have reached an inflection point and are poised to discover enormous opportunities while walking on the road to innovation. These latest technology trends can help enterprises create an interoperable environment, which will help future-proof their performance while building roadmaps for the future of work.