Updated: Feb 10, 2019
As we come to the end of the year, it’s time to look in the crystal ball and think about the Tech Trends that will be important in 2019.
When I want to see the future, I often start with research and insights from the Gartner Group.
They have some of the best analysts in the business. David Cearly, Gartner Distinguished Vice President Analyst states that 2019 will see the emergence of they call the Intelligent Digital Mesh (“IDM”). The IDM has three defining characteristics:
Intelligent: How AI is in virtually every existing technology, and creating entirely new categories.
Digital: Blending the digital and physical worlds to create an immersive world.
Mesh: Exploiting connections between expanding sets of people, businesses, devices, content and services.
Within the Intelligent Digital Mesh, Gartner highlights 10 trends:
Trend No. 1: Autonomous things. Whether it’s cars, robots or agriculture, autonomous things use AI to perform tasks traditionally done by humans. The sophistication of the intelligence varies, but all autonomous things use AI to interact more naturally with their environments.
Trend No. 2: Augmented analytics. Augmented analytics represents a third major wave for data and analytics capabilities as data scientists use automated algorithms to explore more hypotheses. Data science and machine learning platforms have transformed how businesses generate analytics insight. Gartner makes a bold prediction in this space: “By 2020, more than 40% of data science tasks will be automated.”
Trend No. 3: AI-driven development. AI-driven development looks at tools, technologies and best practices for embedding AI into applications and using AI to create AI-powered tools for the development process.
Trend No. 4: Digital twins. A digital twin is a digital representation that mirrors a real-life object, process or system. Digital twins can also be linked to create twins of larger systems, such as a power plant or city. The primary focus in 2019 will be the IoT space.
Trend No. 5: Empowered edge. Edge computing is a topology where information processing and content collection and delivery are placed closer to the sources of the information, with the idea that keeping traffic local will reduce latency. Currently, much of the focus of this technology is a result of the need for IoT systems to deliver disconnected or distributed capabilities into the embedded IoT world.
Trend No. 6: Immersive technologies. By 2028, conversational platforms, which change how users interact with the world, and technologies such as augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR) and virtual reality (VR), which change how users perceive the world, will lead to a new immersive experience. AR, MR and VR show potential for increased productivity, with the next generation of VR able to sense shapes and track a user’s position and MR enabling people to view and interact with their world.
Trend No. 7: Blockchain. Gartner is still really bullish on blockchain. This is one area where I have to disagree with them. There are still very real performance issues that prevent blockchain applications for working on a true enterprise scale. Gartner recommends organizations to look at “blockchain inspired approaches” that do not implement all the tenets of blockchain. To be honest, I’m not sure what that means.
Trend No. 8: Smart spaces. As technology becomes a more integrated part of daily life, smart spaces will enter a period of accelerated delivery. Further, other trends such as AI-driven technology, edge computing, blockchain and digital twins are driving toward this trend as individual solutions become smart spaces.
Trend No. 9: Digital ethics and privacy. Consumers have an growing awareness of the value of their personal information, and they are increasingly concerned with how it’s being used. Enterprises that don’t pay attention are at risk of consumer backlash. Conversations regarding privacy must be grounded in ethics and trust. The conversation should move from “Are we compliant?” toward “Are we doing the right thing?”
Trend No. 10: Quantum computing. Quantum computing is a type of nonclassical computing that is based on the quantum state of subatomic particles that represent information as elements denoted as quantum bits or “qubits.” I am puzzled by Gartner’s inclusion of Quantum Computing as a trend for 2019. Everything I have seen and read says that practical applications of Quantum Computing are 5-10 year away. And those are the optimistic predictions. Maybe they know something everyone else doesn’t.
What Gartner Missed...
While Gartner’s list gives a great high-level view, I believe there are some important technology trends that are missing from the list.
Trend No. 11: Everything as a Service. The “platformization” of technology will continue to accelerate. Blockchain-as-a-service, VR-as-a-service, augmented-analytics-as-a-service (see above), AR-as-a-service, IOT-as-a-service and AI-as-a-service. You get the idea. Cloud providers are becoming trends enablers, prototypers, innovation labs and more.
Trend No. 12: Micro-Service Application Architectures. For the last 50 years, various forms of Monolithic architectures have been the de-facto standard for applications development. But the cloud plus the rise of “anything as a service” is enabling new microservice architectures. And Edge Computing (see above) requires microservice architectures.
Trend No. 13: Faster and more Pervasive Wireless Communications. 5G Cell services falls into this category, but many others do was well. SpaceX's new satellite-based internet service is another. Most of the technologies above will require more and faster bandwidth, everywhere.
Trend No. 14: Additive Manufacturing. 2019 looks to be the year when 3D printing and additive manufacturing enters the true mainstream. HP and GE have launched printers capable of printing larger objects than have been possible in the past, with greater speed.
From Deloitte – Tech Trends 2019: Beyond the digital frontier
From Dimension Data – Technology trends in 2019
From Hubspot – 2019 Tech Trends: Users Weigh In and Make Predictions