When the pace of change has never been faster, trying to keep up with everything that’s going on in the world of tech, can be pretty bewildering. So to help you out, we’ve compiled an easy to digest list of ten of the most exciting technologies to keep your eye on in 2019.
But before we kick off, the really big thing to know about this year is that it’s all about integration. The biggest leaps forward aren’t coming from any one technology on its own, but how a combination of technologies link with or feed one another. For example, enhanced computing and AI are bringing huge advances to the Internet of Things, cybersecurity, and beyond.
Read on to see what we mean!
The IoT has been touted as the Next Big Thing for a while now, but 2019 really does look like its breakout year. The capabilities of voice assistants like Alexa are expanding, smart wearables are getting both more accessible and more desirable, and it looks like we’ll soon be able to integrate pretty much anything electric into a wider online infrastructure. The ‘Smart City’ (in which public services and are linked through the Internet of Things) is becoming less of a projection and more of a future dead-cert. In the meantime, expect to see the internet stepping out of the computer and into the physical world in many unexpected and innovative ways throughout the coming year.
The exciting thing about AI in 2019 is its merger with the Internet of Things. Using AR and MR (more on those in a bit), artificially-intelligent devices are able to interact with us more closely than ever before. For example, recent focus is on using AI to make smart devices more ergonomic, or humanistic. This is partly in response to concerns that the internet in its current form might not be as good for our physical and mental wellbeing as it could be. We’re a long way from robot butlers (more’s the pity), but this is definitely an interesting direction for AI, and one to keep an eye on.
The rollout of fifth-generation wireless networking tech promises to be a bit more spectacular than 4G was. Enhanced with AI software, 5G will bring a 10X improvement to battery life, will be 10X more reliable, and will allow 100X greater volumes of data. And while it might be hard to imagine what those numbers amount to in real life, this kind of strengthened wireless tech is what will boost the Internet of Things to the point where big, exciting Things like driverless cars will become truly viable.
This is complicated stuff, but we’ll try and break it down. While today’s computers use binary bits (0s and 1s) to compute, emerging quantum computers use quantum bits (or ‘qubits’), which are far more versatile. What this means in practice is that quantum computers will have a lot more power, speed, and flexibility of ‘thought’ than the machines we’re using today. They’ll be brighter, basically - perhaps bright enough to compute solutions to some of humanity’s most complex problems. And this is the year when we’ll start to hear more about them. In fact, IBM just launched its first commercial quantum computer in January and, while you can’t order yourself one just yet, it’s an exciting step towards a quantum future.
Augmented and Mixed Reality are designed to blend the real and digital worlds in ergonomic ways. For example, they enable your movements to register in the game when you’re playing with a VR headset and help Alexa to ‘hear’ your commands. If AI is what helps the IoT to interpret your commands, AR and MR are the ‘senses’ through which humans and the internet can interact, without the need for a screen and/or a keyboard. Both are set to be supercharged by the introduction of 5G, making their way more and more onto our phones, shopping experiences and workplaces.
Companies have been working to harness the potential of drones since they first appeared on the scene, and it seems as though they’re making headway. Already used extensively in the filmmaking and photographic industries, expect to see drones entering logistics, surveying, agriculture, and more as 2019 progresses.
As data becomes more pervasive and valuable, and cybercriminals grow more inventive, cyber security is an ever-increasing concern. And as a result, over the course of 2019, we’re likely to see more organisations adopting something called ‘Zero Trust’ protocols where cyber security is weaved into every aspect of online activity and integrated into a variety of data privacy practices and technologies. Put simply, Zero Trust protocols check and either approve or silo every single connection, data packet, or user as they progress through a network. It sounds laborious, but this kind of comprehensive cyber stop-and-search is made possible by modern, automated control systems.
Traditionally, companies build up a roster of employees. However, with the rise of freelancing combined with a dearth of crucial specialists in areas like data science, we are increasingly seeing that flipped around, so independent specialists are building up a roster of companies (for whom they work on retainer). This virtual workplace, populated by virtual workers, is only going to go from strength to strength in 2019 - enabled by the Internet of Things and facilitated by 5G technology.
Having just spoken about the inexorable rise of wireless data-sharing and the interconnected, reality-integrated Internet of Things, we’re now going to backtrack a bit. While Cloud storage is still very handy, concerns about data security are leading some companies to return to good old-fashioned storage on local hard-drives. Predictions are that this year, we’ll start to see the Cloud used to purely gather data, which will then be processed and stored remotely, on edge hard-drives.
This one isn’t exactly a new technology – but it’s a trend which is worth keeping an eye on. Many believe that social media hit its peak a few years back, and is now plummeting down the other side of the bell curve. It’s certainly true that many people are taking their social media activities underground, preferring private messaging to public posting and as a result, the more public social media platforms are experiencing a lot of drop-offs. However, the likes of Facebook are fighting back, putting serious work into eradicating problems like trolling, while battening down the data-privacy hatches, and focusing on improving user wellbeing. This could bring big changes to social media and the way we use it... or it could all fall flat. Watch this space.
So, all in all, another year when we’ll see the internet continue its inexorable journey into everyday life, in a whole host of new and exciting ways.
And as homes and appliances become smarter, and we rely ever more heavily on being connected at all times, it’s never been more important to think about how you’re protecting your data, and yourself against the new risks that come with this brave new world. And for that Digital Risks is here to help.
Food for thought
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