The innovation and adoption of new technologies have never been faster. As new technologies emerge to support innovation and consumers seek new experiences, technology will only continue to evolve and amaze us. But the one thing that won’t change is the cycle of technology fads and fears. Concepts we once feared or deemed a fad have now become integral, familiar, and some are already changing the future of many industries.
As we look forward to 2019, we wanted to understand what to expect from the technology industry, and more important how brands can plan for and respond to these developments. We took on an extensive social listening initiative, analyzing over one billion technology-focused Twitter conversations from the past year to identify the most significant trends and then reached out to a panel of over 25 global technology leaders for their insights.
The result is our report, “Tech Trends 2019: The Fads. The Fears. The Future.” (PDF file, 2.3 MB) A set of predictions and insights on some of the most critical technology conversations we expect to see in 2019:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) will become more relatable. The AI conversation increased by 54% from 2017 to 2018, and we anticipate this upward trend to continue. The discussion around AI will begin to narrow as brands transform their AI innovations into tangible offerings. This real-life context will help businesses and consumers to understand AI and its role within an organization better, which will encourage the continued evolution of AI innovation and applications.
- Augmented analytics will become mainstream. We will have a better view of AI’s potential to enhance human intelligence, rather than replace it. Sixty-five per cent of today’s school kids will hold jobs that don’t exist today. This is because augmented analytics are creating an environment where big data can become more valuable to companies. Brands will be better able to process, understand and act upon their data to enhance and personalize customer experiences and expectations.
- Blockchain will find new opportunities. Blockchain’s applications will evolve. In 2019 we will see the conversation move beyond cryptocurrencies, to explore how Blockchain can be used to support the development of smart cities and digital transformations.
- Edge computing will come to the fore. Edge computing streamlines the flow of traffic from IoT devices and provides real-time local data analysis. Look for 5G to spur on the continued hype and interest in edge computing in 2019.
- Immersive reality will move beyond a fad. The gaming and entertainment industries will continue to drive the innovations and sales of immersive realities, for now. In 2019 we will see virtual, augmented and mixed realities come together to create new experiences for consumers and brands as applications start to evolve in the retail, manufacturing and healthcare, particularly around training and education.
- Redefinition of wearables. Smart fabrics and e-textiles will rise in popularity and move beyond concepts and runways. Brands will start to leverage smart fabrics and e-textiles in more consumer accessible ways that will shift the way we manage our healthy lifestyles.
- Trust in data security. Data security will continue to be a significant issue in 2019. According to FleishmanHillard’s Authentic Insights global report, more than 80% of consumers rate data security and protection as ‘very important’ – ahead of healthcare and education in the UK and healthcare and freedom of speech in the U.S. Responsible data protection measures will continue to be a significant trend and brands will work to bolster their public trust.
One of the expert panelists from our report points out, although the pace of change has never been this fast, it will also “never be this slow again.” The speed of technology transformation may at times feel overwhelming or even difficult to comprehend the future applications. The future of technology has never been brighter. In 2019 we will see many of the hottest innovations of the past year become more mainstream and we will see new and exciting ideas and approaches emerge.
*The data for FleishmanHillard’s “Tech Trends 2019: The Fads. The Fears. The Future.” report includes qualitative and quantitative data. A social conversation analysis was conducted around Gartner’s 2018 and 2019 trends to test true traction of emerging technology. These findings were then augmented by market-leading brand executives to forecast the direction of 2019. The report reflects global, English-language conversations. All data falls within the public domain and was aggregated to ensure that personally identifiable elements were removed from the analysis and methodology.