Tech moves so fast that trends often come and go in the blink of an eye because some new tech rendered the trend meaningless. Some tech is so deeply ingrained into existing systems or so potentially powerful that it remains a trend year after year. With that in mind, let’s jump in and take a look at some enduring tech trends you can expect to see continue into 2019.
Blockchain is one of those technologies that suffered an unfortunate branding problem. It got married to the cryptocurrency industry by association. In reality, cryptocurrency is just one application of the much more interesting blockchain technology. What makes blockchain so interesting and potentially game-changing is that it’s an incredibly secure way of handling data. You can add information to it, but it’s incredibly difficult to hack or alter that data in any way. Now that people have started seeing blockchain as its own tech breakthrough, expect to see new application springing up in the next year or two.
Augmented reality has never really gotten the kudos it deserves. It’s generally looked down on as the tacky thing we get instead of sci-fi quality virtual reality. Yet, augmented reality has become a feature in everything from makeup selection and remodeling to medical training. The potential for AR in training can extend well beyond medicine. For example, you could hire a specialist in negotiation training and then put him or her in the room with your employees using AR. No obnoxious travel for the trainer and you can reuse that technology for other training.
For a long time, cloud computing was all the rage. It was often heralded as the answer to every computing problem. It does solve a lot of problems, but it suffers from a weak spot called latency. In brief, latency refers to the lag time it takes for data to make the round trip from devices to the cloud and back again. Edge computing slashes that lag time to almost nothing. Rather than send all of that data to some data center that might be halfway across the country, edge computing uses distributed networks to keep the processing as close to the device as possible.
Cybersecurity is less of a tech trend that an all-consuming need for organizations large and small. Consider all of the data breaches in recent years and you can see the need. What makes cybersecurity noteworthy is the crushing shortfall of talent. There were approximately 350,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the US in early 2018 and little evidence that things will improve anytime soon. While this shortfall drives up the salaries of cybersecurity specialists, it also means many small organizations and business can’t afford professional help.
Artificial intelligence continues to hit tech trend lists in part because computer scientists keep finding new or better ways to use it. Machine learning, for example, is a subfield of artificial intelligence that powers things like chatbots and streamlines power consumptions. You also see artificial intelligence in retail and video streaming service recommendation, smart thermostats, and digital assistants. As computation power continues to grow ever more powerful, expect more ingenious AI applications.
As tech digs deeper and deeper into daily life and business, the potential and problems it poses will continue to drive these trends. More tech in the home and office means an ever more pressing need for cybersecurity experts. AR and blockchain will grab market share because they can prove so very useful. Edge computing will gain ground because it solves a pressing problem with cloud computing. AI will continue to grow and evolve because it speeds up and refines so many existing processes. That’s to say nothing of innovations it will drive that none of us have even considered yet.