2018 was certainly an interesting year. To be sure, some exciting stuff happened last year, while there were also our fair share of disappointments. But now that we’ve looked at the past to see what trends met their expectations in the past 12 months, it’s time to start looking ahead at what might be coming.  

Technology is wide, and pinning down any specific areas can, and often is, confusing. Nonetheless, there’s always buzz at the start of a new year for what exciting trends are going to set a standard. The industry has more or less agreed that these are the ones for 2019. 

AI will keep on growing 

AI had a modest 2018, as we previously talked about. Things for 2019 are probably going to stay the same, perhaps with a bit of a boost in terms of laying the groundwork for the future. Early AI adopters have already seen positive returns, so the incentive is definitely there. Enterprise is where is at for AI, and that’s why positions like Chief Analytics Officer (CAO) and Chief Data Officer (CDO) will become more common. 

Something we didn’t mention was how competition is making AI more accesible and affordable, which might lead to the democratization of the technology and smaller-scale projects. Video and voice analysis in particular might get breakout advancements this year. 

Cloud computing takes a step back? Yes, but also no 

Cloud computing has advanced so much in the last few years that we now run programs in real time from the cloud—even at a consumer level (videogames by streaming is a thing that exists). However, 2019 might be the year were serverless takes a step back as companies realize that you simply can’t match the performance of locallly running a service.  

Don’t worry, neither the cloud nor serverless services are going anywhere. But don’t be surprised if you start hearing about companies changing to hybrid models, were parts of their services run on the cloud, while others locally in order to maximize cost-conscious effiency. Market leader AWS has already made stepts towards this infrastructure. It’s inevitable. 

Besides, let’s remember that there are still many places where internet speeds are simply not up to par—the future of 100% cloud computing is still a ways off. 

IoT will reign as the biggest trend  

We talked about how IoT is so well positioned in terms of market for the coming years, and of course 2019 will keep that trend. We’ve mentioned how many IoT devices are expected to be connected in that timeframe. But haven’t mentioned what direct improvements we might start seeing. 

For starters, the concept of Smart Cities might take a step further. Governances considered part of this club might start offering more solutions besides cost-reductions and effectiveness. Quality-of-life solutions might take the stage, for example, including but not limited to 5G coverage.  

High-accuracy location already exists, but it might take a step further this year. We’ve all heard how these technologies are a huge help for places like hospitals, where staff can immediately locate any required equipment, but it also might have a broader market as chips become cheaper. Flexible options for delivery is a word that’s been tossed around, as one could easily locate packages anywhere. The reverse could also be an option: the deliveryman could easily locate you. 

Ethical and more secure technology 

Renowned journalist Kara Swisher made an interesting argument recently, which has no doubt set the stage for the coming year: Who will teach Silicon Valley about ethics? 

We talked about how privacy, and cybersecurity in general, are at crisis after 2018. These two aspects of the industry, privacy in particular, go hand in hand with ethical behavior for these companies. Just look at the fall of Facebook, or how GDPR sent everyone scrambling. Swisher proposes the inclusion of a figure, the “Ethics Officer”, which she mentions as a posible solution for a big organization—a figure she unfortunately says doesn’t exist in any of the companies she’s familiar with.  

That’s not to say companies are taking things more seriously now. In fact, she says they are. It might just be a reactionary move to counter the current crisis on trust, but that’s the power of public pressure for you. Be mindful of any changes to policy and/or data management and security in 2019 from many companies.