2018 was full of all the popular buzzwords – artificial intelligence, machine learning (AI/ML), blockchain, Internet of Things. In 2019, we may start to see some of these make large advancements as more technology associated with Industry 4.0 begins to take off.
As with emerging technologies of the past, there are those who like to adopt early, to seem as though they are on the bleeding edge. Many organizations rushed to deploy AI before they really had a clear idea for how to use it and what kind of concrete business value it could deliver. Similar to the cloud movement more than a decade ago, AI and ML have finally matured beyond marketing hype. Like they did with cloud, industries have now figured out – specifically – how these emerging technologies can benefit their business. As always, where there is demand, there will be supply. Here are some trends we can expect to see in the year ahead.
AI has shown that it is ideal to help people analyze seas of data and convert that data into actionable intelligence that can be used to make stronger business decisions. The Internet of Things accomplishes two main goals: it makes the world smaller and collects data. Lots of data. Terabytes and terabytes of it. However, there is no point in collecting a single byte if an organization isn’t going to convert that data into intelligence, immediately. AI is the way to do that. In fact, it’s the only way to do it because of the immense size of data sets. It also requires a lot of computing power and storage, both of which are expensive.
As organizations decide to pursue data science projects, they will need AI and ML capabilities. As with most IT needs, the fastest, easiest and most cost effective way to use them within the mid-market will be from a service provider. In 2019, I think we can expect to see AI, or analytics and cognitive abilities, offered as the next big as-a-service solution.
Rise of edge computing
As enterprises continue to develop technologies like autonomous vehicles and AR/VR, the need for edge computing will increase tenfold. Many emerging technologies are reliant upon instant calculations and minimal latency of data exchange. Autonomous vehicles simply do not have time to wait for a signal to travel across networks to a computing core, and then travel back. Computing must be performed closer to the vehicle, ideally, within it, in order to reduce latency. Latency can be the difference between a deadly accident and avoiding one, and its elimination will be a key driver of edge computing capabilities.
The war for talent
The war for talent will keep intensifying. Unfortunately, attracting talent will boil down to money (not just money, but you get my point). For tech companies who tend to set up shop in major metropolitan areas, their employees will need to be able to afford to live there. Amazon just announced they will open a major facility in New York City where the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is currently more than $2,100 per month, and more than $3,000 in Manhattan. If Amazon or other tech companies want talent, they will need to ensure that in-demand talent can afford the incredible rent.
There has been growing buzz about quantum computing and its immense computing power. I am sorry to disappoint, but we will not see any major advancements in quantum computing in 2019. Maybe 2020, but not next year. The technology is so far from maturity and will not affect the mainstream at all in 2019. We may see a government agency make a breakthrough with it, or a Fortune 10 company, but as far as enterprise adoption, not in the next 12 months.
2018 was an exciting year and 2019 should continue that trend. We may also see some pivotal mergers and acquisitions as tech companies try to evolve their services for wider adoption. 2018 isn’t even over yet, but we’ve already seen IBM announce its intent acquire Red Hat to improve its cloud offering in the third largest tech deal in history. The new year should prove just as interesting.
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Senior Marketing Communications Manager
Key Information Systems