The Tech Trends You Need to Know in 2019 and Beyond

2018 saw the continued development of new technology at breakneck speed. With so much going on, retail technology decision makers need to keep one eye on the latest tech trends. To ensure you’re in the know, we’re taking a look at the direction of travel for the following tech trends in 2019:

  • artificial technology (AI)
  • machine learning (ML)
  • cloud adoption trends
  • blockchain
  • home automation

Artificial Technology Will Become Faster and More Flexible

AI was a hot topic for 2018 with a huge rise in the number and types of AI-enabled platforms and tools available. This tech trend continues into 2019 with developments impacting software and the internet sector as well as other verticals, like retail, healthcare, manufacturing, legal, motoring and agriculture.

As with all new technology, the first AI iterations that have already landed are being steadily improved on. Currently, AI needs additional hardware to carry out its reasoning by performing complex mathematical calculations, detect objects and recognise faces.

One of the tech trends in 2019 is that artificial technology developers are seeking to speed up AI processing through the use of new chips. They will replace the additional hardware while speeding up execution. Like the development of mobile phones, we can expect better AI performance in a smaller package.

Artificial technology developers, in particular AWS, Facebook and Microsoft, are collaborating to find new ways to structure the neural artificial technology networks they’re currently using. Right now, there’s a wide choice of tech, each with its own pros and cons. However, once the AI has been trained to use the network, it’s difficult to move away from it.

By building an Open Neural Network Exchange (ONNX), AI scientists believe it will be possible to reuse trained neural network models across multiple frameworks. Something that’s likely to become essential technology for the industry.

Machine Learning Moves

With the explosion in AI came a boom in the related field of machine learning (ML). And this tech trend is set to continue with ML proving to be the most researched technology by number of published papers. Off the back of this research, you can expect to see significant developments.

One aspect of ML that’s gathering pace is the field of data ethics. Leading researchers have found that, although algorithms and machine learning have been pitched as a way to eliminate human bias, it turns out that there’s a flaw in this premise. When we train algorithms using existing data which includes bias, the outcomes will be biased too.

Leading voices in the data ethics arena are calling on government and business to pay more attention to protecting data privacy. And they also want to ensure data is used to promote fairness and not racial, gender or other biases.

We’ll be keeping a keen eye out for more thought leadership in this area.

Cloud Adoption Trends Will Take Even Tighter Hold

Research from Gartner indicates continued growth in cloud computing into 2019 and beyond. As more organisations adopt strategic digital transformation projects, firms are adopting multicloud and hybrid cloud services. This provides added flexibility and lowers the risk of using a single cloud provider.

Gartner predict significant maturation in cloud system infrastructure services (infrastructure as a service or IaaS) which are forecast to grow 27.6% and reach $39.5b in 2019. Software as a service (SaaS), remains the largest segment of the cloud market predicted to reach $85.1b this year. However, business process as a service (PaaS) is catching up with forecasted growth of 7.9% to $50.3b in 2019.

Sid Nag, research director at Gartner says: “Demand for integrated IaaS and PaaS offerings is driving the next wave of cloud infrastructure adoption … We expect that IaaS-only cloud providers will continue to exist in the future, but only as niche players, as organisations will demand offerings with more breadth and depth for their hybrid environments.”

To make the most of digital transformation plans and to master these cloud adoption trends, it’s key that buyers work with providers who can demonstrate deep domain expertise. Look for portfolios that illustrate the ability to bridge gaps between legacy systems and processes to support new, automated digital transformation and cloud delivery.

Blockchain Becomes Part of the Furniture

Another of the latest tech trends blockchain is set to become “boring” as it begins to form part of every-day operations.

Long-term blockchain testing by Walmart is due to bear fruit as the retailer has declared it will start using the system in 2019 to track food supplies. It’s even instructing suppliers of leafy greens to use the technology. Which indicates that where the big players lead others will have to follow.

Blockchain’s operational integration is being supported by the Maltese government who are issuing the first licenses for blockchain operators enabling the technology to be operated in a licensed environment.

Silvio Schembri, Malta’s Junior Minister for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation, believes we’ll soon witness a change in how sectors operate underpinned by blockchain technology.  He says: “As a Government, we’re looking at using blockchain technology in the public sector to better the experience of our citizens … Malta’s agility and flexible approach will ensure that we will remain innovators in the digital economy.”

Where this tech trend lands remains to be seen but with multinationals and governments firmly on board it could be underpinning technology near you.

The Home Automation Tech Trend Continues

Alexa. Siri. OK Google. A few years ago, none of these words would have been meaningful to consumers. But the latest tech trends for voice search and home assistants mean this form of AI has found its way into our homes. All connected via our mobile phones and laptops to the army of home devices that are linked to the internet.

As technology continues to infiltrate our lives, this is one the tech trends of 2019 that’s already well on its way to happening. Energy efficiency is one area where mobile and home automation technology are enabling apps to work out when you’ve left the house giving you the option to turn down your heating.  

Video doorbells are also connected to mobiles allowing you to see who’s calling when you’re out enhancing home security.

AI’s connection with the Internet of things is predicted to expand across homes and organisations. But as consumers start to share more information with home automation devices, security will become an increasing concern that providers will need to respond to.

The latest tech trends in 2019 demonstrate that there’s still plenty of room for improvement and that push for faster, more secure technology is a long way from finished. With AI and ML already providing significant benefits for retail technology, we think these are the tech trends to watch.

To find out how REPL could use AI and ML to help your retail business, get in touch on +44 (0) 808 200 7375 or at info@replgroup.com.