Technology Trends to
Watch in 2019

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Every year not long before the turn of the calendar, the BrandCulture team pauses to evaluate and reflect on the work we’ve been doing with our clients over the past year. This provides an easy segue into an even more important imperative: how do we anticipate our clients’ needs for the coming year?

We’ve compiled our 2019 Technology Trends based on input from clients, changes we’re seeing in the market, headwinds from economic and other external factors and innovations that we’ve witnessed along the way.

Here’s our technology outlook for 2019.

Hyper-Fast 5G Networks Increase Connectivity (and Expectations)

Imagine downloading a 2GB film to your mobile device in just one second. Makes your current 4G network look pretty sluggish, doesn’t it? That’s the promise of the new 5G networks currently being rolled out.

As with all expensive infrastructure evolutions, we’ve heard more about the promise of  5G technologies than proof that they perform as promised. But most major operators including Verizon and AT&T in the US, and the major European operators say they’ll have fully-functional networks by mid-2019. The new 5G will enable the hyper-fast internet connectivity and low latency required for technologies such as the Internet of Things and autonomous vehicles as well as more consumer-focused activities like ultra-fast content downloads or advanced gaming functionalities.

While 5G may not be a seismic technological breakthrough, we look at it as a meaningful advance that impacts our conceptions of product design and consumer expectation. Check back with us at the end of February, when we’ll do a review of the global tech industry’s landmark conference, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. We’ll have more intelligence and insight into the current state of 5G, along with other emerging tech developments across the pond.

artificial intelligence

Artificial Intelligence Technology Becomes Embedded in Everything

AI is on the tip of everyone’s tongues lately, informing every sector from HR recruitment to defense system development to the education industry. It’s a technology “trend” that isn’t going anywhere. We predict that 2019 will bring more personalization of AI, for example, algorithms will allow previously static tools such as websites to perform in dynamically flexible ways depending on who’s looking at them, from where and when. We also anticipate that data-heavy industries such as the medical field will be among the first to bear the full brunt of AI, with areas such as the management of chronic illnesses or epidemiological studies subject to substantial change.

Overall, we expect that by the end of 2019 nearly all products consumers and businesses touch will incorporate some aspect of AI. Keep up on the lingua franca of deep learning, computer vision and algorithmic training as the year unfolds.

Tech Industry Tests the Limits of Automation

Experts quibble about the percentage of jobs that will be replaced by robots or some other form of automation in the near future, but no matter how you look at it, machines will replace much of what humans do in their work day today… and sooner rather than later.

These developments create a slew of ethical and philosophical questions. It’s time to dream big. If 2018 was all about the promise of driverless cars, 2019 will be about the prospect of pilotless planes, for example.

Many of the most highly-publicized 2018 automation issues related to production delays at Tesla battery factories. In the quest for greater speed and accuracy, many organizations have stumbled by omitting the human factor too quickly. We are confident these questions won’t go away in 2019.

Niche mobile players

Mobile Upstarts Continue to Make Gains

We see the rise of Xiaomi, Huawei, Oppo and their mobile brethren presenting increasing market share to challenge established heavyweights Apple and Samsung. This applies not only to device sales but also to app culture, developer ecosystems, etc. Niche players like the Google Pixel, Fairphone and Nokia will continue to present innovations, but we don’t see them making a substantial impact in 2019.

The recent well-publicized US-China trade wars, and the continued regulatory issues that organizations like Huawei have faced when trying to gain traction in the US market, will continue to cause upset in the mobile market through 2019.

Mobile upstarts

Consumers Start Caring about the Value of their Private Data

The relentless 2017 and 2018 issues with data privacy, leaks, breaches, etc. (Facebook, Google+, Adidas) have spurred increased awareness of data rebellions where consumers are more concerned with private data they’re sharing and storing. Regulators are also doubling down on punishments for offenders.

With the multiplier effects of AI and blockchain as tools for data manipulation and storage, consumers increasingly understand the sensitivity and value of their data. Europe’s (and California’s) GDPR data-protection rules place power back in the hands of consumers. Consumers must actively opt-in to marketing and other communications from organizations. Marketers should strap on their seatbelts as they digest the full implications of this brave, new world.

We think privacy will have a broader impact in 2019 on consumer behavior and perception of their inherent rights, forcing organizations to be more creative in how they gain consent, protect consumer data and employ it for marketing and other uses.

And that’s just the start. We’ll stay abreast of mainstream and emerging technology developments throughout the year. as we help prepare our technology branding clients for the future. If you care to join us, Learn more here.

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