New Year, new tech: Are you ready?

Sapphire Systems’ Pablo Castagnini examines the top 10 technology trends to look out for in 2019…

 Prioritising investment

It seems that not a week goes past without an announcement on the latest disruptive technology set to revolutionise the way we do business. For organisations looking to invest in digital capabilities to drive the transformation necessary to operate in our global economy, it’s not always easy to know where to prioritise investments.

Getting your house in order

While it might not sound particularly sexy, or command headlines, the overwhelming priority for many organisations is to ensure core business processes systems are aligned to establish a foundation from which to embrace disruptive technologies. Clearly investments in the likes of Blockchain and AI are destined to fail if deployed in an environment consisting of outdated and disparate systems which rely on manual intervention.  Seeking advice from experts is crucial in order to avoid costly mistakes and establish clear benchmarks and KPIs from which to pursue improved performance.

Embracing disruptive technologies

For those who have already invested in modern business management software and ERP systems, and are in good shape to embrace digital transformation, here’s a summary of technology trends to consider in 2019, as defined by Gartner…

Autonomous things – while not a new technology as such, it’s predicted that 2019 will see a shift from individual intelligent devices to a group of connected intelligent things, with the ‘things’ empowered by AI to act more naturally with both surroundings and people. As the number of autonomous things continues to grow, the number of multiple devices working together (with or without human intervention) will follow suit.

Augmented analytics – used to optimise the decisions and actions of all employees, augmented analytics again sees AI at work enhancing human intelligence, embedding AI-assisted analytics within enterprise applications. Set to be a key driver of data preparation and management, taking analytics to the next level will revolutionise how analytical information is not only developed, but understood and communicated, to a certain extent automating the data scientist role.

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AI-powered development – in a similar vein, the rise of AI-driven development will make way for what Gartner’s calling a new age of ‘citizen application developers’, taking the place of data scientists in some instances. This ability to use AI-powered tools to generate new applications will bring new levels of flexibility for organisations, using AI within the development process for increased innovation.

Digital twins – while many manufacturers are already using these digital representations of real world items to monitor assets, saving money on maintenance repair and operations, 2019 is predicted to see the emergence of digital twin organisations. This is where a dynamic software model is used, taking on board operational and other key business data to better understand how efficiently the entire business operates, how well it responds to change, how it could better deploy resources and ultimately how it delivers value (if at all). In short, it helps to identify efficiencies across all areas of the business to optimise operations.

Edge excellence – currently driven by the Internet of Things, edge computing involves content collection and content delivery occurring closer to the source or repository of information. What the next 12 months will see are increased capabilities within edge devices themselves, so AI chips embedded within devices providing more storage and greater computing power, and the development of 5G enabling enhanced communication to the edge too. And, rather than being seen as competing tech, more organisations will use their existing cloud infrastructure to provide increased capability to the edge.

Immersive user experience – a combination of Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and mixed reality has led to a change in immersive platforms, with a multichannel / multi modal world affecting how humans interact not only with each other but with the digital world. The ability to connect people with the numerous edge devices in their vicinity (such as cars, wearable tech, environmental sensors etc) as well as using human and computer senses such as heat, humidity and radar, enables the creation of multi-experience environments and a fully immersive user experience. Perhaps The Matrix wasn’t as far-fetched as we once thought…

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Blockchain – the subject of much hype over the past year, with its promise to reshape industry by reducing business friction and providing greater transparency, blockchain has been much discussed of late. In reality, current blockchain technology simply isn’t mature enough to deliver on its promises. That doesn’t mean that it won’t develop rapidly and businesses need to start to take it seriously, looking at the different options as they progress, ready for mass adoption over the next few years.

Smart spaces – a combination of some of the aforementioned technologies, smart spaces look set to become more commonplace over the next 12 months. Connecting people, processes, services and things, smart spaces are both digital and physical environments where humans and technology interact in intelligent eco-systems, resulting in a more immersive and automated experience for everyone and everything involved.

Ethical working – 2018’s GDPR brought the issues of data privacy and ethics to the fore, with more and more people now concerned with how their data is being used. Where the priority for 2018 was how to ensure compliance, 2019 is predicted to see a gear change from compliance to ethics, with businesses putting the necessary privacy-enabling tech and processes in place as it’s the right thing to do.

Quantum computing – another technology that won’t see mass adoption in 2019 is quantum computing. With its potential to quickly and effectively solve problems across a number of different areas and industries, quantum computing will create business value and underpin future business differentiation, and is maturing faster than people realise. As with blockchain, business leaders need to start to understand the technology now, particularly with regards to how it can be applied to real business problems, ready to make full use of quantum computing in earnest from 2023 onwards.

Find out how Sapphire can help you embrace new technology in 2019.

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