As 2018 draws to a close we have been fortunate enough to work with fantastic clients across a range of sectors and for each project we pride ourselves in choosing the most appropriate technology that balances a fit for the current and future needs of a business.

There are times when a ‘bleeding edge’ piece of tech is called for but in most cases this is something you’ll want to avoid.

With that in mind here are our thoughts on what 2019 will have in-store for our sector.

2018 Gartner Hype Cycle
2018 Gartner Hype Cycle

Gartner recently published their top 10 strategic trends (https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/gartner-top-10-strategic-technology-trends-for-2019/) from that list and our own experience we would hone in on:

Immersive technologies

Augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR) and virtual reality (VR) aren’t all that new, they’ve gone through the hype curve, down again and are now seeing some really great practical use-cases.

They range from entertainment and gaming use-cases through to training firefighters:

We see clients in the UK & Ireland now considering AR on projects we have been involved with whether it’s using the newly released ARKit from iOS or ARCore from Android these features are now much more accessible to developers across the world for inclusion in projects.

Blockchain

If you haven’t heard this term before you must have been hiding under a rock but in short it is a mechanism for storing data that ensures the historic data entered cannot be manipulated. It’s also designed to be distributed and publicly maintained.

It’s not a new thing, it was first worked on back in 1991 and famously conceptualised in 2008 with the creation of Bitcoin. At it’s core the foundation of a blockchain does a great job of verifying data but it’s far from perfect. We do believe in the future promise of this technology with predictions putting $3.1T of value by 2030 however you don’t have to dig to far to know the issues that face the current blockchain models that are immature compared with tried and tested data storage mechanisms.

A-side from being a buzzword and people seeking to benefit from the gold-rush effect of creating a new blockchain service we expect to see a shift over the next few years in what technologies are used to drive the chain with newer more efficient solutions coming out like Baidu’s solution unveiled this year (https://cointelegraph.com/news/internet-giant-baidu-unveils-energy-efficient-super-chain-blockchain-protocol).

Our own interest in blockchain will come from ‘Blockchain-as-a-service’ solutions that will inevitably come from the giants of the cloud infrastructure industry such as Amazon with their Blockchain product (https://aws.amazon.com/blockchain/?nc1=f_dr) and cryptographically verified database solution QLDB (https://aws.amazon.com/qldb/). This intersect is where we believe the real value of blending blockchain into the mix of technology will yield tangible results for business and organisations.

Digital ethics & privacy

With 2018 being dominated by GDPR and its implications we will see a continued focus on the drive for greater privacy and data security all based around the ethics of having a digital footprint.

Gartner’s post phrases the question appropriately with ‘The conversation should move from “Are we compliant?” toward “Are we doing the right thing?”’. Many business won’t be compliant but may not even understand why, we are working with clients old and new on ensuring they understand the data composition of a solution and use services like Amazon’s Key Management Service (KMS) to encrypt data without storing decryption keys on the servers and avoiding a compromise down the line.

To build on this further, Tim Berners Lee announce Solid (https://solid.mit.edu/) this year a project that aims to decouple personal data from operational data. It’s a really interesting project with great ambitions in radically rethinking the way web applications work and we will be following the progress of Tim and his team.

Some other things of note:

Artificial intelligence (& AI powered software development)

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of a variety of tools in a developers remit that with the advances over the recent years means it’s feasible for businesses to make use of a trained artificial intelligence to help with everything from customer facing solutions like chatbots or even data driven insights by simply asking a question.

We have solutions in the pipeline that will use AI to help guide users through processes and ultimately are designed to improve the customer experience.

Progressive Web Apps

We’ve been talking about them for a few years but finally with the latest iOS release Apple have come on-board and provided the service worker support that was missing. The traditional apps will still have a place (particularly graphics heavy ones) but we will gradually see a lot of the services we consume daily offering a PWA to give greater control over the deployment process and a variety of other benefits that come from skipping the store.

Microsoft and Google have been backing PWAs heavily in 2018 and we expect this to continue as some of the larger platforms embrace PWA and overtime as customers perceptions shift it will become a realistic option for smaller businesses.

Summary

While these represent some of the newer pieces of technology the overall trend is that 2019 will see increased digitisation and digital transformation of business processes and this is where we see the most value and benefit for the clients we work with day-to-day. It’s good to look at what’s coming and the ‘sexy’ things that are coming but most of the benefits of digital transformation are the relatively ‘boring’ applications of simply digitising product registration, CRM systems, and micro-services to integrate different elements of your business, streamlining processes and unlocking efficiencies.

We work with our clients to identify the most appropriate technology to help solve real business challenges.

If you would like to chat to one of our team about how you can reap some of the benefits that digital transformation offers please get in touch and let’s arrange a time to discuss how we can help develop your digital potential.