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Following the fortunes of our future - 15 technology predictions for 2019

(Image credit: Image Credit: Bbernard / Shutterstock)

One of the side effects of the pace of scientific and technological advancement is a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows. New discoveries, both in theory and in practice, drive emotions of expectation and hope. Yet, in pushing boundaries, the same developments are tinged with risk and exposed to mismanagement, misuse and mischief.

2018 has been no different. From successfully coordinating a landing on Mars to the accidental discovery of an enzyme that can devour plastic waste, new discoveries are smashing glass ceilings when it comes to expectation of how we can address some of the major challenges we face globally. Similarly, the increased threat of cyber attacks on national critical infrastructure and continued warnings as to the over-valuation of technology stocks and a potential economic crash only serve to bring the harsh realities of today into the forefront.

Heraclitus was a Greek philosopher and is widely regarded as the source of the comment, “change is the only constant in life”. And how right he continues to be with 2019 looking as exciting and turbulent as this year. From the anticipated response of governments to technological change, to the growing impact of robots on the workforce and what we can expect from some of the founding fathers of the modern day tech sector, our team has compiled some of the most likely trends they think have the potential to disrupt the tech industry in the next 12 months:

Government and legislation predictions

  • Testing will become a Government regulation across the globe - Government is going to mandate a validation of connected technologies before they can go into the market, like cars. This will lead to a standard creation of intelligent tests, much like in the pharmaceutical industry when drugs need FDA approval before a drug is released.
  • Brexit will be a nightmare for CIOs, especially in the public sector, but a windfall for IT consultancies - Separating systems will be a bigger IT nightmare than Y2K and the biggest change management programme we have ever seen. Standardised methods will need to be changed, which will not only be more expensive than building from scratch, but is likely to lead to the automation and digitalisation of a huge swathe of processes.
  • Introduction of robotic legislation - After Brexit, Europe will pass legislation prohibiting the hiring of robots or algorithms to do human jobs, meaning that if a human loses their job, it cannot be replaced on a like for like basis with a machine.

Skills and jobs predictions

  • Huge investment into skills and training - Based on visas and people movement, the UK will invest heavily in a programme of training at both an educational and vocational level to compensate for migration of talent.
  • The rise of the automation engineer - Next year, we will see a 10 per cent increase in people who are traditionally manual testers, becoming automation engineers. We’ll also see the rise in other jobs connected to automation with new management jobs created to specifically take care of robots.
  • The rise of the CPO - Productivity remains a big issue for governments and business. To that end, 2019 will see its measurement become a top line metric and the appointment of the first chief productivity officer.
  • Skills availability will hamper development and progress in the US - Restrictions on immigration will have an impact in the US. These restrictions will result in accelerating the deployment of automation solutions including robots.
  • The rise of the Business Tester - A new role in tech organisations, either in the tech team or in marketing, whose expertise is in the customers and business not technology. This role will test software from a business perspective and is looking for ‘great’ rather than simply, ‘right’. Technical and Developer testers will continue to be essential, but organisations will be augmented with this new business tester role.

Robotics and automation predictions

  • The evolution of algorithms - We’ll see algorithmic technology become self-sufficient leading to things like an algorithm taking a seat on a board of directors. It may even become more common in day to day activities, helping people choose everything from a house to a helping them get married. This may ultimately lead to the beginnings of algorithmic classification.
  • Robots will take jobs, because there are no people left to work -  Many countries (including the US and UK) are at a point of, economically speaking, total employment. In this regard, companies that are expanding and that need more resource are going to struggle to recruit leading to an increase in automation. It’s not that robots are going to take over, but we’ve just run out of people to do the work.

Global technology market predictions

  • Another tech crash is imminent - The tech sector is massively over inflated. We’re less likely to see big companies impacted but a lot of the lower end startups will fail. It will be like the .com bubble of 2001 but in the long-term is will put a lot of unnecessary companies out of business driving skilled people to work in productive companies.
  • Virtual reality will hit consumer healthcare - We can already do GP appointments via video conference and this will be done by VR towards the end of next year.
  • Facebook goes south - While difficult to accurately rationalise next year, in the future we’ll look back and identify 2018 as the year of ‘peak-Facebook’, with its terminal decline starting shortly thereafter.
  • Big tech co. go on bricks and mortar buying spree - Part driven by a combination of 5G and the newly announced digital services tax in the UK, big tech companies will lead a rampage on old, bricks and mortar assets. It seems inevitable that Amazon will get a high st. presence, while Tesla is also likely to acquire a more traditional auto manufacturer, like Ford, for its channel and high st. presence. Other examples include Netflix buying Ericsson or Barnes & Noble.

Growth areas predictions

  • Mobile first - Mobile banking will overtake online banking and will be a precursor for mobile to finally overtake online as the main form of exchange.
  • The inner-city farms will flourish - The combination of IoT, 5G, AI agriculture and nationalism will cause a focus on food production rather than importing, leading to innovative developments in inner city agriculture and green space.

Dr. John Bates, CEO, Eggplant
Image Credit: Bbernard / Shutterstock

John is a visionary technologist and highly accomplished business leader. He pioneered the space of streaming analytics as Co-founder, President and CTO of Apama (acquired by Progress Software in 2005 and now part of Software AG).