Being on top of key digital transformation trends might look like a simpler task this year. At least most of the buzzwords seem to be the same from last year. But there is increasing evidence that this is exactly what is changing in 2019. The year holds a promise that rather than buzzwords they are something very real and concrete, and more utilized in real-life business cases.
These technologies are implemented and leveraged across industries. Since technology in itself does not equate to digital transformation, this change will impact societies and organisations on a very wide and massive scale. Due to that when looking at the trends presented below, a more comprehensive and broader reflection is recommended.
Elevated and Immersive Experiences with Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality
2018 has been a year of increased augmented interaction. Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Mixed Reality have scaled their range of capabilities and productivity and added advanced learnings that allow for the user to naturally interact with blended reality. Their development, especially true for AR will ramp up in 2019. This year companies are expected to focus on the range expansion of these conversational platforms to detect emotions, and facial cues to make the user experience more immersive. These technologies are also expected to find use in employee training besides maintenance and repairing of machineries across industries.
Blockchain – The decentralised and distributed online ledger
Blockchain is a system that eliminates the need of a middleman while protecting information through cryptography. Data stored on Blockchain is resistant to unauthorised changes or intrusion. The technology is also expected to possess capability of faster, safer and more reliable automated communication based on its ability to support multi-directional communication and transactions. This automated environment by default produces an inerasable record of communication and potentially is an asset that will set businesses apart. Technology firms continue to invest in the potential of blockchain applications. Though fintech is a clear application area for blockchain, we have also seen a host of other applications that go beyond cryptocurrency – especially in transportation of goods and services. We can expect this trend to strengthen.
Artificial Intelligence, Advanced Data Analytics and Machine Learning
AI has the potential to accelerate the current pace of digital transformation by making machines smarter and technology’s interaction with humans, transparent and explainable. Companies are already adapting artificial intelligence for various different business needs and this pace will increase in 2019. Data is at the heart of these intelligent organisations making business-critical decisions powered by AI. Decisions on boosting innovation, marketing and sales of competitive products, delivering exceptional services, hiring the best, keeping those top employees happy and implementing strategy in the smartest way. This trio of AI, data & machine learning are at a focal point of all these technology trends. New data is being produced at a massive scale – 90% of the data that exists has been produced in very recent years. The fact that less than 2 % of that data is utilized is a driver for technology trend in itself. With especially the tech giants in India, US and elsewhere hopefully taking the lead on that, organisations will make progress this year in being more successful in data being made into impactful business analytics. Data driven organizations have better learned to realize the importance, impact and potential of the data on hand and will be better positioned to do that with improved processing power fueling increased machine learning. The technology leader companies with others following suit will invest more into to data powered by AI & machine learning, leading to a substantial increase in data utilization.
Big Data and Cloud
The volume at which data is produced today and the insights underivable due to absence of analytical tools application is daunting. However, the growth of Big Data in Cloud has led to its benefits being leverageable by companies across sizes and industries. Predictive Analytics offering customized insights based on business needs, has helped in generation of increased amounts of customer leads, greater understanding of buying behaviour and wider scope for cross-selling. This year is also expected to increase availability of free data and software tools on Cloud. Open source becoming more mainstream will benefit small organisations, with its capabilities extending to varied industries like manufacturing, health and wellness, and telecom.
Data – Management, Privacy and Protection
Big Data and advanced analytical tools have resulted in most companies accessing and extracting insights from wells of data. With insights drawn from existing data becoming the source of newer business and revenue models, Data Value Management will be a pertinent boardroom conversation. Data Value Management is expected to become a major investment, driving digital-first companies to invest in creating more data to learn from, and leverage those insights to re-engineer models. With stricter implementation of data protection regulations, and growing interest in data value management, 2019 will be the year of innovative tools used to extract granular insights from data available, without jeopardizing confidentiality clauses. Considering the distributed nature of data, development of solutions that allow data to be aggregated and analyzed will become a boardroom priority.
Digital transformation will continue to change how we do business in every industry far beyond this year. The change in how we work, socialize, and interact is tremendous. And though revolutionary in its impact, this paradigm change is evolutionary in its nature. At the heart of this change is an intersection, where the above-mentioned technologies, people, societies, organisations are joined together, converging, complementing and evolving together.
The shift has started, it is very much on-going and it will never be over. Embrace it.