Emerging Tech Trends in 2019
1. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Technology
These systems have been available to consumers for several years now, but, in some regards, they’re only getting started. Just take a look at Pokemon Go, a game that took the nation by storm in 2016, allowing players to use their smartphones to find fictional objects in their actual environment.
But the field isn’t just for consumers: businesses — particularly in the retail sector — are starting to use this technology for the benefit of their customers. Volvo, as an example, has created a reality app, allowing interested shoppers to test drive a new SUV model that wasn’t yet available on smartphones. Retailer Anthopologie is also using augmented reality to give shoppers detailed views of furniture in different colors, fabrics and lighting. Others are using augmented reality and virtual reality technology to allow potential customers to try things on and see how it would look, mimicking the fitting room experience.
2. More Internet of Things (IoT) and More Uses for Them
The Internet of Things is already pretty ubiquitous, so you may be wondering what else there is to add. A lot of the lure behind smart devices is the convenience of it all, so you’ll likely find more devices or services that can easily integrate into your life. Just look at Puma’s partnership with MIT’s Design Lab — in which the two sought to use biodesign, the practice of using living materials to create products, to create clothing and accessories that respond in real-time to the wearer.
And, the longer these connected devices are on the market, too, the more diversified uses people are finding for them. One such example is the concept of voice ordering, or using your smart speakers like Amazon Echo or Google Assistant to purchase any items. Government agencies and communities are also beginning to reimagine their local areas using the sort of real-time monitoring that IoT provides.
3. Increases in Machine Learning Technology
What is machine learning exactly? It’s an arm of artificial intelligence that is based on the premise that systems, like software applications, can learn from data, identify patterns and form solutions. Think: Amazon — when you’re eyeing, say, a festive sweater on Amazon, you will get personalized messaging asking if you’d be interested in similar products based on your shopping history and on what shoppers with similar behaviors and interests have purchased.
As we noted in the previous point, governments in particular can use IoT and machine learning technology to, for example, identify patterns in where violent crimes have increased and reorganize their police forces to have a higher concentration in those areas. The Computer Society is also predicting that this technology can help improve agriculture, ease drought, ensure food supply and improve health in rural areas.
4. Even More Streaming Options
It’s a little crazy to think that Netflix started more than 20 years ago — albeit by a different name. The streaming services giant stepped into the game as video-rental stores were on the decline, but it really got into its stride in the early 2000s.
But it seems like yesterday that other streaming options — like mini cable packages with Sling TV or DIRECTV Now, or standalone channel specialties like ESPN+ or HBO Now.
In 2019, we expect more companies to join in on the streaming services market. We already know Disney Plus will be entering the playing field with its guns blazing as the company owns Pixar, Marvel Studios and the Star Wars franchise. Other streaming services will be adapting to find the right ways to win us viewers over — whether it’s through competitive pricing or original shows and movies.
5. Improvements in Mobile Internet Connectivity
If you didn’t already know it, mobile is king. At the end of the third quarter this year, mobile web traffic accounted for 42.79 percent of all Internet traffic in the U.S., and by 2021, more than half of all web users are expected to access the Internet exclusively through their mobile device.
That being said, it only makes sense that more companies will be investing heavily in and soon rolling out faster and more reliable mobile Internet connections, like 5G.