What technology will drive the biggest changes in 2019?

Recent outages from some of the world’s biggest companies, including O2 and Facebook, have raised questions over how prepared infrastructure is to deal with the latest technology. From the O2 outage alone, payments systems went down, car parking tech didn’t work and transport systems failed. 

While there are significant developments happening every year in technology, we are still some way off seeing some of the much-anticipated tech that was predicted to have an impact in 2018. With the year coming to an end, it’s time to look ahead at what we can actually expect from 2019.

AI will continue to grow

AI is going beyond attention-grabbing gimmicks and is impacting everything from HR processes to measuring stock in retail. This is where the most significant developments will be made in 2019. According to the 2019 State of Future Workplace Tech report, nearly 30% of enterprises with 1,000+ employees are currently using AI-powered security solutions and this figure is expected to grow more than 60% by 2020.  

One in four IT pros also believe that among emerging technologies, AI will have the biggest impact on business. This could mean anything from streamlining processes to changing the way companies hire. As a result, we can expect 2019 to be the year that employees and consumers start to notice the impact of AI during everyday activity. This will likely mean a more seamless experience for both consumers and employees when interacting with an organisation.  

IoT devices will enter the workplace

The rise of AI has also seen an increase in adoption of IoT devices such as voice assistants and even Alexa-powered microwaves. While use of these devices in the home has been growing, in 2019 we are more likely to see this spread further to the workplace.  

What this means, however, is that this makes the businesses in question an attractive target for cybercrime. Botnets such as Mirai pose a worldwide threat to IoT devices and unless organisations protect themselves, there can be serious consequences.  

With 47% of employers stating cybersecurity as the most important skill they will be looking for in 2019, it shows just how front of mind security will be this coming year.  

The job market looks promising

With so much  new technology to implement in the workplace, it’s no surprise that IT is shaping up to offer lots of exciting job opportunities in 2019. Spiceworks’ 2019 State of IT Careers report found that approximately 30% of employers plan to grow their IT departments in 2019. This is likely to be because of the growing need to improve IT infrastructure, especially as result of a GDPR.  

Simultaneously, 1 in 4 IT pros are planning on looking for a new job next year, with 62% of those who are looking stating that a higher salary is the main driver behind their search for new employment. 2019 therefore looks to be a year of opportunity within the IT industry both for employers and employees. With the fact that 36% of IT pros expect to get a raise and 16% expect a promotion, it could mean that the hunt for a higher salary pays off.  

Email will reign supreme 

Despite some claims that chat apps will take over email, they are still seen as supplementary to email rather than a replacement. Only 16% of IT professionals believe collaborative chat apps will replace email.

However, they are growing in popularity. Microsoft Teams for example has grown from only 3% of companies using it in 2016 to 21% of organisations using the platform in 2018, this is a significant uplift considering that Microsoft Teams is only two years old.  

Tech under the spotlight 

Overall, 2019 will be the year that technology is watched closer than ever. It’s no longer just about cool innovations, it’s about regulation and how organisations can protect themselves in a cyber world. Threats are coming thick and fast and a Marriot-style mishap can be detrimental to many businesses. There has never been a stronger need to take new technology such as AI and work out ways to implement it beyond just offering a cool customer experience.  

The next 12 months will see relevant, reliable and practical technology come to the forefront as it revolutionises the things that really matter to people. Gimmicks using technologies such as Lexus’ recent ad made by AI can be great at driving publicity but where new technology really gets interesting is when it changes behaviours, improves processes and makes a genuine difference to people’s lives.

Peter Tsai, Senior Technology Analyst at Spiceworks