2018 saw the rise of many big tech trends that are now fully-ingrained in IT businesses, small and large – and 2019 is set to be no different. This year, we are on course to see a range of tech innovations take place, that’ll help business-owners and customers reach each other easily and allow them to conduct business seamlessly.
From the continued growth of 5G networks to the advancement of smart technologies, there’s more than enough to be excited for this year, whether you’re already heavily reliant on IT or looking to expand your business. Let’s look at some of the technologies that are slated for mainstream release this year – as well as those that are rumoured – to see how they could benefit you.
For the uninitiated, emerging 5G technologies could be the biggest thing to happen to the tech industry since the launch of wireless internet networks. In short, 5G is the upgrade to wireless 4G networks, offering superior speeds (estimates suggest it could be 4x or 5x faster) and efficiency. This means that not only will mobile transactions be faster, but everything that operates on a 5G network, in your business, will perform better. Of course, the main downside of this is that not every device will be compatible straight away, so businesses might have to invest in expensive new technologies to reap the rewards.
The true effects of the introduction of 5G networks can’t really be measured until we’ve seen it in use. What it does mean for ordinary customers, however, is much faster, more powerful devices that will allow them to engage with businesses on a new level. Just be sure to invest in comprehensive insurance if you’re looking at emerging technologies.
Virtual/ Augmented Reality
In many circles VR and AR seems like a thing of the future, and certainly not something for many small businesses. However, with advancements in 2019, the emergence of VR in businesses could be closer that you’d think. The main purpose of AR for business is for product visualisation – Pokémon Go is a good example of this. It allows businesses to showcase their product in real-time, in 3D, so customers can get a full sense of what they’re purchasing.
Obviously, the wide-spread use of AR and VR relies heavily on the growth of these technologies from third-parties. We’ve already seen the Google Glass try and fail to make an impact, but with Oculus Rift Glasses and Snapchat Glasses making innovations, it could be easier than ever for businesses to integrate AR into their sales.
For those outside of the IT space, blockchain appears to be impenetrable, yet it could be one of the most important innovations for businesses and customers in 2019. Blockchain, simply, is a database that exists on multiple computers simultaneously, with each member of the chain being granted access to their part of the data so it may be added to or changed.
The primary advantage of blockchain is that the data cannot be faked or manipulated, within or without the organisation. Because the data exists on multiple locations, without a centralised database, it can be easily proven if data has been changed fraudulently.
Furthermore, individual layers of the blockchain can be encrypted for use by specific individuals. For example, if you used a blockchain in your small business, you might have full access while different levels of management might have reduced access, increasing security.
While several large tech companies are starting to experiment with blockchain, we’re yet to see a full-scale roll-out. However, if there is expansion in 2019, it could have a huge effect on how businesses operate, making transactions safer and giving customers greater control over their personal data.
AI & Chatbots
In 2018, we saw tech firms investing heavily in Artificial Intelligence, with Google, Amazon, Apple, etc, all upping their game to bring AI to the masses. Some reports suggest that up to 80% of enterprises are looking into new machine learning concepts. The natural next step is to integrate AI in businesses, which we are already seeing on a limited scale, but could expand throughout 2019.
One growth area for AI technologies in businesses is the use of messenger chatbots. While these are certainly nothing new to the customer experience, as AI becomes more sophisticated, chatbots will be able to answer complex questions and deal with customers effectively and efficiently, eliminating the need for staff to monitor your inbox.
Furthermore, with the growth of AI duelling – a process by which AIs learn from each other to discover and fix their own deficiencies – we could see AIs become more sophisticated, faster. This could have a huge impact on how businesses operate, taking people away from physical stores and putting them solely online.
These are just some of the many emerging technologies that could help your business in 2019. Keep up-to-date with all the latest trends to ensure you’re getting the best from your tech.