What does the New Year hold for technology? The digital-market analysts at Juniper Research have an idea. Ten ideas, to be exact.
Here are the top 10 tech trends for 2019, as predicted by three Juniper analysts: Nitin Bhas, head of research; Elson Sutanto, principal analyst; and Sam Barker, senior analyst.
1. Adversarial machine learning becomes key to security & fraud prevention.
Machine learning is a form of AI that can first spot patterns to establish a norm, then watches for anomalies. In the area of cybersecurity, those anomalies could represent an attempted breach.
AI’s help is badly needed. Cybercriminals are getting more sophisticated, and their attacks have become both more numerous and more damaging. “Adversarial” means machine-learning systems can be programmed to actually adapt to changing attack conditions, hopefully staying one step ahead of the bad guys.
2. AI enhances Edge computing power in IoT systems.
There’s new value in data collected on the “edge,” rather than stored data. This includes data from sensors, mobile devices, even smart buildings. Artificial intelligence can help by collating these new data types in formats that help managers make decisions about the business.
One reason AI is needed: there are going to be a whole lot of IoT sensors out there. Juniper predicts 50 billion IoT connections will be used worldwide in 2022, more than twice as many as there are now.
3. The Banking-as-a-Service economy emerges.
Banks really like the power of APIs, which can be used to create financial products that combine services from multiple suppliers.
In Europe, PSD2 (Payment Services Directive) actually requires banks to produce APIs that essentially open their data to third parties. Juniper expects this trend to develop beyond Europe, too. That could include new financial products that make use of consumers’ wearables and smart speakers.
4. RCS messaging contests chatbots & over-the-top (OTT) business platforms.
Rich communications services (RCS) is a communication protocol for smartphones that could replace traditional SMS texting.
The big advantage is that RCS can also include multimedia. In this way, RCS could open up new and engaging methods of communications for retailers, banks and others. More than 60 network operators have already launched RCS networks, and the protocol is currently available in 45 countries.
5. RPA ramps up.
Robotic Process Automation involves software robots that can automate repetitive tasks now done by humans. The next wave of RPA will use AI to make the robots even more efficient. Among the first applications will be financial services, especially in the area of accounting.
6. Voice assistants become a service-led market.
Nearly 1 in 10 households worldwide will have a smart-home speaker device next year, Juniper predicts, with even higher adoption rates in some countries. That creates a big user base for premium services that will encourage more use — and more spending.
7. Automotive OEMs disrupt established business models.
Autonomous vehicles are coming. The big question, Juniper says, is how to monetize them and achieve a return on investment.
To do this, auto OEMs will explore new strategies that disrupt the traditional model based on car ownership. We could see the emergence of Mobility as a Service (MaaS), which will likely be based on subscriptions models.
8. Blockchain moves into the food chain.
The technology can be used to accurately, independently and quickly track food shipments. Juniper predicts that $150 million worth of food will be tracked by blockchain next year. Pilot schemes will come first, followed by the first commercial implementations.
9. Loot boxes are banned across Europe & North America.
Loot boxes are used for gaming, as a way to spend either real or in-game currency. Different games offer different kinds of prizes in their loot boxes.
The problem, some experts say, is that loot boxes can be as addictive and costly as regular gambling, making them unsuitable for games played by kids. Juniper predicts that governments will introduce legislation in 2019 classifying loot boxes as a form of gambling, and therefore subject to all the regular gambling restrictions and laws.
10. Chatbots will play a central role in the insurance claims process.
Using AI and machine learning, insurers will increasingly serve customers with bots. And they’ll do so while keeping the customers satisfied with fast service and engaged in real-time discussions.