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2019 Technology Trends – A Meta-Analysis

It has been a year since I last followed technology sector trends professionally. Prompted by a job opportunity, I completed this meta-analysis to refresh my knowledge. I began by identifying 21 sources published in December 2018 or later that headlined with 2019 technology trends. The sources draw from major consultancies (Accenture, Deloitte, KPMG, and PwC), research firms (Gartner, Info-Tech, Kiplinger), popular press (CNBC, ComputerWorld, and Forbes), and more. See the full list below.

I recorded the topics mentioned in each source and then created an affinity map to group identical or similar topics across the sources. I deleted any topic with only one or two mentions. This culling weeded out narrow topics such as “foldable displays”, which tended to appear in the popular press sources. To maintain the focus on enabling technologies, I also deleted trends related to technology application in other sectors (e.g. healthcare and agriculture). The lengthy (381 pages) Future Today Institute report covers many such adjacent sector applications.

Info-Tech and PwC sources are more narrative and lack a top-x call-out. For these, I assigned topics based on mentions within the narratives.

The following chart summarizes the number of sources that mention the remaining 16 topics. In the case of ties, I ordered by my sense of importance in 2019.

horizontal bar chart for 16 topics
How many sources mention the topic?

In the chart, I shaded “Ethics, Privacy, and Trust” and “Tech Backlash” gray to highlight that these are different in kind. These topics are “concerns” and, unlike the rest, not “enabling technologies”.

Observations

Because I didn’t complete a similar analysis for 2018, my comments on year-over-year changes are based on my memory. With limited success, I also used Google

to seek validation.

  • Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) fell off the top-trends for 2019. This is despite significant progress in the past year with producing metal and production-quality parts. Google Trends does not substantiate a fall-off — with search frequency flat since January 2018.
  • It is no surprise that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning are in the top position given the breadth of applicability, the continued pace of technical advancement, and the number of production deployments in the past year.
  • Blockchain still garners many mentions, albeit Google Trends shows a decline since January 2018 and commercial success is still complicated and limited.
  • Quantum Computing appears on more top-x lists this year even though the technology is still years away from widespread use. Again, Google Trends does not substantiate — with search frequency flat since January 2018.
  • Digital Twin is mentioned more often than in 2018. In this case, Google Trends does confirm some upward movement. I am a bit surprised by the position on the chart since the topic has more limited application compared to RPA and Voice UI, which are lower on the chart.
  • Edge Computing is similar, including Google Trends showing some upward movement since January 2018.
  • Similar to Digital Twin, Analytics is more an application of foundational topics. The sources agree:
    • BBVA says “[Augmented Analytics] represents another stride for big data, by combining it with artificial intelligence. Using machine learning (automated learning), it will transform the development, sharing, and consumption of data analysis.”
    • Gartner leads with the same “Augmented Analytics uses automated machine learning to transform how analytics content is developed, consumed and shared.” Gartner positions “augmented analytics” as the third wave of analytics. The first wave was IT-led and took months to gain insight. The second wave was business-led, visual, and required between hours and days to gain insight. The third-wave, Augmented Analytics, produces instant or near real-time insight.
    • Fleishman Hillard says “Augmented analytics focuses on AI’s potential to enhance human intelligence rather than replace it. Essentially, by automating the process of data preparation, insight generation and visualisation, nonexperts can have greater access to big data insights than ever before.”
    • Info-Tech spotlights Immersive Analytics and says “By combining user-facing AI and digital twin technology, [immersive analytics] will allow users to see into the data collected from sensors on physical objects just as easily as they can see the world around them.”

Many more observations driven by the chart are possible; but, I will stop here (at least for now) since this blog is already becoming rather lengthy. If I continue to invest in technology trends, my inclination is to next go deep with an analysis of a particular topic. As always, “stay tuned” for further updates.

Sources

  1. Accenture: Technology Vision 2019: The Post-Digital Era is Upon Us. Are You Ready for What’s Next?
  2. BBVA: Nine Technology Trends in 2019
  3. Business Insider: 8 China technology & electronics trends to watch
  4. CNBC: Tech Trends 2019
  5. ComputerWorld / IDG: Top 4 enterprise tech trends to watch in 2019
  6. Deloitte: Tech Trends 2019
  7. Deloitte: Predictions 2019
  8. Digital Trends: 5 tech trends to watch in 2019 (and a reality check on last year’s picks)
  9. Fleishman Hillard: Tech Trends 2019. The Fads. The Fears. The Future.
  10. Forbes: Top Tech Trends In 2019: 11 Experts Detail What You Need to Watch
  11. Future Today Institute: 2019 Tech Trends Report
  12. Gartner: Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2019
  13. Info-Tech: CIO Trend Report (received in email)
  14. KDnuggets: Top 10 Technology Trends of 2019
  15. Kiplinger: 10 Tech Trends to Watch for in 2019
  16. KPMG: Top 10 Technologies for Business Transformation
  17. Ooma: 5 Top Enterprise Technology Trends for 2019
  18. Persistent: The Six Tech Trends of 2019
  19. PwC: Technology Trends 2019. The importance of trust
  20. Simplilearn: 8 Top Technology Trends for 2019 and the Jobs They’ll Create
  21. Splunk: Five Technology Trends to Embrace in 2019: Security and Beyond

Published in Portfolio Sector Research

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