The digital world is changing and improving at an expotential rate, here are the top 8 ways technology will shape business in 2019:

1: 5G

Consumers will be itching to get onboard with 5G in 2019, as carriers roll out limited installations that work on a small number of devices. Beyond 2019, 5G will bring improved speed and battery life to smartphones, as well as the growth of fixed wireless for residences, competing with wired broadband for some communities.

5G’s wireless technology will also make it into corporate local-area networks: An extension of the licensed 5G spectrum into a new, lightly-licensed band, CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio Service), will allow businesses to set up their own, completely private 5G data networks. For some IoT installations, this could be a compelling solution.

Wi-Fi 6 and 5G will coexist as critical wireless technologies for the enterprise. It will, however, be a challenge at first to find ways to manage networks as users and devices move between them. The two technologies are highly complementary and will be even more so when network management tools evolve to handle them side-by-side.

2: Wi-Fi 6

Wi-Fi 6, also called 802.11ax, is an upgrade on the current highest-speed Wi-Fi protocol in wide use. Wi-Fi 6 brings a dramatic improvement in efficiency across all existing Wi-Fi bands and will also likely get new spectrum in the 6GHz band in 2019 or 2020, further improving its speed.

The biggest improvement that comes with Wi-Fi 6 is that it increases the density of devices that can co-exist in a single space, further increasing the speed of all devices when there is more than one. This technology will eventually improve the experience for almost all wireless users, from office workers, who will find that their devices communicate more reliably and quickly in crowded offices, to people supporting constellations of IoT devices, who will find that they can pack more low-power devices into a space with fewer access points. The reliably deterministic nature of Wi-Fi 6, combined with its speed, means it should be usable for life-safety applications, including things like remote surgery devices.

3: Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovations will continue to bring scientific breakthroughs, in part, thanks to the vast amounts of data that new technologies have been collecting and is now available. In 2019, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence will be embedded in the business platform creating and enabling smart business operations. Advances in Machine Learning technology and algorithm training will result in new and more advanced AI. Autonomous vehicles and robotics are the two industries that will see the most rapid developments during 2019.

Image of Waymo One’s driverless taxi

4: The first driverless taxis won’t change the world (just yet!)

There are two schools of thought surrounding driverless cars. One is that the technology is 99.9% complete and that soon “level five” autonomy will be reached, meaning that cars can safely drive themselves in any situation. When that happens, the world will undergo rapid change, as driving jobs begin to disappear, urban spaces are reshaped and road travel becomes safer by the day.

The other is that the final 0.1% is harder than all of the previous progress put together. And so we’ll remain, for years, with cars that work well enough to demonstrate, to put on the streets with safety drivers and continue being tested, funded and improved – but not quite well enough to actually build a business around.

In the meantime, however, a 99.9% good enough car is good enough to run a taxi service – and the Phoenix based company, Waymo One (Uber’s competitor), is launching. What’s most interesting about the service is how… uninteresting it is. The taxis aren’t significantly cheaper than the competition; the journeys have the occasional glitch, as overcautious algorithms get stuck at T-junctions.

5: Digitzed spaces:

New high-resolution geolocation technologies based on wireless radios in mobile devices, plus data mining software, are creating opportunities to understand how people and things move through physical spaces. Companies that adopt these technologies will get access to information about the users of their buildings that will open up new possibilities for business extensions and improvements.

Any business with customers at its sites (retail, education, medical, hospitality) will be able to see not just which spaces are used, but when and by what type of customer. For example, a retailer might be able to tell precisely when recipients of a coupon visit a store. A hotelier could tell if loyalty card members are using the health club. Educators would be able to track patterns in teaching spaces.

Additionally, digitized spaces will help network managers. They’ll be able to identify areas where wireless service is weak, allowing highly precise deployment of new access points. And in security, it will be easier for analytics engines to notice unusual patterns of movement among wireless devices that could indicate physical beaches.

6: Blockchain

A blockchain is “an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way”. For use as a distributed ledger a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol or inter-node communication and validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires consensus of the network majority.

In 2019, for the delight of organizations, Blockchain is going to bring the first enterprise applications in active use. The most innovative corporations will start using Blockchain as a way to improve collaboration. Some uses of blockchain include; cryptocurrencies, contracts (although their legal status still remains unclear), banks and video games.

7: Augmented Reality (AR)

Advances in Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR), all of which can be summarized in R+, will continue to be at the forefront of attention during 2019 with some fascinating new practical applications for industries.

R+, which once was only found in video gaming has been quickly advancing to become a useful tool in industries such as engineering design, manufacturing, healthcare, space exploration, and many others. Virtual Reality is going to open up to innovative industrial applications that will change how people work and collaborate across geographies.

8: Machine Learning:

Companies will start to adopt Artificial Intelligence, in particular Machine Learning, to analyse the telemetry coming off networks to see these patterns, in an attempt to get ahead of issues from performance optimisation, to financial efficiency, to security. The pattern-matching capabilities of ML will be used to spot anomalies in network behaviour that might otherwise be missed, while also de-prioritizing alerts that otherwise nag network operators but that aren’t critical. Just as we instinctively know which of the little aches we feel in our bodies are new and which are just part of being who we are, networks will get to know themselves and be able to flag the appropriate issues.


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