Wiser Technology Advice Blog

Top 4 Technology Trends for 2019

Sonya Weiser - Thursday, January 31, 2019

Welcome to 2019 from Wiser Technology Advice. In this blog post I’ll talk about the top 4 trends that I predict for the year ahead.

Have you given any thought recently to how technology can help to improve your business?

There are some great opportunities for affordable technology for small businesses and not-for-profit organisations in South Australia. But the rapid pace of change and myriad of choices in technology can make it feel complex and overwhelming.

Wiser Technology Advice is here to help, simplifying the complex and advising you about technology that’s right for you. Get in touch with me today to explore your options for 2019.

These are the top 4 trends I am predicting for 2019...

1. Benefits and risks of the hyper-connected Internet of Things

internet of things

Consumer electronics are increasingly connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). Homes in 2019 have TVs and fridges that are connected to the internet. Your FitBit connects to your phone that connects to your smart watch. The infrastructure in our community is all connected via the internet too, from traffic monitoring systems to water and electricity, it’s all sharing data using the IoT.

The roll-out of the NBN has helped support this growth of a hyper-connected world, and the introduction of 5G networks this year will enable smarter and faster IoT applications. This means we're set to see robotics, automation, virtual and augmented reality and Artificial Intelligence getting even smarter and faster.

But with the great benefits of all this connectivity come great risks. Hackers are exploiting the woefully inadequate cyber security on smart home devices, for example using these devices to build powerful botnets, capable of delivering devastating DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks to online services, taking websites offline for days at a time.

To mitigate the risks we’ll need to have increasing awareness of cyber security and there’s sure to be more regulations put in place to protect our privacy. In 2018 the European Union introduced the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the trend towards more regulation is expected to continue.

2. Increasing affordability of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence chatbot

Artificial Intelligence is becoming more affordable and accessible for governments, small and medium businesses and not-for-profit organisations in South Australia. I predict an increase in services and products which incorporate Artificial Intelligence, without this necessarily being obvious to the customer.

In December 2018 I attended an Artificial Intelligence Collaborative Network (AICN) event, where we listened to a range of technical topics by speakers from the University of Adelaide's Institute for Machine Learning.

The last speaker was one of the founders of Frontier Microscopy (based at the University of of Adelaide's ThincLab, where I’m a mentor). They've developed an AI enabled microscope that performs analysis of air filter samples for detection of asbestos and Synthetic Mineral Fibres (SMF) in under two minutes, for up to 600 filter samples per day.

I also predict in 2019 we’ll start to see more Artificial Intelligence in our infrastructure. This will be necessary for to support driverless vehicles on our roads.

In August 2018 I attended a Hewlett Packard conference where I learnt about edge computing and learnt that combining the latest in artificial intelligence with microprocessors operating in Internet of Things devices opens up endless opportunities to get value from all the data that’s gathered.

AI on the edge

For example, artificial intelligence can be used for traffic management, by combining microprocessors with traffic cameras at intersections. The artificial intelligence algorithm in the microprocessor can analyse the unstructured data coming in from the live video data feed. When it detects a number plate of interest, that part of the video is sent to operators for further review.

3. A push towards acceptance of driverless vehicles

Google's driverless car prototype

Driverless vehicles are already used on some closed, private road and rail networks, and I predict it won’t be long before they’re in common use on our public roads.

A 1500-strong survey was conducted recently by mining giant Rio Tinto to understand people’s attitudes to driverless technology. Rio Tinto operates more than 200 trains on more than 1,700 kilometres of privately owned track in the Pilbara, transporting ore from sixteen mines to four port terminals. Each autonomous train comprises two or three locomotives and some 240 ore cars, making them each 2.4km long. Rio Tinto has dealt with speeds, collision avoidance, obstruction, level crossings, complexities of weather and terrain to get this sorted. This lays a solid foundation for the use of driverless vehicles in everyday life.

But the public doesn’t feel ready to trust the technology. More than half of the respondents to the Rio Tinto survey said they’d never feel safe in a driverless car.

I believe the problem people have with driverless technology is giving up the illusion of control. With a human behind the wheel, it’s up to us to decide what we should do when things go wrong. But ceding this decision making to a driverless car’s algorithms can feel confronting. There’s debate about whether the technology should sacrifice the life of the person in the car in the event of an unavoidable collision. For example, should the person in the car be sacrificed or should the car or a crowd of school children in the path of an accident be sacrificed?

The difficult transition period while we deal with these issues is similar to the difficulties society faced when horse-drawn transport was being replaced by motor vehicles. When the technology was first introduced in Britain a 4 mph speed limit (2 mph in town) was legislated for road vehicles, there had to be at least three people be on board, and somebody waving a red flag was required to walk in front of the car at all times. Meeting an oncoming horse meant the road vehicle had to be brought to a full stop!

The change to driverless vehicles is inevitable and it is coming now. Earlier this month Bosch announced they have been awarded a government grant to test a highly autonomous vehicle on high-speed rural Victorian roads by the middle of the year. The aim is to improve the safety on rural roads, where drivers are five times as likely to be killed in a crash than in metropolitan areas.

4. Growing interest in blockchain technology

blockchain technology

The fourth major trend I predict for 2019 is a growing interest in and use of blockchain technology.

I’ve attended two blockchain conferences over the last two years. The first of these, in 2017, featured speakers who were explaining what blockchain is. By 2018, the conference speakers were exploring why and how to use blockchain technology. There’s an international blockchain summit 18-20 March, to be held in Adelaide Convention Centre which I’ll attending. It will be interesting to see where the conversation has progressed to this year.

Blockchain has the potential to be as revolutionary as the introduction the internet. I started my career in the 1980s and working without the internet (not even email!) was a world away from today’s hyper-connected online business environment.

Blockchain technology provides the ability to share transaction data without the need for a central authority such as a bank or share market. It removes unnecessary middlemen, allowing more efficient business processes and improving service delivery.

Want to know more?

If you’d like to talk further about anything I’ve written about, get in contact with me today, I’m always happy to meet and have a chat over a coffee!

Further reading...

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