Technology is now central to every industry — from building construction to healthcare administration to food production.
2019 will be the year we see new use cases emerge as AI creates new possibilities for
personalization, monitoring, and marketing. It will also create new challenges around how to regulate data and access.
CB Insights, an internationally renowned research organization, look at the top tech trends poised to reshape industries in 2019.
The smart home and healthcare are converging. Autonomous vehicles are coming for last-mile delivery. And data is becoming a hot-button geopolitical issue.
1. The hyper-personalization of everything
In 2019, get ready for even more tangential streams of data to broaden the opportunities for personalization
The more data collected about an individual, the more intimately companies believe they can understand and market to them.
In 2019, we’ll see an increase in cross-industry collaborations to better understand users and offer them more fine-tuned products.
Personalization is inspiring more than just new product features.
It’s also helping set preferences for services that are otherwise one-size-fits-all.
Autonomous vehicles, for example, might use personalization data to offer responsive car settings.
2. The smart home targets the senior citizen market
There’s a major difference between the senior of 10 years ago and seniors today — older people are much more comfortable with technology.
And as tech-friendly generations age up, new markets open up as well. We’ll see smart home-based healthcare technology enter the senior citizen market in 2019 as a passive tool.
In October 2018, Amazon was granted a patent to detect “abnormal” voice conditions like coughing, sore throats, and even different emotional states like sadness and excitement. If a senior is coughing, Alexa might suggest that they order medicine. If programmed to do so, this coughing data might even go directly to a loved one or a care provider.
The more passive behavioural data we have on seniors, the more likely these devices will be used to detect major behavioural changes that signal a medical problem.
3. Malls are out. Retail moments are in.
Traditional retail outlets might be struggling, but shopping itself is still as popular as ever, the channels are just changing.
But retail isn’t just moving online. It’s also starting to infiltrate other
aspects of our offline world, like car rides.
Startups like Cargo are tapping into the idle moments that riders spend in cabs. Cargo installs boxes with products from big brands inside the cars of ride-hailing companies like Uber. If a customer gets into a Cargo-equipped car, they can scan a QR code or enter
a numerical ID to browse the car’s inventory and choose a product to purchase. Now, the 30 minutes that might have otherwise been wasted in traffic can be used to buy an iPhone charger or a bag of chips.
Major brands are already signing on to these new retail moments and using them as an opportunity to pilot and sell products.
Cargo sources products from big brands, from Kellogg’s to Coca-Cola.
Theoretically, these retail moments aren’t limited to cab rides.
They can be anywhere, enabled by the rise of technologies like augmented reality, cashierless stores, and smart factories.
In the future, you might be able to pick up dish detergent on your way home from work at the Walmart pod that sits in your lobby.
4. Maps become a layer for all kinds of real-world data
For most, maps are a feature of a smartphone. A user pulls up Google Maps, types in “bars,” and navigates over to the nearest one.
But there’s more potential for maps than just locating nearby happy hour spots — in the future, maps might offer a user bar recommendations based on past preferences, connect them with friends in the area, and even warn them from visiting locations that have high pollen counts.
In 2019, maps will begin to become a layer on which we do everything from communicate to compile data.
5. Last-mile delivery gets automated
The promise of autonomous driving hasn’t quite arrived, but last-mile delivery may be the first place where we see fully autonomous fleets deployed.
In 2019, expect more companies to begin using autonomous vehicles in their last-mile deliveries.
Major grocery companies and retailers have started piloting autonomous vehicles for last-mile delivery in communities across the US. AVs can reduce fuel costs because they are often electric and need less power to carry cargo than people. They also, of course, save on the cost of paying a human driver.
These pilots are part PR and part strategic initiatives — both for the retailers and the vehicle makers.
6.Tech comes for your sleep
Tech has already infiltrated your waking hours. Now, it’s coming for your sleep.
From smart mattresses to smart pillows, the products that are being released into the sleep market aim to improve sleep by tracking some of the most enigmatic hours of our days.
In 2019, we will see that the trojan horse into this industry is wearable technology.
7. Data becomes a hot-button geopolitical issue
If data really is the new oil, we’re starting to see owners of this data protect it like they would a precious resource.
With tech company data breaches and misuse in the spotlight, and more people recognizing the power that comes with owning mass user data, expect to see more push back around who gets to hold and own data in 2019.
8. Smart buildings maximize comfort, wellness, and efficiency
Whether it’s home offices or coworking spaces, we’re seeing a new emphasis on comfortable, intuitive office spaces.
We want our offices to be places where we can do our most productive work, from ergonomic chairs to the right type of lighting.
In 2019, expect to see the word “comfort” used as a metric more often, and to see increased effort to bring greater comfort to buildings and workplaces.
9. Buses and logistics providers go green
Convincing individual consumers to change out their conventional gas-powered
cars for electric vehicles is a steep ask.
It’s expensive, and owning an electric vehicle can still be inconvenient.
Coupled with the urgency of decreasing emissions and the longterm lowered costs that come with electrification, expect to see other large fleets of vehicles go green in 2019.
10. China sets the bar for social network innovation
As of October 2018, the world’s most valuable private tech company is China’s Bytedance, valued at $75 billion.
The company operates a video mashup app TikTok, which allows users to record videos, overlay them with music and filters, and share them with friends. $75 billion for a video app may seem like a lot, but the company is popular across the globe.
In the future, we expect to see more China-based social networking activity influence Western tech, especially as companies from China start to cross borders and gain market share with non-Chinese users.
11. Electric vehicle makers expand into lifestyle products and services
Buying an electric vehicle is an environmental choice for some and a luxury purchase for others.
As electric vehicles inevitably overlap with the luxury vehicle market, many customers may be ready to buy into alternative lifestyles. And for electric vehicles to compete against traditional combustion engine vehicles, they need to sell everything — the luxury, the environmentalism, and the lifestyle.
12. Tech apprenticeships grow in popularity
The tech industry moves fast. It’s not always easy to gain skills in college that employers are still looking for after graduation.
Big tech companies are also starting to offer their own internal apprenticeship programs. IBM, for example, takes in apprentices and trains them on the specific skills needed for roles that involve cybersecurity, data analytics, and product management within the
Apprentices are all ages and come from a diverse range of backgrounds.
So does this signal the end of college? Probably not. But for the tech savvy, apprenticeships are an emerging, more affordable option.
13. Digital swag makes big money
The craze around digital goods and collectibles is a trend that will continue into 2019. While these goods can’t be owned in the physical world, they come with clout, and offer personalization and in-game experiences to otherwise one-size-fits-all characters.
They’re also just fun.
Investors are betting on the rise of these goods.
For individuals, digital collectibles open the door for personalized, immersive experiences. And for companies, digital collectibles are one way to offer a diverse range of experiences within their ecosystem.
Most importantly, users are willing to shell out for digital swag.
14. The new healthcare clinic is your home
The lack of affordable, widely available medical care is a well-documented problem.
In rural areas, hospitals and clinics are often many miles away.
There aren’t always certified professionals available and patients often put off trips to the clinic if the issue doesn’t feel urgent. While telemedicine can solve some of these problems, tech startups in 2019 will start to focus more on another distribution method: at home kits.
Companies are launching home kits for everything from sequencing the microbiome to DNA testing to check for health risks.
These kits can help make services that may otherwise be expensive and hard-to-access more affordable.