2018 was another big year in the digital world, particularly when it comes to innovation. With tech like blockchain and AI finding their feet, and voice search and digital assistants changing the way we behave, it’s clear to see how 2018 has had a host of momentous moments. All of these look set to continue to shape the way we act, both personally and professionally, throughout the coming 12 months.
With that in mind, it’s time to look to the future. As we get ever-closer to the new year, it becomes vital for businesses to look ahead to the trends of 2019 in order to start figuring out their digital strategies - and working out how they can align actions with their business goals. New technologies, and the impact that they can have, permeates each and every sector, so no matter what your business entails, 2019 is sure to bring opportunity for innovation.
Here, we take a look at what experts are predicting will be some of the biggest trends in the digital and business worlds moving into 2019 - reviewing how the previous 12 months have helped us to get to where we are today.
The Internet of Things
While the IoT was initially seen as a connectivity solution, 2018 has seen businesses transform how they’re using this technology, and that looks set to continue in 2019. The IoT is all about a network of devices which connect and exchange data, from cars and home appliances to personal tech. However, businesses can now start to look at the scope for broadening the use of this innovative solution.
A recent study found that 45% of IT executives say that IoT has helped boost profits by 1% to 5%, while 41% say the impact has boosted them by 5% to 15% annually. This shows that, if possible, using the IoT premise to expand your business, or consider creating new process lines, could in fact prove lucrative throughout 2019.
AI has been a buzz term for a few years now, but with ever-growing applications, and an ever-expanding knowledge base, this doesn’t look set to stop any time soon. AI, or machine learning, is beginning to play a huge role in the digital and business sphere, in particular within verticals such as digital marketing.
For 2019, it’s expected that we will see more and more businesses making use of AI to streamline their digital presence and better optimise their online activity. This could be through use of predictive actions or trigger-based campaigns - or through dynamic, AI created content, an area which we expect could develop rapidly
Data and analytics
One article from 2018 stated that we have created 90% of the world’s data in the past year, which indicates how rapidly this area of the digital world is expanding. However, the stat that should go alongside that is that we are supposedly only putting 1% of that data to effective use. As the years go by and digital technologies advance even further, it’s going to become vital that brands put their money where their mouth is and begin to put data to good use - rather than just collecting it seemingly for the sake of it.
Data holds a wealth of power which, if used correctly, can be turned into meaningful business insights, and push brands ahead of their competition. If you’re not using data to your advantage yet, and you have it available to you, make this one of your goals for 2019.
Another buzzword that many will already be familiar with is 5G. 5th gen wireless systems are the next step in updating digital networks and improving the speeds with which wireless connectivity can be transferred. For some countries, this adoption has started recently, although it is set to become far more widespread during 2019 - and the years to come. According to the UK Government’s digital infrastructure plans, the UK will start to see 5G adoption next year, with widespread exposure within the next eight years.
With benefits set to include much faster speeds, as well as reduced latency, it’s easy to assume that the move to 5G will see even more adoption of remote portable devices like smartphones and tablets, as well as the potential for a continued increase in reliance on video as a method of conveying information.
Virtual assistants have made a massive impact on the consumer market, and are now predicted to be greatly changing the way that people search for things. If you’re marketing a product or service, and want people to find out about you, then it’s going to become increasingly important for you to include voice search optimisation in your long term business strategy - with research showing that almost one third of the searches performed on Google each day, of which there are around 3.5 billion, are now voice searches.
We also expect to see development in the way that these voice technologies can respond to queries. Continued advancements in areas like natural language processing and automation, paired with machine learning, means that we should see these types of voice assistants becoming even more intelligent. The key now is to work out whether or not it can benefit your business.
Perhaps in connection with the launch of 5G networks hopefully coming next year, it seems logical that video content will continue to grow in popularity, as people benefit from boosted connectivity.
Early market research shows that video is already predicted to be the most successful marketing medium going into 2019. With the average adult attention span being shorter than ever, many will continue to turn to videos when it comes to digesting content. Another angle for this is live video, such as the live streams now popular on many social media channels. However, for businesses considering adopting this approach in their 2019 strategy, do so with care. As the market progresses, video for the sake of video will simply not be enough to gain success.
If you are thinking about your marketing strategy for 2019, think about your brand and what you stand for, and consider how you can best make use of new technologies in order to support and inform this - without losing authenticity.
Whatever new technologies and strategies you choose to adopt over the next 12 months, the digital world looks set to be an exciting place to be. For businesses striving to stay ahead of the curve and take steps past their competition, early adoption of these advances, or using them in a creative new way, is an excellent way to carve out a path to success.