5 min read
on Dec 14, 2018
Here's what's to come in the world of real-time technology for 2019 – chatbots, AR, instant gratification, edge computing, and more.

It’s that time of the year again where we look into our crystal ball and predict what’s to come for the upcoming year. From the Internet of Things to small businesses to big data, there’s a ton of predictions for 2019 – and we’re joining in with our list of trends for 2019 in the real-time space. These bold predictions gaze into the future and forecast how we will move data instantaneously, and the impact real-time will have on the technology space.

Instant Access to Data Will Be Everything

The top trend in technology in 2019 will assuredly be the move to instant access to data, information, and communication. As consumers increasingly experience their information consumption in real time, their patience with batched, or otherwise delayed, access to data in the workplace is reaching zero. Meanwhile, as vast floods of big data stream through the organization, the need to analyze it in motion, and distinguish signal from noise before it hits the data lake has hit a furious peak.

The infrastructure to deliver on this real-time information demand, however, is deceptively hard to build: initial rollouts are relatively facile, but, as applications hit scale, unexpected limitations and challenges appear, from connection limits to network fragility, to geographical delivery complexity.

Once this problem is solved (as often as not by contracting with specialized Platform-as-a-Service vendors), however, industries can be fully transformed:

  • Instant connections between process participants have already re-shaped transportation (taxi medallions are near-worthless while ridesharing is a $40B business)
  • Exercise (Peloton turned the mundane exercise cycle into a $5B business)
  • Gaming (Fortnite is nothing without the community inherent in its gameplay)

And this revolution is on the horizon for every other industry segment that isn’t already transacting in real time.

Instant Gratification Getting More and More Instant

We want it, and we want it ten minutes ago. We want it with no friction, no barriers, and most importantly, without talking to a human. If we don’t get it, we are perturbed. We’ve been conditioned to loathe waiting, especially for digital services, and the impatience has crept into our daily life. Regardless of what ‘it’ is…

Across every vertical and industry, businesses are pivoting towards instant gratification, and the art of delivering data, product, or experience right when the user demands it. The masses are armed with smartphones and applications. This handheld accessibility to technology has made the on-demand economy integral to how we operate on a daily basis.

You can have somebody else do anything for you with the push of a button – your laundry, your grocery shopping, your child’s ride to soccer practice, your dog’s walk to the park. Across the globe, the on-demand economy has revolutionized urban centers and rural areas alike. And it’s growing rapidly as new apps flood the market to solve problems, both minuscule and mission critical.

Of course, instant gratification as a business principle transcends the delivery of goods and services. Enabling on-demand information, experiences, and human-machine interactions in the real world open up a whole new realm of possibilities.

Computation Moving to the Edge

To cope with the massive growth of devices and the data they’re creating and streaming, as well as the explosion of data stream-based apps (think Uber, Gojek, WhatsApp, Climate Corp), we need to push computation to the edge. We need new computing infrastructure that lives beyond the centralized data center. More advanced computation needs to take place – we can’t keep pushing that computation to core servers, as this is increasingly wasteful, time-consuming, and expensive. Traditional web infrastructure, with its request/response model, simply cannot handle these new requirements.

Edge computing deals with these challenges by moving computation as close to the device as possible (ie. “the edge”). When it comes to powering an ever-growing number of IoT applications across every industry, edge computing will make the biggest impact on performance and reliability. An infrastructure that can handle millions, if not billions, of devices and end users constantly emitting and consuming large streams of data is about to become table stakes.

AR Beyond Gaming

In 2019, AR will move from single-user use cases to multi-user use cases. Their real value will lie in the synchronization of actions and the exchange of data between one another, connecting users in a seamless real-time experience. From immersive multiplayer gaming experiences (can you imagine laser tag with AR features?) to more efficient and safer industrial IoT, multi-user is the next step for AR, and the biggest trend for the new year.

Speaking of industrial IoT…

AR will also grow out of entertainment and gaming domination and find widespread adoption in industrial IoT, manufacturing, and healthcare. Real-time alerts, synchronized collaboration, intelligent data retrieval, and multi-user 3D modeling will play a huge role in empowering workers – from builders to healthcare professionals – to work more efficiently, to better collaborate with one another, and to make the world a safer place.

Chatbots Will Grow for Small Businesses

Small businesses are constantly searching for new, innovative ways to engage prospects and customers without breaking the bank. For small businesses that live on the Internet (eCommerce for example), or deliver a technology product (SaaS-providers, API companies), there is a huge need to provide a valuable, knowledgeable conversation unique to every user, but without having to employ the resources to staff it around the clock, in what is becoming, in our highly connected world, a dizzying array of customer languages.

Chatbots provide limitless scale to engage with prospects and customers, no matter where they’re located, at any time. These helpful chatbots can quickly and naturally converse and help users – whether it be answering questions, solving issues, or delivering timely offers or notifications.

So why is 2019 the year of the chatbot for small businesses? Chatbot technology, whether it be buying a pre-built bot service, or building your own, has never been more accessible and affordable. Delivered through scalable services (Intercom, Tawk), or easy-to-use APIs (Watson Conversation, Amazon Lex) small businesses can build or buy chatbot functionality, and deliver a new, seamless way to interact with their prospects and customers in real time.

We Can’t Wait for 2019!

It’s going to be a great year for real-time technology, and we can’t wait to see what’s to come. We’d love to talk more about your current project or idea, and explore how we can make it a reality: it’s what we’re here for!

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