Tech Trends 2019

A look at what will impact your business this year

Tech Trends 2019

A look at what will impact your business this year

The ripple effect of technology will be felt far and wide across organizations in 2019. Not only will technology create new opportunities, it will expose deficiencies, invite disruptors and challenge businesses to rethink how they engage with customers. Sourced from more than 400 minds representing 30 nationalities, Tigerspike's 2019 Tech Trends explores themes relating to design, business operations and of course, emerging technologies.

The ripple effect of technology will be felt far and wide across organizations in 2019. Not only will technology create new opportunities, it will expose deficiencies, invite disruptors and challenge businesses to rethink how they engage with customers. Sourced from more than 400 minds representing 30 nationalities, Tigerspike's 2019 Tech Trends explores themes relating to design, business operations and of course, emerging technologies.


Trauma-informed design

Increasing access for those hardest to reach

Trauma-informed design

Increasing access for those hardest to reach

Traumatizing events such as war, natural disasters, child abuse, and domestic violence can affect a person’s ability to communicate, answer basic questions, or think and act rationally. Trauma-informed design seeks to recognize these effects and respond with an experience that prevents further trauma or re-traumatization.By starting with the assumption that all users may be currently experiencing trauma of one kind or another, this approach invites greater consideration of how products and services may be unwittingly marginalizing the audience they exist to serve.   With over 70% of the world’s population experiencing a traumatic event in their lifetime, trauma-informed design increased in relevance in 2018 and will continue to do so in 2019. Originally conceived as guidelines for designing inclusive physical spaces such as hospitals, public housing, homeless shelters and schools, 2018 saw the application of the principles of Safety, Trust, Choice, Collaboration and Empowerment in a number of high profile digital services. Examples include; Project Callisto, 1800 RESPECT and Sunny, a mobile app designed for women with intellectual disabilities to recognize and respond to violence and abuse. In 2019, as more services are digitized and access to real people becomes increasingly limited it will be more important than ever to design products and systems for those hardest to reach. 2019 will see more organizations acknowledge that design must go beyond basic adherence to accessibility standards and focus on truly understanding how their audiences may be impacted by the psychological effects of trauma, cognitive impairment, equity of access and unconscious and conscious biases.

Predictions

Trauma-focused digital services In 2019 the one-size-fits-all approach to service delivery will begin to give way to increasingly personalized services, targeted at the specific needs of the individual. By taking a trauma-informed approach into consideration in the design of these systems, we will see an increase in services purposefully designed to minimize traumatization and marginalization. More equitable access for all Organizations, and government agencies will grow cognizant of the political and cultural biases latent within the technology sector and seek to redress the imbalance by engaging a far broader scope of users as well as support a larger range of devices and platforms.


The Crowdsourced Concierge Economy

The Gig Economy will become the superpower of customer engagement

The Crowdsourced Concierge Economy

The Gig Economy will become the superpower of customer engagement

In our 2018 Tech Trends, we discussed how technology platforms were accelerating the Gig Economy. 2018 was no disappointment in the global expansion, impact, and controversy surrounding companies like Uber, Airbnb, Wonolo and Postmates. In front-line customer experience management where average turnover rates of 26-45% are the norm, the war to recruit and retain passionate, qualified talent is an acute ongoing challenge. As routine customer interactions and tasks are digitized, companies are increasingly challenged to attract and retain the right people to address pressing friction points in their customer journeys. As many are realizing, a well-designed chat-bot or AI can only go so far. Often it’s a passionate, skilled staffer behind those memorable “moments of truth” that drive true customer lifetime value. Could the Gig Economy and freelancers be the answer? Changing demographics, shifts in attitudes towards work, and digitization are leading a global movement towards freelancing and Gig Economy work. Studies show Gen Z, Millennials, and even older “Perennial” generations are increasingly seeking work-life balance and a more experience-based nomadic, pared-down lifestyle. Freelancers represent ~35% of the US working population and could represent more than half the country’s workforce by 2027. In the US, the freelance workforce has grown three times faster than the overall workforce and the number of freelancers in the EU doubled between 2000 and 2014, making them the fastest growing group. In 2019, we will see more companies redesign their frontline operations to better balance the delivery of concierge level customer experience with the rapidly evolving demands of their workforce.

Predictions

Growth of the Gig marketplace Leading organizations will aggressively adopt mobile and online Gig Marketplace approaches that help them orchestrate customer engagement between people passionate about their products and those that need help. Feeling the pinch Companies will suffer even greater staffing and CX challenges if they fail to plan for the changing global demographics and attitudes towards work.


ML everywhere … almost

Machine Learning, as a subset of AI, will become even more democratized

ML everywhere…almost

Machine Learning, as a subset of AI, will become even more democratized

While we are still reasonably far from the world of Generalized AI (a self-learning entity) the ongoing “Democratization of AI” by providers such as Google, AWS, IBM and Microsoft has, and will continue to, enable use cases for businesses that would have been inconceivable or prohibitively expensive just a couple years ago. Most cloud providers now provide at least two levels of Machine Learning functionality for businesses to leverage: Models and servicesPretrained ML models and services (such as AWS Rekognition) that can be leveraged on-demand by simply making an API call PlatformsPlatforms such as SageMaker that eliminate some of the heavy lifting around training, tuning, and deploying a model


Service level AI/ML use cases (such as generic natural language processing and image recognition) can now be used with little to no knowledge of the tech that enables them and for relatively low cost. Once novel AI-based tasks such as sentiment analysis, recommendation engines, outlier detection, facial recognition and comprehension are becoming ubiquitous. Platform level services are opening up a new generation of AI-based use cases that are specific to a company’s business, particularly predictive machine learning models. Such platform services enable relatively generalist engineers to start to experiment quickly and relatively easily with AI/ML based use cases. However, engineers are quickly learning that such ML experiments require copious amounts of “fuel” in the form of data. This, in turn, has caused an even more intense emphasis on finding and curating data (bringing concepts such as “Data Lakes” to even greater prominence).

Predictions

Common ML use cases will become more prolific Lower “barrier to entry” ML use cases such as language recognition, speech and visual labeling will start to pop up in unlikely places due to it being relatively easy to leverage at low cost. For instance, more research-based websites will start to leverage chatbots, or even voice, to speed navigation to sought information. AI (ML) will create new types of complementary roles Fears over mass job losses will begin to abate as businesses start to hire new types of roles to specifically deliver on the opportunities created by AI. Because ML is by its nature non-programmatic, new ways of “debugging” will need to be developed to validate the ML model predictions. This will be the domain AI Explanation Engineer, a new role, born out of AI/ML.


Data is the new oil

The importance of data will match that of oil in the post-war economy

Data is the new oil

The importance of data will match that of oil in the post-war economy

The power of (big) data for business is already well understood; from loyalty programs to supply chain optimization — this is nothing new or noteworthy. What is new is that the general approach to data globally will become highly analogous to the rise of oil in the post-war global economy throughout 2019. Consider the parallels: Highly desirableJust as modern economies developed an insatiable hunger for the fuel oil provides, recent AI breakthroughs like Machine Learning have a near insatiable need for (and are effectively powered by) massive amounts of data. Highly availableMobile devices previously caused a step function increase in the generation of data. This trend will be exponentially increased by the increased adoption of IoT. This coupled with efforts of cloud providers such as AWS, Google and Azure bring concepts like Data Lakes to the fore making it easier to catalog and mine data. Generates wealth2016 marked the first time the largest 5 companies in market cap were all tech companies and most owe at least some of their rise to data. Some companies and even government agencies will start to find large potential revenue streams centered around the data they control. HazardousJust as an oil spill can have a devastating effect on the environment, a “data spill” (data breach) can have wide and long-lasting negative effects on their victims (such as with the Equifax breach). Initiatives to prescribe precautions and exact fines for negligence with data have grown in strength over recent years (culminating in GDPR) and will continue to do so in 2019.

Predictions

Personal Information Scarcity The balance of power in the marketplace for personal data will shift back to the consumer. Tighter compliance requirements, coupled with more data conscious consumers, will have a dampening effect on the use of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) related data. Businesses will look to tools such as Data Republic and Dataguise to build more rigor around data compliance. Products to Services Product and manufacturing companies have led the way in transforming their businesses with data. Boeing and McDermott International are using additive manufacturing and digital twinning to redefine their businesses. The use of data to evolve business operations in manufacturing and other industries will dramatically accelerate in 2019.


Mindfulness over Mobileness

Screen time will give way to more human interactions

Mindfulness over Mobileness

Screen time will give way to more human interactions

The smartphone has transformed our lives and brought with it innumerable benefits. So embedded in our lives is the technology, that, for over 80% of us, our smartphone is one of the first things we look at in the morning and one of the last things we put down at night. In 2018 we began to see a trend away from wanting to be constantly connected. In 2019 this trend will gather momentum. In young children especially, excessive screen time can inhibit their ability to develop fundamental skills, such as self-soothing, by developing a dependency on screens to provide emotional support. For others, their addiction to connectivity can have a negative impact on their personal relationships, state of mind, physical condition or ability to focus for long periods of time.  Many Technology companies are aware of both the impacts of excessive screen time and the trend away from 24/7 connectivity. Apple’s Screen Time allows users to monitor and limit time spent on apps. Google’s Digital Wellbeing recognizes people want their devices to improve life, not distract from it.  On the hardware side, new categories of ‘companion’ and ‘secondary’ devices have emerged, such as Palm and The Light Phone. These devices are aimed at the user who wants to be connected but not interrupted by the apps and notifications on their larger smartphone. Whether it’s by making a conscious effort to disconnect more often or by adopting devices that simply don’t enable us to do that much, the trend towards a less connected life will continue in 2019.

Predictions

Companion devices will not take off, but it’s not their fault Whilst the concept behind a simpler, less intrusive device has significant appeal, powerful market forces will hinder the ability of new entrants to deliver on their vision without significant compromise.  More schools will ban smartphones In mid-2018, the French Parliament voted overwhelmingly (62-1) to ban smartphones and tablets from schools for students aged 3 - 15. In 2019, we will see other countries across Europe, the Americas and Asia follow suit.


Flexible business operations

Businesses will need to change old habits to avoid oncoming headwinds

Flexible business operations

Businesses will need to change old habits to avoid oncoming headwinds

In 2018, we saw customer expectations continue to put pressure on businesses to innovate quickly. We saw more disruptors than ever flood the market and we witnessed a staggering number of once loved household names fall victim to the retail apocalypse.  To stay ahead of the game in 2019, businesses, in all sectors, will need to rethink their relationship with technology and how they leverage it to deliver value to customers and shareholders.  In 2018, organizations who were unable to deliver a consistent and valuable experience across each stage of the customer experience were punished with the deafening silence of abandoned stores and branches. As described by leading tech industry analyst Charles Araujo, to gain a competitive advantage, businesses must successfully enable the spread of IT far and deep into the enterprise to support and enhance the customer experience. This requires a cultural shift which has already begun and will continue in 2019. Tensions between IT, Marketing and Line of Business will be replaced by a common understanding that technology and user experience must be in lockstep at each stage of the customer experience. Businesses will also be challenged to change the way they procure technology. Many organizations have begun to realize that traditional ways of purchasing technology hinder their ability to deliver innovation at the velocity dictated by either their internal strategy or external market forces. Businesses who are able to adopt new purchasing behaviors will see success in 2019, as their ability to scale, flex, fail fast and iterate will see them outpace their competitors. In 2019, organizations who operate in Integrated Markets will need to look at how they modularize their business to avoid being disrupted in the future.  The integrated incumbents who operated the Music and Mobile Phone markets of the early 2000s were severely disrupted by new entrants who innovated in a single part of the value chain.

Predictions

Traditional industries will begin to modularize their operations. In 2019 we’ll see the Construction, Agriculture and Insurance industries come under pressure from competitors who utilize digital to disrupt the status quo and push integrated incumbents further away from the end customer. Buying agile will be easier Organizations will become more comfortable with procuring digital services that don’t guarantee a predefined outcome. On the flip side, service-based businesses will develop bundled pricing models, helping to reduce to overall cost of technology ownership.

Understand how these trends may impact your business

Contact Us

Understand how these trends may impact your business

Contact Us