Technology future predictions: What did tech forecasters get right for 2019?

September 3, 20195 Minute Read

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At the end of each year, tech journalists and thought leaders release a barrage of predictions about what they believe will rock the industry in the 12 months ahead. Many technology future predictions are spot on, some prove a bit ambitious, and a few are so outlandish and dead-wrong that we can’t help but laugh at ourselves for believing them. But then again, even professionals at the top of their fields have managed to make some spectacularly bad calls in the past.

Now that we’re well into 2019 and everyone has started to prepare their predictions for 2020, let’s check in on a few of last year’s most popular forecasted tech trends.

Augmented Reality

After many years of hype with less-than-stellar results, augmented reality (AR) experienced significant growth in 2017 and 2018, largely due to the release of the Apple ARKit framework. And thanks to Snapchat and Instagram filters, consumers have quickly become familiar with this immersive tech. Over the last two years, IKEA, Wayfair, and other retailers have released apps that allow users to “place” products in their homes and offices using digital overlays and photorealistic representations of real objects.

At the end of 2018, many predicted augmented reality would become even more ingrained in our daily lives. So far, this prediction has proved correct as AR shows up in likely and unlikely places.

In May, ESPN announced it would debut it’s new AR viewing options via app throughout the NBA playoffs, according to Forbes. The feature includes a “coach mode” where viewers can watch game replays with on-court diagrams and “player mode” with above-the-rim cameras and more. Additionally, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC features an optional AR system that superimposes navigation graphics onto front-facing camera footage to enhance turn-by-turn directions.

Virtual Reality

Like its cousin AR, virtual reality (VR) was also predicted to make waves in 2019. Some of the most prominent technology future predictions state that 2019 will bring the next iteration of virtual reality technology, VR 2.0. This generation of VR would include support for consoles, standalone VR, and more sophisticated mobile- and PC-powered VR.

However, while Facebook’s Oculus Quest has received rave reviews and the forthcoming HTC Vive Cosmos is already garnering plenty of fanfare, we’ve yet to see any new use cases fully realized so far this year, and some tech critics are losing faith.

“In 2019, VR is a sideshow in a theme park, a marketing stunt, a slide in a PR PowerPoint presentation, a niche hobby for people locked in rooms with a ton of money to spend,” said CNET News Editorial Director Mark Serrels in an examination of VR tech at the CES conference. “And — worse — no one seems to know what direction we’re headed in, or even what virtual reality should be.”

While there’s still hope for VR, we aren’t likely to see massive developments this year.

Internet of Bodies

Internet of Bodies (IoB) is not only one of the creepiest terms coined in tech—it’s also one of the most intriguing trends of the decade. While the idea of implanting and ingesting connected devices may sound a bit terrifying, IoB can save lives and help people cope with a variety of severe diseases and conditions. It can also make payment transactions more convenient, as is the case for thousands of Swedes who chose to have microchips containing personal and financial data implanted into their hands, according to NPR.

But as you might imagine, IoB raises plenty of concerns about privacy, security, and safety. For example, what happens if your body’s data or access to an implanted device falls into the wrong hands?

While IoB devices such as digital pills and WiFi connected implants flow into the mainstream this year, the most significant buzz around this trend has been about the legal and compliance implications—namely in terms of how cybersecurity can keep up.

Blockchain

Most people became familiar with the term blockchain during the cryptocurrency surge of late 2017 and early 2018. Developed initially as a digital currency ledger in 2008, blockchain has won over many industries that recognize the value of a decentralized record where data cannot be altered—at least, not without the consensus of the entire network. By the end of last year, and despite the cryptocurrency crash, tech soothsayers were predicting blockchain would be everywhere in 2019.

While few people talking about blockchain these days, it’s being tested all over the place. For example, Walmart piloted and has committed to a blockchain system to track food supply, which it plans to begin using in late 2019. Additionally, a blockchain startup called Chainlink is helping create “tamper-proof inputs and outputs” for smart contracts, even securing a partnership with Google to lend some serious legitimacy to its mission. In other words, although it may be the least sexy of the predicted trends, it’s one that’s proven right.

Looking into the future

All in all, the top forecasted trends for 2019 weren’t too far off; though maybe some were a tad idealistic. While there’s still an opportunity for a few micro-advancements during the remainder of the year, we’ll likely see many of these tech trends further developed and refined in 2020.

As we look forward, one thing is certain: Tech advancements aren’t slowing, and in most cases, they will move faster than cybersecurity trends. This inevitable reality will give rise to some serious threats, so it’s critical that you constantly evaluate your endpoint security and invest now in highly secure technology for your business.

After all, when connected devices are all around us (and, in some cases, inside us), there’s no telling where or when the next risk may surface.

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