It’s that time of year when B2B companies begin 2019 planning — evaluating how well their current programs are performing, while thinking about plans for next year. Businesses remain generally optimistic about the health of the U.S. economy, so that’s positive news. And it looks like the tech buzz words of 2018 will translate into big realities in 2019, giving companies new and innovative ways to outsmart their competitors.
Here are five technology trends to watch next year:
Yes, this has been big talk for a while now. Starting next year, you should see 5G everywhere. It’s all the rage in wireless circles as carriers sing the praises of a faster and more responsive network. But it’s also about more than just speed. When added to an existing network and combined with other technologies such as the Internet of Things (loT) and other edge-to-edge capabilities, 5G will transform everyone’s experiences in extraordinary ways with all-new AR and VR experiences.
Companies have realized that going all in on public cloud, private cloud or data center isn’t a great game plan. Sometimes, they need a mix of all three or just a couple. That’s why connected clouds have become a smarter option. Companies willing to customize, such as Amazon and Alibaba, are the ones best suited to help customers with cloud services. Whether that’s cloud-source storage, security, networking or app deployment, the new “multi-cloud” network is where things are headed. And the different workloads running in public and private environments will continue to shape this trend.
Machine Learning and AI
As machine learning and artificial intelligence become easier to use, organizations will see a ripple effect of positive change and newfound profitability. In fact, the U.S. Army is already using machine learning to predict when combat vehicles need repair. Engine sensors record a vehicle’s temperature and RPM and send that information to machine-learning software. Then, the software finds patterns between engine failures in similar vehicles. Imagine having that in the car you drive. You’d know before your brakes failed or your transmission went out. In the retail world, AI can now show you what a piece of furniture looks like in your home. We rely on AI assistants to dial numbers for us, play music and find the quickest route home. In 2019, you’ll have those assistants on your dashboard, as Kia and Hyundai roll out their AI assistants next year. The sales and marketing growth opportunities for companies that harness AI is in the trillions, and the possibilities for businesses remains relatively untapped.
RPA, Robot Process Automation
This is simply automating the repeated clerical software tasks, such as retrieving information. And you do this by employing bots to reduce staffing costs and cut down on human error. But it’s not for everybody. RPA can eliminate jobs, which is why a recent Deloitte UK study concluded, “only three percent of organizations have managed to scale RPA to a level of 50 or more robots.” Installing bots is also more costly and complex than anyone imagined. But then again, the bigger companies like Walmart love it. They use around 500 bots to answer employee questions and retrieve audit documents information. Jobs that Walmart employees say they were tired of anyway.
Today’s intelligent vending machines, such as the IVM Smart Station™ and Smart Lockers, aren’t the soda and pop machines people grew up with. With technology continuing to evolve, businesses can use smart vending machines to distribute anything an employee needs to stay productive. These might include keyboards, power cords and laptop computers. And with a cashless touchscreen and automated record keeping, businesses are harnessing all of the money saving benefits that come with intelligent vending solutions, including a fast and easy way to keep track of supplies.
What are your marketing plans for the coming year, and how will you harness the innovative new technologies to help your business run smarter, faster and more productively?