Except you lay some solid claim to an in-depth background of versatile technology, there is every chance you are trying to figure out how the tech system of 2019, and perhaps beyond, will look like. Being that 2018 saw the introduction – or maybe mention- of some of these advancements, it is very safe to say that this year is going to be about laying the groundwork in the tech industry, more than it would be about historical breakthroughs. In as much as this new 365 is pregnant with excitement and strides, key new technologies will start to make their forays into real, useful applications.
Needless to say is that smartphones will remain the central device by even the end of 2020. But as augmented reality and wearables are progressing at significant rates, it won’t be impossible for us to sense more a paradigm shift in personal computer hitting knuckles on our front doors – if not clenched fists. This will be bolstered by the emerging 5G, the already existing AI and other parameters that will allow gadgets become more infused in varieties of products and services.
While these tectonic shifts are axing out opportunities for innovation, venture capital investments on startups are skyrocketing. WeeTracker’s 2018 funding report has made us understand that over USD 725,6 Mn was raised in Africa in 2018, across 458 deals. As startups are on the race to reach some USD 100 Bn in 2019, the big question swoops in and picks your brain: which of these opportunities will mature in 2019? Many thanks to venture capitalists, tech analysts and hopeful entrepreneurs who help with thoughts on the subject, here are the likeliest tech trends that will define 2019.
There’s no doubt that this year will see the formation of factors such as folding phones and corner-punched holes in them. While that is expected, the big question mark lands on the much-talked-about 5G. The actualisation of the 2019 promises concerning 5G is yet to be, raising even more questions that question the campaign-like assertions from private individuals, companies and even the government. Well, the most vital factuality in 2019 telecom trends for operators to face is that transformation – a substantial shift in technology to accommodate as many market changes as possible.
While it has been somewhat prophesied that the adoption will likely not happen this year, the strongest tech arrow in operator quivers will be the millimetre wave 5G hybrids with fibre to the node. Mobile 5G may be an enabler of new applications, whereas it wouldn’t necessarily increase buyers’ willingness to pay more for their mobile services. In the same vein, 5G FTTN (fibre to the node) is already demonstrating its ability to revolutionise fixed broadband services by radically reducing the costs and speeding up new deployments.
Avi Greengart, a research director of consumer devices at Globaldata, has said that in as much as 2019 marks the beginning of the fifth-generation network, he doesn’t expect to see a 5G iPhone this year. Back-checking that with the already launched Huawei Y9 which has 5G feature, there is some sort of conflict. According to Paul Carter, the CEO of Global Wireless Solutions, industry players are trying to be the early bird that catches the 5G worm. Devices are coming soon in 2019 that will support the development, but there will likely not be a 5G iPhone until 2020.
On Electric Cars
Beyond Tesla, it is believed that electric cars will finally find their footings. Testament to Elon Musk’s work in the space, Tesla is the first thing that comes to mind when the phrase ‘electric cars’ is mentioned. Despite this being the only game in town, the rest of the car industry will awake to electric mobility in 2019. Getting your 220V garage outlets ready would be a move in the right direction, being that somewhere on order some dozens of electric cars models are making debuts this year.
Emerging primarily from the luxury car segment, Audi, Aston, Jaguar, Mercedes and Porsche will all have their says, with big-ticketed electric models en route. But don’t let the hefty price tags give you a wedgie, as more affordable models such as the Mini E and Volvo XC40 are expected to come below USD 50 K. And of course, it won’t be complete until Tesla’s much-awaited USD 35 K Model 3 that is set to launch into the market early this year. Or perhaps Volkswagen’s e-Golf which costs USD 30 K should see wider availability, and near market-mass affordability would be the choice.
What’s more likely is that by the end of 2019, every major car manufacturer will have some electric car model either in showrooms or in production to be launched in 2020. That’s a remarkable accomplishment for the fact that at this modern age electric cars once looked like a 2030 sort of tech dream. It wouldn’t be amiss of me to say that the true adoption of electric vehicles may take another five years – perhaps more. But 2019 marks both the beginning and the end of the age-long combustion engine – that’s for sure.
On Same Day Deliveries
In 2018, e-commerce made a lot of strides in different market niches, making the idea of just being able to get your desired item delivered at your doorstep nothing new, but better. A company known as Sears used mail-order to build a retail sales behemoth that has lasted for 125 years, and Amazon could be said to be the 21st Century version of the Sears catalogue. But despite Jeff Bezos’ efforts, you would still have to wait a few days for your order to arrive in certain areas. Jumia and Konga were also in the doorstep delivery game in Africa over the years, and have fallen just as short of the same-day expectation.
These efforts have become unacceptable to the modern instant gratification world wherein we live and had lent a big hand in the rise of the app-based delivery services, which seemed to only gain more firepower in 2018. In the past year, Uber made a commitment with its Uber Eats platform in just about every market it serves in 2019. Doordash also pressed their powerful buttons to aggressively pursue deals with fast food joints and restaurants to support its own delivery service. Of course, there are others, but we are hopeful the lot of them, including Amazon, will move to expand their same-day delivery options.
One thing every buyer is curious about is to see if any of these companies can turn their app-based delivery enterprises into lucrative businesses during 2019. While the problem yet persists in the African market landscape, we are expecting urban logistics companies in the many to concert efforts to make same-day deliveries no longer a dream, but a reality.
What About Game Streaming?
The prediction is that this year, game streaming services will go mainstream. The idea is to enable users to play top-tier games across a wide range of both older and newer PCs, smartphones and other devices. With the significant growth of PC and mobile gaming, alongside the upheaval in the popularity of eSports, the consumer market is primed for a service that would be able to allow gamers enjoy popular high-quality gaming titles across a wide range of different types and platforms. Gaming streaming isn’t exactly a new concept, and there have been several down-the-drain attempts before now. The challenge here is the delivery of timely, engaging experiences in the often-unpredictable world of cloud-driven connectivity. Well, to me it sounds like an extraordinarily difficult task that requires lag-free responsiveness and high-quality visuals that would be compounded with user-friendly services that customers would literally die to pay for.
Fortunately, important tech advancements are making this possible, including general enhancements in connectivity via Wi-Fi and wide area networks such as 5G – which should improve things even more. There’s also been an adoption and optimisation of GPUs in cloud-based servers, and software advancements that can enable technologies like split or collaborative rendering, as well as AI-based predictions of actions that need to be taken or content that needs to be preloaded. In a collection, these in unison with other related techs seem ready to enable a compelling set of gaming services that could drive remarkable revenue levels for the companies that would be involved.
According to experts, 2018 was a terrible year for blockchain. But there is the belief that this year will be the year of comeback for blockchain, as it will see the return of Bitcoin into dominance. Though it may take a major world market downturn to ignite a spur, investors are hopeful that the harvest will be bountiful. As AI is perched on the edge of the chasm, with early adopters affording confidence for the early majority, the bridge will be crossed into the mainstream, and real problems in the industry will be solved. It won’t just be a matter of ads, search and autonomous cars, but people in a variety of industries will be using blockchain for miraculous breakthroughs. ICOs, when done right, could be very promising, and that may see to the rise of Bitcoin’s unique ability to align all stakeholders around a common mission by means of shared incentives and direct participation.
Also, the difficult transition from speculation to full use will likely be actualised in 2019, especially as the industry waxes from adolescence to adulthood. The first proof of point project that will break out the killer app which will allow users align within the token economy to feel they own pieces of the project may also come this year. It may come from an unexpected source too, gaming perhaps. This will probably make more successes as games do bridge gaps beyond technical users that span across this widely insular technical crowd.