"2019 is set to be the year where we see growth of Extended Reality or XR, the umbrella which brings AR and VR and Mixed Reality MR together under one term. "
Chris Costello, Sync Store
This year we’ve seen the launch of the world’s most powerful tablet, the rise (and possible fall) of bitcoin and the introduction of 5G. As we approach the New Year, Chris Costello, director of technology retailer Sync, explores the top tech developments set to change the world in 2019.
5G has been on the agenda for some time, and while 2018 saw initial testing of the new super fast internet, 2019 is the year 5G goes mobile and mainstream.
Although the iPhone won’t be 5G until 2020, we are predicting this will be a key battle ground for service providers and device manufacturers alike, as companies look to get a head start on their rivals.
The first company to crack this could see themselves pull away from the competition and I’m predicting 2019 will see a race to the start line for the mobile launch of 5G. Although the rollout of 5G will be slow, 2019 will be the year when mobile data truly moves into the fast lane.
No Stopping the Start Up
The last few years have seen a remarkable growth in small startup businesses. According to research from Tech Nation, a new digital tech job is created every 50 minutes and this is set to increase to record levels in 2019.
These micro firms find traditional office space prohibitively costly, which has seen an increase in demand for flexible and communal working space, such as WeWork and Work Dot Life in Manchester.
This agile way of working will see a trend towards smaller and more powerful mobile devices, allowing startups and SMEs to work effectively on the go. Future models of the iPad are set to become faster than before with one of the main features a potential 3D camera, further extending the offer to freelance designers.
It is no coincidence that sales of iPads, iPhones and other mobile devices have remained fairly consistent throughout a difficult time period for their rival desktop models. We expect this trend to fully continue into 2019 as the growth of startups continues unabated so will the sales of the most powerful and flexible models on the market.
2019 could be the year we see tech companies such as Microsoft and Google working together with the UK’s education system to ensure our graduates are future proofed against the rapidly changing demands of the modern workforce.
This has already started to take shape in the Republic of Ireland with Microsoft teaming up with the Department of Education to offer 10,000 hours of free coding lessons for primary school pupils.
But it’s not just Government’s and tech giants who are offering these skills. Smaller bespoke courses are being offered by companies like ourselves at Sync and GBM including, curriculum support and personalised learning. 2019 will also see further roll out of free summer ‘digital boot camps’ which gives students a head start on the latest tech.
In 2019 more schools will embrace the offers training courses and introduce the latest technology into their institutions. This will be part of a wider 2019 trend which will see industry and Government do more to prepare graduates for jobs that may not exist yet.
Extended Reality - The next step in virtual, augmented and mixed reality
In recent years trends towards Virtual or Augmented reality have been viewed as a “nice to have” rather than a key aspect of the digital landscape. 2019 is set to be the year when this changes with the growth of Extended Reality or XR, the umbrella which brings AR and VR (and Mixed Reality (MR)) together under one term.
This will see the technology reach new levels of immersion, creating a new type of livable digital landscape which could completely change the way big brands interact with customers and employees alike.
Although in the early stages of development we are already seeing the first steps towards virtual meeting spaces, where people from different parts of the world can meet in the same digital space, interacting with each other and their surroundings. This will also have a huge impact on the architecture industry with designers able to visualise new building projects in incredible detail with people able to tour their new office before it is even built.
We expect more major tech companies to begin to roll out concepts and products in 2019. XR could completely change the way the advertising industry reaches existing customers and targets new audiences with 2019 being the year that change truly begins.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been gathering pace and crucially moving into more practical day to day functions. AI and machine learning is now bringing us to the point where apps are evolving into something bespoke to the individual user.
In 2019, apps will take data from users’ behaviour and make intuitive changes to how the app operates, improving the user experience. We are going to see more apps effectively learn the preference of the end user, collecting data in real time and adapting the more a person interacts with it.