13 business and technology trends for 2019

28 February 2019 Consultancy.eu 7 min. read

In a new thought paper, consultants from The Next Organization have identified 13 business trends and technology-driven developments which they predict will have a disruptive impact on society and organisations in 2019. An overview of the trends.

Better self and a better world 

Consumer wellbeing; towards a more ethical lifestyle
Consumers start to understand that the current impact of human beings on the world needs to be changed. This mean that people not only start to live healthier (nutrition), but also want to have more insights in the origin of food and goods. In 2019, the following ethical trends will predominate: plastic-free produce, plastic-free packaging, compostable carrier bags, plant-based foods, natural fabric clothes, clothing re-sale and recycling schemes. 

Middle class movements
The middle class have always been an important target group, as they are both the foundation and driver of consumer markets. The middle class rise versus retreat movement asserts that while middle classes are booming in developing countries, they are struggling to maintain the economic position they enjoyed for decades in developed countries. 

Sustainable Business Models
Growth is at the heart of the business model. But the foundation of this model was developed decades ago. Over the last year a new term has been rising up – the sustainable business model (SBM). SBM’s aim to generate profit by providing products and services that directly and/or indirectly reduce the pressure on the (social) environment. With the upcoming 2020 climate goals of the European Union and significantly increased general awareness, SBM’s are emerging rapidly. 

13 business and technology trends for 2019

People are getting more and more aware of their health and the methods they can implement in order to prevent diseases. With this movement, a new trend has emerged and will rapidly grow in 2019: biohacking. This movement basically involves controlling external stimuli leading to the creation of the optimal self. It is about hacking the body using natural or technological resources to maximise physical and mental performance. 

Immersive interactions

The experience economy
In an experience economy, organizations fulfil a different role in society and serve customers differently. Namely, they do not merely provide customers with product and services, but they focus on providing customers with personal and memorable experiences. Moving from extracting commodities, making goods, delivering services to creating experiences, that is where the origins lie of the experience economy. In 2019, the experience economy will evolve further. 

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
Augmented Reality (AR), adding digital elements to a live view by often using a camera on a smartphone, and Virtual Reality (VR), offering a complete immersion experience out of the physical world, have been around for a while now. In 2019, some of the technological boundaries that have prevented these technologies from really picking up steam will be removed, creating possibilities in both B2C and B2B contexts. 

Voice technology
The rise of voice technology is clear. In the US for instance, every fifth living room or kitchen is equipped with a smart speaker nowadays and 73% is using it mainly for actualities and entertainment (e.g. news and music). The technology enables voice assistance through a smart speaker which creates a three-way interaction between devices, services and people. 

Beyond human capacity 

Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are hot. AI refers to the broader concept; the ability of computer systems to perform tasks commonly associated with ‘intelligent (human) beings’. ML allows a computer application/program to recognise and learn from patterns in data as well as to improve capabilities without human assistance. AI and ML will both play a crucial role in delivering personalised content experiences, with marketers set to adopt AI and ML in order to stay ahead of the competition.

13 business and technology trends for 2019

3D printing
In 3D printing (3DP) – also known as additive manufacturing (AM) – a design is created of an object using software, which the 3D printer then uses to create the object by adding layer upon layer of material until the shape of the object is formed. The object can be made using a number of printing materials, such as plastics, powders, filaments, paper or fabric, but also living tissue (bioprinting). 3DP offers the possibility to create whatever you can think of, you name it and a 3D printer can make it. In 2019, 3D printers will be more visible in daily life as the technology becomes cheaper and more accessible.

Internet of Robotic Things
Internet of Things (IoT) and Robotics are trends that are not new in itself. IoT refers to a network of billions of physical devices around the globe. These devices are equipped with Internet-connected sensors that provide ongoing data collection and sharing. Combining robotics and artificial intelligence by sensor technology is also referred to as ‘Embodied Cognition’ – implying robotic systems to perform tasks that are learned by means of training (and by which they become self-learning). IoRT is the next level of IoT; integrating sensors into robotic systems. 

Secured sharing

Privacy, morality and trustworthiness
In 2019, a tipping point is expected to be reached in the area of privacy. Trust issues, for instance faced by social media giant Facebook, continue to grow in a larger discussion on moral standards and privacy, since these form the fundament for society and organisations. 

Open ecosystems
There is a shift from using closed technical infrastructures to open platforms that enable a complete (digital) ecosystem available to everyone. In 2019, ecosystems will continue to evolve. With more and more devices connected, the amount of data available is endless and with the first 5G devices entering this year, the availability and speed of data will rise. Moreover, businesses with different profiles but operating in common markets with common customer profiles will seek to strike mutually beneficial partnerships. 

Blockchain technology is a technique to store information in a decentralised manner in order to achieve transparency. Blockchain is a distributed ledger across a peer-to-peer network with miners that make sure the interactions done on the chain are legit. In the past year, more and more organisations started experimenting and building with the blockchain technology, and this trend is forecasted to continue into 2019. 

For more information, download the publication ‘Trend Report 2019: A world full of change’ from the website of The Next Organization.