Top 10 “Digital Technology” Trends of 2019

January 22, 2019

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Ashutosh Mahapatra

Senior Market Analyst

McKinsey, the global management consulting leader, has recently made some intriguing observations from its surveys. While on one hand it concluded that only 26% of the organizations had successfully carried out digital transformation, on the other hand it found that almost eight out of ten respondents had put an effort to reshape their organizations digitally. What we can draw from this is that irrespective of the outcome, organizations seem to be determined to transform themselves digitally leveraging upcoming and established digital technologies.

Here are the top 10 digital technology trends that can have a significant impact in your digital transformation journey.

1. Autonomous Things (AuT)

The idea to make computers and other digital technologies work in a physical environment sans any human direction will be a reality soon. There are many fields where autonomous things have become prevalent including Robotics, Vehicles, Drones, Appliances, and Agents.

The use of AI-based systems in various fields differs based on degrees of its capability, coordination, and intelligence in the respective area. For instance, the field of drones is the first area influenced by AuT to deploy self-navigating drones.

Major automobile manufacturers have predicted that they will reach level four of autonomous driving (i.e. completely self-driven vehicles) by 2021. According to Gartner, 10% of new vehicles will have autonomous driving capability by 2021, which indicates a rapid surge in growth when compared to <1% growth witnessed in 2017.

2. Augmented Analytics

Augmented Analytics automates data knowledge and data preparation with the help of machine learning and natural-language generation. These solutions enable IT community and data scientists to concentrate on strategies. It also improves accountability and empowerment by creating Citizen Data Scientists. Gartner predicts that through 2020, the number of Citizen Data Scientists will rise five times quicker than the number of expert data scientists.

AI/ML plays a major role in this scenario. Looking at the current growth of augmented analytics, it can be predicted that by 2020, more than 40% of data science tasks will be automated.

For instance, Augmented Analytics powered by AI engine finds potential use cases in patient care, medical training to doctors at remote locations, hospital operations, and drug research development lifecycle.

3. AI-Driven Development

According to Gartner by 2022, at least 40% of the new application development projects will consider hiring artificial intelligence developers on their teams.

AI-driven development trend is evolving along in three dimensions:

  • With AI tools a professional developer can infuse AI-powered capabilities and models into an application without the involvement of a professional data scientist

  • AI-enhanced solutions such as augmented analytics, automated testing, automated code generation, and automated solution development will speed the development process and empower a wider range of users to develop applications

  • AI-enabled tools are expected to perform complex business/ domain analysis, automating a general development process to help design a business solution as an outcome

4. Digital Twins

In 2017, Digital Twin was named as one of Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2017. Digital Twin refers to a digital replica of a real-world system or entity. By 2021, 50% of established industrial companies will use Digital Twins, with an estimated outcome of 10% improvement and effectiveness in their operations. The use of digital twins vary with respect to various factors that include:

  • The robustness of the models considering the support they provide for specific business outcomes

  • The link to the real world, potentially in real time for control and monitoring

  • The implementation of advanced big data analytics and AI to facilitate new business opportunities

  • The potential to interact with them and assess “what if” scenarios

Digital Twins provide advanced processes to handle product and asset maintenance/ management in the following industries:

  • Healthcare

  • Utilities (Electric, Gas, Water, Waste Water Networks)

  • Locomotives

  • HVAC control systems

  • Buildings; Large structures e.g. offshore platforms, offshore vessels etc.

  • Aircraft engines

  • Wind turbines

5. Empowered Edge Computing

Gartner reveals that storage, computing, advanced AI and analytics capabilities will expand the potential of edge devices through 2028. Edge computing would also get a push from 5G connectivity, as a result, the network latency will get reduced. 5G is estimated to start rolling out in 2019. However, it will take 5 to 6 years for 5G to mature and meet the standard parameters. Edge computing would be dominant in mission critical applications where data/network lag could be detrimental such as healthcare, space missions, or grid power failure.

6. Immersive Experience

Apart from superior graphics and adventurous user involvement, immersive technology has emerged as the latest means of presenting product or service experience to the consumer base. It is predicted that 70% of enterprises will be experimenting with immersive technologies for consumer and enterprise use by 2022. However, only 25% of these experiments would be taken ahead to be deployed to production. AR and VR applications such as design visualization, training and simulation, voice-activated chatbots, field service chatbots, and marketing are set to give “multi-experience”. It would be easier to integrate such features in a factory environment or targeted workspace.

7. Blockchain

Blockchain is a secure digital ledger of financial transactions that are programmable to record virtually any type of information apart from economic transactions. BFSI (Banking, Financial Services, Insurance) and Fintechs are the industries which would witness disruptions due to blockchain.

According to Gartner, Blockchain will create $3.1 trillion in business value by 2030. These increasing list of blocks, that are linked using cryptography, allow digital information to be distributed and not copied. This will help create the backbone of a new type of internet.

8. Smart Spaces

Gartner defines smart spaces as digital or physical environments populated by humans and enabled by technology, which are increasingly intelligent, connected, and autonomous

Trends including edge computing, AI-driven technology, digital twins, and Blockchain are driving towards this trend as individual solutions become smart spaces.

9. Digital Ethics and Privacy

Digital ethics and privacy is a growing concern among consumer, enterprises, and governments. The users are increasingly worried about how their private information is being kept and used by companies in both private and public sector, and there is a high probability of fallout for organizations that are not proactively resolving these queries.

By 2021, enterprises that purchased compliance risk and are held lacking in privacy protection will have to pay 100% more in compliance costs than best-practice-adhering competitors. The latest initiative regarding Digital ethics could be seen in Europe with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) act.

10. Quantum Computing

Quantum Computing (QC) is one of the types of non-classical computing that functions on subatomic particles’ quantum state represented as elements, also known as quantum bits (qubits).

By 2023, Gartner estimates that 20% of organizations will be budgeting for quantum computing projects compared to less than 1% today. However, it won't be until around 2023 to 2028 that quantum computing begins to create meaningful work.


These digital technology trends have a significant disruptive potential to break out of an emerging state to pave new pathways for implementing ideas and executing with better efficiency. However, it would be interesting to witness the trajectory each of them will take in 2019 and beyond.

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