Tech Predictions for 2019 and Why We Busted half of them!
Most of IT companies are publishing a shiny list of technologies and trends at the end of the year, that are supposed to shake with the world in the following 365 days. We all love to read those predictions and wonder how it is even possible. Let's objectively evaluate how precise those predictions were for 2019. It might seem we are pessimists, but I would prefer "well-informed realists".
Trends for 2019 are as always a competition in using the maximum number of buzzwords in one single post. No one cares whether the story is meaningless, only if it's enough visionary. Close our eyes and imagine the upcoming post-digital era, really smart AI and a revolutionary VR for Extended Reality.
What was confirmed?
We are starting from the bright side. There are trends that our colleagues identified precisely. The 10clouds.com has correctly written that number one will be Bottom Navigation. While the screens are growing, the zone we can comfortably control with our thumb is getting smaller. The latest research has shown that more than 49% of us control smartphones just with one thumb. The old placement of navigation menu in the top part of the screen is hopelessly out of our reach and seems logical to shift it to the bottom. Only then we can read the text in the top part and control everything underneath it. Exactly that is the main innovation brought by Samsung's One UI.
There are no more iPhones with 4.9" screens. The latest iPhone 7 screen grew to a solid 14cm diagonal which is 3 times larger than an average thumb. Designers are reacting to these changes simply - they dropped all the tools your thumb needs into its reach.
In these days, we are already seeing those principles being adopted by apps like Youtube. Quora, Airbnb, Duolingo, etc. It's still going to be a huge challenge to make smartphone experience friendlier. Thumbs surely won't grow longer.
Another trend worth mentioning is Screen Time. Fueled pointed out that addiction of users on social networks is skyrocketing. We can scroll through perfect Insta photos for hours without any break, sometimes even punishing ourselves for wasting so much time. The breakthrough came a month ago with Tim Cook's statement that he is blocking most of the push notifications on his iPhone. We believe that his example can inspire and selection of blocking functions or apps will be growing. UX, Likes, gamification it all changed apps to hi-tech cocaine which we have to stop overusing.
Digital health is a term and platforms like Facebook or Instagram should face it and give us the option to limit the time spent using their services and regain our freedom. Killing notification, time limits and other functions should appear soon.
Where we're off-target?
Let's start #hate and #beef. The worst trends are from the never-ending cliché group called DARQ - #DistributedLedger #AI #ExtendedReality #QuantumComputing.
Firstly, let's have a look at #Blockchain and #DistributedLedger. These vocabularies are extremely popular among all visionaries, but there is still not enough profitable use cases for this technology. The real disruption will come with implementing blockchain in banking, public administration or health care.
For 5 years, everyone is talking about virtual or augmented reality (#VR, #AR). Of course, there are few examples where it works but we are still at the starting line. We are mainly waiting for the hardware costs to drop, so it can get the deserved mass attention. We want to be ready and have enough know-how when the glasses will cost half and the hardware will be comfortable to carry. Will 5G networks help?
How about AI and ML? Sure, they are out there, but still not meeting the extreme expectations of people. Personally, I don't feel safe facing the self-driven car yet. Not even mentioning that most of the clients want AI just because it sounds sexy (and investors love it ;) ), while a perfect UX/UI would work maybe better. And quantum computers are still playing hide and seek at nursery.
Design predictions can't miss out the words like #Minimalism, #3Dgraphics, #Animations or #Parallax. Even there is not going to happen any magic soon, progressive companies already adopted those techniques and the rest worships old-school design, resisting to any trends or changes.
We should mention even wishes so far-fetched that it's obvious that it won't be actual sooner than in 10 years or so. Accenture, for example, published its masterpiece “The post-digital era is upon us”, which is a bible for all tech-savvy enthusiasts, scientists, and explorers. It won't change in the following months. This prophecy is about connecting digital and offline identity, which is the right assumption, but we have to be patient. Lawyers, state bureaucracy and not even the companies will be able to adopt those principles fully this or following year. We can only dream about this utopistic vision while taking the number and getting in the line to talk with the clerk.
Towards the digital world, slowly and steadily
It is necessary to know the direction, but we have to climb steadily and wisely towards all those shiny innovations and revolutions. Until the customers and investors are ready to adopt the latest technologies, there is no reason to push it by force. Developers should make sure to be ready for the upcoming changes, but don't go all-in to some fancy dead-end niche. Authors of these trends should realize, that it's almost impossible to polish a turd.
Or have you met such a hoverboard around 2015 on the street?
And yet, exactly that was predicted by Robert Zemeckis in 1985. We are still waiting and that often hurts.
Stay strong, don't lose the temper and hope that the bright tomorrow is coming. We surely are on the right track.