2019 Tech Trends from Glasshouse

10 January 2019 | By John Merryman
With 2019 ramping up and our holiday downtime buzz wearing off, we decided to produce a forward-looking view of tech in 2019, along with our insights and opinions on where our industry is heading. We live cloud and infrastructure day in day out- and are excited to see continued innovation for new and different technologies which impact our lives professionally and at home.

Messaging Overload

With numerous and diverse channels for real-time teams’ communications, we expect companies to simplify and consolidate chat platforms.

Slack captured the hearts of development teams and bundled chat platforms from Google. Microsoft will continue to make this trend appeal to those budget owners paying for multiple versions of the same general thing.

We also expect general users to back off usage of multiple messaging platforms - you can only take so much sensory input and maintain productivity.

We do expect the debut of AI driven messaging/collaboration platforms, but at which point do we reach platform fatigue and wind up with artificial intelligence infused interactions that render our real thoughts and feelings into generic exchanges with our colleagues?

Voice to Revenue

With over 50000 Alexa skills publicly available, and Google Assistant platform showing continued uptake, we’ve saturated the market with novelty, informational, and music playing skills. In 2019 we expect to see more impact to company top-line revenues with voice-based purchasing and service uplifts. Beyond consumer facing platforms, voice technologies for the enterprise (such as chatbots) are rapidly expanding across primary cloud providers and a widening field of startup offerings.

Voice will begin to emerge as a new channel for customer engagement, leading to meaningful paths to revenue for those companies who take the plunge and treat voice as a strategic investment horizon. But we still see voice in its infancy as early adopters have focused primarily on pull centric information versus engagement focused revenue models. Initial revenue generation concepts are likely to link to service renewals, reordering, and service uplifts, but for more aggressive adopters net-new purchasing channels will be realized – especially for those who design voice interaction models with the highest simplicity and lowest friction. We expect the leaders to innovate with an anti-IVR mentality to achieve this outcome.

Artificial Intelligence Hits Home

AI has been in use behind the scenes for a few years, being built and deployed during its infancy to track and respond to our web and consumer patterns. The more recent examples include tracking people and behavioral patterns in China, the world’s first virtual newscaster, self-piloting vehicles, and this is just the beginning.

With the advent of widely available AI platforms and services from Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, we expect AI to deliver more tangible impact to consumers. Developers have had access to systems and tools for a few years now , and in parallel to the initial growth of AI/ML skills outside of academia and the big 3 (which have in many ways become the new academia for computer science), the tools are maturing.

One great example is Amazon’s recent SageMaker GroundTruth service which allows developers to programmatically engage Mechanical Turk community workers to annotate datasets for the SageMaker machine learning platform. Machine learning training and annotation plagues every single project of this type, and gateway solutions like this immediately address a data problem requiring human intelligence with a massive scale, and cheap access to global labor.

As in this example from researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, of early stage Alzheimer's identification, machine learning models will continue to mature and evolve with wider populations of developers adopting them. Expect AI to gain continued visibility across multiple industries and with varied results, as the outcomes directly relate to how well both developers and systems execute from one use-case to the next.

Enterprise IT gets into the Innovation Game

Digital innovation and enterprise IT are not often found in the same sentence, much less the same programs of work.

While digital innovation often finds home to new greenfield projects outside of traditional IT, we expect traditional enterprise IT leaders to take on higher risk programs in order to innovate versus perish on the sidelines.

Migration to the cloud is in full swing, but adoption of serverless technologies will be on the uptake for Enterprise IT developers as this has become the standard for greenfield development. Amazon’s most recent and rare product acquisition of CloudEndure underscores the continued importance of transitioning applications to the cloud.

Thanks for reading and stay fresh. The AI machines won’t get you this year, but your messaging apps definitely will!