5 Emerging Tech Trends to Watch in 2019

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5 Emerging Tech Trends to Watch in 2019

Dr Hani Dabbagh s point of view

By Dr Hani Dabbagh, Digital Transformation & Innovation Consultant
21 March 2019

5 Emerging Tech Trends to Watch in 2019

Dr Hani Dabbagh s point of view

By Dr Hani Dabbagh, Digital Transformation & Innovation Consultant

Prediction questions are always tough to answer, but I’ll stick my neck out and give my personal view on the 5 technologies that will play a significant role in shaping our world and influencing our society, within the timeframe of one year. I believe they are technologies worth tracking.
Some technologies work in the background, and although they might be transparent to us, they are nonetheless ubiquitous. These often serve as a foundation for other technologies that are more in the forefront and visible to the user.

With this in mind, here goes:

  • 5G

This is a foundational technology that is an enabler of so much of the rest of the technologies shown below. Without 5G, it is not possible to have autonomous vehicles, Internet of Things, drones, etc… 5G networks are expected to be 20-100x faster than 4G and it is difficult to overstate the impact that 5G will have on the world of communication, specially one between devices. 5G networks are gradually being set up in different parts of the world, and 5G compatible handsets will be rolling out in 2019.

  • Artifical Intelligence

Here is another foundational technology that will have its place in any “5 tech trends list” for the coming years. We have only scratched the surface. Already today we use AI without necessarily knowing it, every time we are offered new products to purchase, every time we use Siri or Alexa and every time our friends and family are recognised in our holiday photos. Machine Learning and Deep Learning will continue to develop and enable technological developments in many fields (eg medical, automotive, business applications, etc), and will continue to be the engine behind “Big Data”. And as we move from “Weak AI” to “Strong AI”, we will continue to be debating existential questions of human vs artificial intelligence.

  • Augmented/Virtual Reality

AR/VR have applications in so many domains but customer acceptance has been relatively slow so far, mainly due to the high barrier to entry (specially with VR). But as processing power and data transfer speeds continue to increase, and costs go down, 2019 could well be the year that AR/VR move from “early adoptor” phase to more mainstream. In the right hands, these technologies certainly have the potential of disrupting many businesses.

  • Voice / Internet of Things

Ok I surreptitiously added two technologies here, but bear with me. More and more devices will be more and more connected to each other. Think of wearables (specially for health and sports), the “Connected Home”, cars, etc… and as these devices proliferate, voice will become an important interface, one that will require businesses to adapt to that new input method. Already today it is estimated that by 2020 50% of all searches on mobile devices will be done through Voice.

  • Blockchain

Blockchain will slowly emerge from the shadows of Bitcoin and will stand on its own. Blockchain has the potential of disrupting the way transactions are conducted, by decentralising trust in the data and cutting intermediaries. In many ways it is analogous to the internet and how it introduced the “Shared Economy”. Possible applications of blockchain include Financial Services (asset management, insurance claims…), Contracts, Healthcare records, Voting, and so on.


In looking back at my list, I realise that there is a good mixture of forecasting and wishful thinking, with maybe a higher dose of the latter than I would like to admit. There are clearly many other technologies that will impact our world in 2019. But although the above looks like a laundry list of technologies, it is when they work together that they become a powerful influence in our society. Hence, the combination of Voice, Deep Learning, connected devices, 5G and Augmented Reality can make for a very compelling and disruptive presence in our world.

Dr Hani Dabbagh is a GCSP Executive-in-Residence Fellow and Digital Transformation & Innovation Consultant. With a PhD in Electronics and Information Engineering and a career spanning 30 years within Hewlett-Packard, Hani Dabbagh has over 17 years of extensive practical experience in Digital Transformation. Follow his his blog, "Digital Ramblings."