The fads, the fear, the future – what can we expect from tech in 2019?

Technology innovation and adoption is faster today than ever before. Developments that seem radical at first – and let’s face it, sometimes even scary – soon quickly become something we cannot imagine ever living without.

Simply put, as tech continues to evolve, the way people talk, think and feel about it evolves as well.

To better understand this evolution – and how brands should respond and plan for it – FleishmanHillard analyzed more than one billion technology-focused Twitter conversations over the past year*. We combined this extensive social listening with insights from a panel of over 25 global technology leaders to produce a set of predictions and insights that can guide communicators through the year ahead.

Our report, “Tech Trends 2019: The Fads. The Fears. The Future.” offers insight into some of the most important topics of the day:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) will get detailed. Brands that use AI to engage in detailed and explanatory conversations – seeking to place AI in real-life contexts – will be next year’s big winners. Discussions on conversational AI increased 54% in Twitter topic volume from 2017 to 2018.
  • Tech for good. FleishmanHillard’s Authentic Insights report revealed that more than 80% of consumers rate data security and protection as ‘very important’ – ahead of healthcare and education in the UK and healthcare and freedom of speech in the U.S. Against all this, responsible data protection measures will continue to be a major trend.
  • Augmented analytics will go mainstream. AI’s potential to enhance human intelligence rather than replace it is central – consumers will want to understand both what augmented analytics means by itself, and what it means against technology’s other big trends.
  • Blockchain will find new opportunities. Moving beyond cryptocurrencies, Blockchain could expand, supporting developments like smart cities and digital transformation. Discussion volume share increased 52% between 2017 and 2018 – and the opportunity for deeper, more forward-looking conversation is growing.
  • Edge computing will come to the fore. Edge computing streamlines the flow of traffic from IoT devices and provides real-time local data analysis. Look for 5G to spur on the continued hype and interest in edge computing in 2019.
  • Immersive reality will transform new sectors. Virtual, augmented and mixed realities will join to create new experiences for consumers and will creep even further into areas like retail, manufacturing and healthcare.
  • Smart fabrics and e-textiles will rise in popularity. Expect smart fabrics and exoskeletons to hit runways and warehouse aisles alike, challenging what the term ‘wearable’ really means.

The speed of technology transformation can at times feel overwhelming and tough to comprehend. But, as one of the expert panelists in the report points out, although the pace of change has never been this fast, it will also “never be this slow again.” Which means that getting to grips with this constant evolution, and using data to see around corners, is one of the best ways technology brands can better engage with their end customers – to the benefit of all.

*The data for FleishmanHillard’s Tech Trends 2019: The Fads. The Fears. The Future. report includes qualitative and quantitative data. A social conversation analysis was conducted around Gartner’s 2018 and 2019 trends to test true traction of emerging technology. These findings were then augmented by market-leading brand executives to forecast the direction of 2019. The report reflects global, English-language conversations. All data falls within the public domain and was aggregated to ensure that personally identifiable elements were removed from the analysis and methodology.