For many businesses and industries 2020 was earmarked as the year were a myriad shifts were predicted to happen, while also ushering in the next generation of technologies that would drive us forward for the following decade.

With 2019 close at hand, and that 2020 date also fast approaching, Dell has weighed in as it usually does with its predictions for next year.

According to Dell’s vice chairman of products and operations, Jeff Clarke, 2019 will be defined as the year of the data-driven ecosystem.

Here’s why he says so.

Fully immersed 

One of the major reasons why 2019 will be so data-driven is the fact that work and life will be enforced by more immersive experiences. We’re already starting to see this on the consumer front, with digital assistants providing a more enhanced experience, according to Clarke.

“We’ll see this machine intelligence merge with augmented and virtual reality in the home to create truly immersive experiences,” he adds.

These experiences will begin to have a pervasive influence in the workplace too says the VC.

“Our PCs and devices we use every day will continue to learn from our habits and proactively boot up with the right apps and services at the right time. Advances in natural language processing and voice technologies will create a more productive dialogue with machines, while automation and robotics will create faster, more fluid collaboration with technology to get more done,” explains Clarke.

The data gold rush

The next reason Clarke points to is data, and the wealth of it that has been amassing for the past few years. This stockpile of data, which is estimated to reach 44 Trillion gigabytes in 2020, will in turn lead to a renewed desire to mine it for insight, or as Clarke terms it the “data gold rush.”

This data mining according to the VC will be aimed at ensuring businesses are able to leverage insights when digital transformation strikes.

“As they derive more value from that data – with insights driving new innovations and more efficient business processes – more investments will be born out of the technology sector. New startups will emerge to tackle the bigger challenges that make AI a reality: data management and federated analytics where insights can be driven from virtually everywhere, and data compliance solutions for a safer, smarter way to deliver amazing outcomes,” he continues.

5G and the edge

Next is 5G, which we in South Africa have been waiting to be available for some time now, but are still on hold for.

While we await the availability of spectrum, there are still 5G-capable devices incoming next year, with smartphones in particular becoming prevalent.

Their arrival will also open up the opportunity for more machine learning and AI-based applications being pushed to mobile devices, which again means more data that will be generated and require analysing.

“Cities and towns will become more connected than ever, paving the way for smart cities and digital infrastructure that we predict will be thriving in 2030. And it’ll be a game changer for industries like healthcare or manufacturing, where data and information being generated out in the field can be quickly processed and analyzed in real time – versus having to travel back and forth to a cloud – and then readily shared with those who need it,” according to Clarke.

The mega cloud

When we talk about data, we cannot forget about the cloud either.

Neither has Clarke, with him noting that the impending arrival of the “Mega Cloud” is something that will come to the fore in 2019. It’s a cloud computing phenomenon that Dell predicted last year, but in 2019 is when it will truly come to fruition.

“Last year we predicted the arrival of the Mega Cloud – a variety of clouds that make up a powerhouse operating model as IT strategies require both public and private clouds. So far that’s holding true. The public vs. private cloud debate will continue to wane as organizations realize that they need to effectively manage all the different types of data they’ll be processing,” he adds.

Gen Z in the workplace

One of the last elements for 2019’s data-driven ecosystem will be the rise of the Gen Z workforce. With much of the focus of late being on millennials, now Gen Z (those born after 1995) will be something for employers to consider as well.

Clarke says this new generation will have had technology form part of their education, and consequently will only want to work with and in organisations where the best technology solutions are in place.

“Gen Z will spark a new evolution in technology innovation for the workplace and create more opportunities for technology literacy and on-site learning for new skills with older generations of workers. AR and VR will become increasingly commonplace and close the skills gap across an aging workforce – while giving Gen Z the speed and productivity they demand,” concludes Clarke.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]