It has been a while since we entered 2019 and we all tend to look at what were the industry success metres, failures, learnings and at the same time, plan on how to make the next year fruitful and what kind of situations can be expected. Technology, too, is changing on a daily basis and getting more digital savvy. This means that more and more data is being released out in the open and there are a few predictions made of what technology trends lie before us.
We are generating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day and 90% of the data we have today was created in the past two years. This data deluge shows no sign of slowing as the Internet of Things and applications operating on the edges of networks become more prevalent.
In 2019, we’ll continue to see the advances in ‘smart sensors’ that only wake when something interesting is happening and sift the input to only transmit relevant information to the cloud. We’ll also see greater focus on efficient power management in edge node devices to support the increased processing demands and resultant thermal dynamics challenges. We’ll see a huge inclination towards security, as the growing value of the information generated makes loss or corruption more costly. Finally, sensor fusion, or the combination of differing sensing modalities to create a more accurate perception of reality, will become increasingly pervasive, thanks to a combination of edge-node processing, the fog, and the cloud.
Artificial Intelligence begins to shed the artifice
Automotive AI processing predominantly takes place at the edge rather than in the cloud due to the need for lowlatency, real-time decision making. But the architectural battle between edge and cloud computing in AI will be waged on an application-by-application basis as other emerging markets have their own, different needs. Thorny issues remain for all markets, especially in the areas of unsupervised training and validation of how AI systems will really work once they are trained. While we will make advancements in these areas, non-technical issues like, ethics, liability and governance, remain hurdles to progress.
Shifting into high gear
Vehicle electrification will continue to grow at double digits and migrate from the niche to the mainstream, as internal combustion engines face increasing regulatory pressure and electric and power management technologies improve and become less expensive. New chemistries are enabling much greater energy density in batteries, which is spawning innovation in related areas of battery formation and lifecycle management. Advancements in electronics and architectures will be necessary to enable sensing, measurement, interpretation, and secure communication of battery state information.
We also expect to see additional advances in level 3+ highway autopilot solutions, extensive tests of fleet services/robotaxis, and the fusion of vision, RADAR, and LiDAR modalities. Robotaxis will bring the next wave of innovation to the transportation-as-aservice market and continue to drive the consumer preference shift from car ownership to car access.
Robots & cobots
Robots, and increasingly, cobots, are operating independently of programming more and more, as they are equipped with sensors and local, fog, and cloud-based processing power, that enable them to rapidly learn and adapt to their environments and circumstances. We will see additional advances in the security and safety of autonomous electronics in areas in which humans and robots interact.
Healthcare becomes prescient
Spiraling healthcare costs and growing disease prevalence are creating a new level of urgency to solve the larger healthcare challenge. The need for economically viable wellness and healthcare solutions will drive strong growth in the adoption of sensing, computing, and mobile technologies. Deeper diagnostics, miniaturisation and connectivity will be the guideposts on the path to healthcare that is increasingly prescient.
As a consequence of this disruption, we are witnessing the birth of a new healthcare era, in which clinical-grade healthcare will be available in non-clinical locations and applications. Biological, gas, and chemical sensors will increasingly provide clinical-grade measurements in form factors and price points that make them more accessible to applications outside of traditional healthcare facilities. When combined with advances in mobility/ connectivity and cloud computing, these advances are making it possible to manage patient diseases in ways that prevent acute events that call for expensive hospitalisation.
5G is finally undergoing substantial testing and will begin to be commercially deployed. The initial phase of Massive MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) will provide significant improvements over 4G and millimetre wave 5G solutions will eventually provide multi-gigabit per second wireless connectivity. As these initial 5G instantiations come online, the impact will be substantial.
The bandwidth explosion, low-latency speed and responsiveness, and highly configurable network solutions brought by 5G will dramatically remake markets and open new ones. However, the advances in connectivity enabled by 5G will extend beyond the internet to drive revolutionary changes in automotive, healthcare, and industrial automation markets.
Ultimately, one of the only predictions we can make with certainty is that 2019 will evolve in ways we can’t predict. Some technologies that seem to be on the verge of achieving their promise at the start of 2019 will still be on the verge of achieving their promise at the end of 2019. Other technologies will silently reach a tipping point and become part of our everyday experience with hardly a ripple.