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New report identifies top digital investment trends for 2019

Tue 26 Feb 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

There are countless trends emerging in IT circles, but Virtusa xLabs (an innovation practice within Virtusa) has identified what it believes will be the 10 most influential.

The company worked with senior technologists and business leaders to identify the most influential technology trends that will help businesses to stay competitive and drive growth in 2019 - effectively where they should be hedging their bets.

“Being successful in the digital economy requires a transformation that goes beyond embracing emerging technologies,” says Virtusa xLabs executive vice president and global head Senthil Ravindran.

“It demands a new way of thinking. A design mindset that applies new technologies and agile processes to transform experiences while maintaining privacy and security. With the pace of change accelerating, leaders need to openly embrace evolving technologies and remain willing to rapidly iterate and experiment. Traditional business methods that worked a decade ago, are no longer effective when applied in today’s agile digital environment.”

Based on analysis from more than 150 sources including industry experts, trend spotters, and analyst firms, Virtusa xLabs has put together its 10 most influential trends for the 12 months ahead:

1. Crossing the next AI frontier: The release of open source DRL libraries last year is set to spur the development of commercial applications for AI. As a result, deep reinforcement learning (DRL), a powerful machine learning tool, will move out of research institutes and into the world of business.

2. Collaborative Intelligence: What if machines could learn from machines, not just humans? This seemingly far-fetched prospect is now becoming a reality. Collaborative intelligence imagines a world of multi-machine-human exponential learning, fuelled by recent breakthroughs in AI.

3. Open banking adolescence: 2019 is the year when banks and financial institutions start to take the opportunities around Open Banking seriously. A key regulation will be laid down in September, which will mark the beginning of a new era in banking in Europe. Core tenets include interoperability, openness, customer-centricity and innovation.

4. Finnovation for the developing world: Financial inclusion is about to move into the next phase. The developing world’s new digital payment rails has enabled millions to gain access to the formal economy for the first time. Regulators, FinTechs, challenger banks, and traditional banks have an opportunity to create the products and services to ride on top of those rails and transform whole communities in the process.

5. Crypto coming of age: Until blue-chip financial giants help to establish the financial infrastructure for crypto-markets, institutional investor participation will remain weak. This year, the world’s biggest banks and financial bodies are starting to build those structures, sending a strong signal to market participants and heralding a shift to a higher level of cryptocurrency activity.

6. Making our data safe again: Many organisations are hoovering up large amounts of personal data to “hack the minds” of their consumers or sell on their insights to third parties. By the same token, businesses themselves are becoming prime targets for cyber-attacks. In 2019, we expect to see decentralised digital identity products start to gain market traction, giving back control to individuals and organisations.

7. Never disconnected: 5G will deliver the internet at light-speed. Whilst not expected to replace 4G until 2020, marquee firms are already launching 5G smartphones this year. Significantly, this communication protocol is an enabling technology that will accelerate progress with other exponential technologies like AI and IoT.

8. Interlopers in the boardroom: Design is starting to play a strategic role within digital transformation programs. Companies have witnessed the innovations that have arisen from Big Tech’s design-led culture and are now taking stock. They’ve also absorbed the fruits of the Design Thinking movement, the spate of CDO appointments, and consulting firms’ discourse on the centrality of design to successful digital transformations. This year, design will be on the boardroom agenda.

9. Health data you can trust: Health data management is struggling to keep costs down, remain up-to-date, and support patient needs. The Synaptic Health Alliance, a consortium of leading healthcare organisations, is applying blockchain to improve Provider Data Management. This will be a key test in the uptake of blockchain solutions for the sector.

10. Omniscient Healthcare: The connected health market is rapidly transforming. Invisibles, a non-invasive wireless device, is causing waves with its ability to analyse the reams of data that your body transmits in the comfort of your own home. Be it wearables, telemedicine platforms, apps, or other digital healthcare services, the connected health ecosystem is maturing rapidly and will have a much bigger impact in 2019.

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