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5 Tech Predictions for 2019 and beyond

February 13, 2019 • Features, Top Stories

Co-founder and Director of Syntech, Ryan Martyn

The tech market is already home to a range of smart hardware and software, but smart devices are set to become even more widespread in our day-to-day lives.

2018 was a year of exciting advancements and 2019 promises to be an even greater year when it comes to tech – Ryan Martyn, co-founder and director of Syntech, has put together 5 tech trends to look forward to this year.

1. The rise of blockchain commercial solutions

We will see a proliferation of blockchain technologies taking over the regulation of a wide range of processes that have historically required a level of human validation. We can expect an impact in industries such as insurance where pay-outs can be approved and executed without human intervention.

2. Digitising healthcare

There’s already a host of smart hardware and software augmenting everything from screening and diagnosis to treatment adherence and care services. The opportunities for tech to continue to improve access and quality of healthcare are vast.

3. Our spaces will get smarter and smarter

IoT, AI, ML (machine learning) and advanced data analytics are already converging to make homes and workspaces smarter. A multitude of devices formulated with open standards will set the scene for everything potentially talking to everything else.

4. Online ecosystems will continue to disrupt retail

Initially, e-Commerce disrupted retail with the price but it will go on to entirely change the way we purchase. Today we benefit from more extensive product ranges, independent ratings, and reviews as well as more competitive prices when shopping online.

5. Tech will drive increasing polarisation between people

Applied AI across our social media accounts and internet searches already deliver to us the news and views, the advertising and marketing, the products and services that reinforce our beliefs and perceptions. There are numerous high-profile examples where evidence that is not credible and validated by an authority easily becomes fact and influences people’s decisions and actions.

Martyn gave further insights on how these trends may affect jobs in Africa and the importance of familiarising ourselves with these trends so as adopting them.

What type of jobs will these trends create?

Businesses that use technology to optimise their services will stand to benefit the most from these trends. With the help of automation and AI, specialised services will become more accessibly priced and become widely adopted.

Expect to see more jobs available for software developers, particularly with the rise of blockchain commercial solutions, IoT, AI, and machine learning.

The healthcare industry will be able to diagnose and treat a far greater portion of the population using smart medical devices. It’s likely that field admin and nurse positions will start to cover some of the roles that previously only doctors could assist with.

We should also expect more jobs for installers and energy consultants with the rise of smarter and greener spaces.

With a push to online ecosystems, we will see more opportunity for small businesses and innovative e-commerce companies in the market.

Lastly, thought leaders, marketing and SEO specialists, and influencers will become even more prevalent as applied AI, social media, and internet searches change the way we access products and news.

Why is it important that we familiarise ourselves with these trends?

Businesses that aren’t ready to adapt to these trends could face significant disruption to their business interests. On the other hand, the businesses that do embrace them have the potential to disrupt industries and quickly scale in markets that have been dominated by big business or previously inaccessible.

Realistically speaking, how close are we to adapting to these trends in Africa?

Despite the negative sentiment about Africa lagging the rest of the world, these conditions also present unique markets and opportunities for business. Regarding smart healthcare solutions and software development as an example, the South African industry is advanced.

How will these trends benefit African businesses?

South African businesses that embrace the skills needed to enable these trends have the potential to disrupt industries and scale in the local market and globally. Our weak exchange rate and relative operating costs position our businesses well to capitalise on global market requirements.

What are some of the challenges that business and consumers could face in adapting to these trends?

  • Resistance to technology for fear of job losses
  • Lack of market size to justify investment
  • Affordability of solutions
  • Wide open spaces and logistics to get to all corners of South Africa

By Neo Sesinye
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