2018 Trends that Will Remain all the Rage in 2019

This year, there are three things that could define the months ahead

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Every year brings a new wave of technology and operational trends. Some are fads, while others can have a significant impact on our lives. If you cast your mind back, 2007 was the year of mobile when the iPhone launched, and 2012 was the year of social when Facebook went public. This year, there are three trends that could define the year ahead: artificial intelligence (AI) going mainstream, privacy shifting from a nice-to-have to a must-have, and augmented and virtual reality maturing.

AI going mainstream

AI has been a hot topic for some time. It has, unfortunately, become a bit of a buzzword and conjures up images of robots taking over the world. The reality is much more mundane but widespread. AI technologies such as machine learning now determine large parts of how we interact on a daily basis: from traffic lights to advertising.

AI is being commoditized. Anyone can now use off-the-shelf libraries to achieve some amazing things. If you run a retail store and want to add facial recognition to your cameras, you can now do that in just a few hours. And if you're Amazon, you can automate the entire shopping experience - just look at their Amazon Go retail stores where you can walk in and out without going through a checkout register.

User demands on privacy

Speaking of facial recognition, 2019 will probably be a year where privacy goes from being a "nice to have" to a "must have". There have been so many data breaches and news stories this year highlighting the inadequacies of current privacy measures. New legislation has been introduced in many jurisdictions, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe.

All users now want assurance from the companies that we hand over our data to. We want to know that they are doing the right thing with it, and that we have control over what they share. In response, companies are creating privacy policies and practices that we can actually understand and more clearly opt in or out of.

But we are all still guilty of scrolling to the bottom of a terms and conditions page and blindly hitting "accept" to access the latest app or game.

Augmented and virtual reality

When it comes to gaming, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are powering new gaming experiences that are literally out of this world. But it seems VR/AR are yet to find their place in more mainstream applications.

As cool as it is to be able to experience Pokémon GO in the Harry Potter universe, there is an incredible opportunity to leverage this technology in education applications.

In 2019, it's likely that AR and VR solutions will continue to mature, but their widespread adoption outside of gaming could possibly still be a few years away.

Overall, it's an exciting time to be involved with startups. The startup success stories of 2019 and beyond will probably rise on the back of some of the trends discussed here. It will be an exciting year ahead.