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2018 Software Development Trends That You Can Count on Continuing Into 2019 An Entrepreneur contributor consults his crystal ball and says to keep an eye on blockchain, AI and progressive web apps.

By Rahul Varshneya Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

MF3d | Getty Images

That new technology you're hopping on may be all the rage now, but will anyone remember it this time next year? Trends in technology can fade quickly as advancements are rolled out at lightning speed.

Related: 8 Tech Trends to Keep Your Eye on in 2018

So, which trends in 2018 will continue to grow into 2019?

Here's a look at several of the "hot" trends in software development: blockchain, artificial intelligence/machine learning, progressive web apps, low code and security.

Blockchain

Blockchain gained in popularity due to the Bitcoin revolution. Now, industries and companies are adopting blockchain development rapidly. "Blockchain" describes a technology enabling a peer-to-peer network of interconnected devices to store data rather than rely on central computers and defined locations.

This development provides the capability to transact and authenticate large-scale transactions quickly and without expensive intermediaries. Companies in software development, including healthcare software, are seeking broader applications in administration, supply chain, and medical data, to streamline processes.

Related: 10 Artificial Intelligence Trends to Watch in 2018

Tip: Leaders in blockchain development include IBM, Oracle, Microsoft and Amazon, which are introducing proprietary blockchain platforms. Blockchain startups to watch are: BlockPass, BitTicket and ALTR.

Artificial intelligence/machine-learning

Artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI) will also continue to gain in importance. Some estimates show that nearly 40 percent of businesses may be using AI to automate their processes by as early as next year. By integrating IA solutions to execute specific tasks, these businesses gain the competitive edge and provide a higher-quality service experience for consumers.

Practical applications include voice-responsive home assistants, insight-as-a-service, big data and smartphones. Facebook, Google and Slack are leaders in AI development, and Google plans to base its algorithms on AI technology in the near future.

Tip: Startups to watch in AI are: Element AI, with $102 million funding; and UIPath, with $30 million in funding.

Progressive web apps

Progressive web apps (PWAs) are in fact websites or web pages but look and act like conventional apps or native mobile applications. These offer the best features of the latest browser technology, with the advantages of the mobile experience. Gartner listed PWAs in its software technology trends report for 2017. These apps have gained considerable steam and can be expected to continue strongly into the upcoming years.

Google, in particular, has begun developing browser features that perform like mobile apps, thus providing an equal level of user experience. PWAs are less complex to develop and maintain than conventional mobile apps; that adds to their popularity.

Tip: Companies involved in health care, ecommerce and banking are adding more PWAs to offer easier accessibility to a broader base of consumers.

Low Code Development

Low code development is overtaking conventional waterfall app development, because the latter is a labor-intensive endeavor. With low code development, tedious repetitive development tasks are automated, so the need for a technical analyst or development team disappears.

PC magazine has named the following as some of the best platforms: Appian, PowerApps, Medix, Google App Maker and Salesforce App Cloud.

Tip: In addition, according to WaveMaker, the top uses for low code include business-process managing applications, database managing applications, omni-channel platforms, microservices-based applications and the re-creation of recreating legacy applications into modern ones.

Security

The headlines report cyber attacks on large companies, but small- and medium-size enterprises and startups are increasingly acknowledging the need for software security. A study by Ponemon Institute found that 55 percent of small-to-mid-sized businesses had experienced some type of cyberattack.

Tip: If your business utilizes the internet, has a digital presence with cloud accounts and a website, then it is at risk for a breach. Most attacks occur through automated malicious software that search for vulnerable networks and computers regardless of size.

Related: The 5 Most Interesting Artificial Intelligence Trends for Entrepreneurs to Follow in 2018

So, what lies ahead? These five trends will carry through into 2019 and beyond, and they may even spawn additional technology advancements that could benefit your business in the future.

Rahul Varshneya

Co-founder at Arkenea

Rahul Varshneya is the co-founder of Arkenea, an award-winning web and mobile app development agency.

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