CBInsights’ reports on tech, artificial intelligence, and blockchain focus on the intersection of tech, society, and government.
“Technology is now central to every industry — from building construction to healthcare administration to food production,” states CB Insights in its 14 Trends Shaping Tech report. “2019 will be the year we see new use cases emerge as AI creates new possibilities for personalization, monitoring, and marketing. It will also create new challenges around how to regulate data and access.”
It’s not just a generational thing, although tech has obviously been embraced by young generations. The role of technology, however, has permeated our daily lives as citizens, young and old, and we’re now more aware of its impact and the resounding effects on our security and privacy.
The top 14 trends identified by CBInsights for 2019 are all a mix of tech and societal implications, including regulatory and geopolitical:
- The hyper-personalization of everything: The more data collected about an individual, the more intimately companies believe they can understand and market to them.
- The smart home targets the senior citizen market: There’s a major difference between the senior of 10 years ago and seniors today — older people are much more comfortable with technology.
- Malls are out. Retail moments are in: Traditional retail outlets might be struggling, but shopping itself is still as popular as ever, the channels are just changing.
- Maps become a layer for all kinds of real-world data: For most, maps are a feature of a smartphone. A user pulls up Google Maps, types in “bars,” and navigates over to the nearest one.
- Last-mile delivery gets automated: The promise of autonomous driving hasn’t quite arrived, but last-mile delivery may be the first place where we see fully autonomous fleets deployed.
- Tech comes for your sleep: From smart mattresses to smart pillows, the products that are being released into the sleep market aim to improve sleep by tracking some of the most enigmatic hours of our days.
- Data becomes a hot-button geopolitical issue: If data really is the new oil, we’re starting to see owners of this data protect it like they would a precious resource.
- Smart buildings maximize comfort, wellness, and efficiency: Whether it’s home offices or co-working spaces, we’re seeing a new emphasis on comfortable, intuitive office spaces.
- Buses and logistics providers go green: Convincing individual consumers to change out their conventional gas-powered cars for electric vehicles is a steep ask. It’s expensive, and owning an electric vehicle can still be inconvenient.
- China sets the bar for social network innovation: As of October 2018, the world’s most valuable private tech company is China’s Bytedance, valued at $75B. In the future, we expect to see more China-based social networking activity influence Western tech, especially as companies from China start to cross borders and gain market share with non-Chinese users.
- Electric vehicle makers expand into lifestyle products and services: Buying an electric vehicle is an environmental choice for some and a luxury purchase for others.
- Tech apprenticeships grow in popularity: The tech industry moves fast. It’s not always easy to gain skills in college that employers are still looking for after graduation.
- Digital swag makes big money: The craze around digital goods and collectibles is a trend that will continue into 2019. While these goods can’t be owned in the physical world, they come with clout, and offer personalization and in-game experiences to otherwise one-size-fits-all characters.
- The new healthcare clinic is your home: The lack of affordable, widely available medical care is a well-documented problem. In rural areas, hospitals and clinics are often many miles away.
When it comes to artificial intelligence, CBInsights points out that the barrier to entry in AI is lower than ever before, thanks to open-source software. It’s a two-way street as the increase of AI accessibility creates new opportunities for technology companies which, in return, benefit from a community of contributors helping accelerate its AI research.
In AI, facial recognition is quickly becoming a key factor in the devolopment of new tools. In particular, according to CBInsights, China’s unapologetic push towards surveillance coupled with its AI ambitions have hogged the media limelight.
“As the government adds a layer of artificial intelligence to its surveillance, startups are playing a key role in providing the government with the underlying technology,” the report on AI states.
In the blockchain space, as crypto prices fall and financial services incumbents wade in, CBInsights shows that exchanges — like Coinbase , one of the most popular in the US— are looking for cryptocurrency use cases to drive additional revenue streams.
“The question looms,” CBInsights adds. “Will big financial firms take over from here, or will independent exchanges retain their market share? And perhaps more importantly, will fiat-crypto exchanges find a business model that doesn’t rely exclusively on speculation to drive revenues?”
The answer may lie in whether exchanges can help enable broader use cases for this new asset class beyond pure speculation.