2018 saw the launch of Amazon Go, which promised – and delivered – a checkout-free retail experience. It saw Sony create a robot dog, for some reason. It saw Elon Musk…well, Elon Musk had a weird one. Let’s leave it at that.
It was an eventful if mixed year for technology in South Africa, and we’re excited to see what 2019 holds. Here are our predictions for the next twelve months.
1. More companies to become multi-cloud and proud
We should declare an interest here, but in 2019 we expect the rise of cloud technology to continue and to pick up speed.
Keep a particularly close eye on multi-cloud technology: a solution that uses several cloud environments for the purpose of hosting, deploying, and delivering applications. It’s already reasonably popular. A recent IBM survey found that 41% of organisations have a strategy in place to adopt multi-cloud technology. Ninety-eight percent of organisations intend to adopt its architecture by 2021.
The technology can enable greater agility and easier data management and processing. Expect to see more awareness and adoption in 2019 and beyond.
2. Move over millennials – Gen Z are on the way
Millennials, a generational cohort that seems to encompass anyone from their early 20s to late 30s are already well-established in the modern workplace. In 2019 though, we’ll see Generation Z make their professional mark.
What’s more, it’s a good thing: those born in the mid-1990s to the early 2000s grew up with an innate understanding of technology. It’s been an omnipresent feature of their lives. Generation Z don’t perceive automation and machine learning as future concerns, but tools to be used as they see fit. They’ll be an asset to any company looking to modernise their processes and bridge the digital gap. If the workplace embraces them older employees may even learn a thing or two.
3. 5G could arrive – and change everything
Like 4G before it, 5G is expected to broaden internet access, increase speeds and make it easier to test new devices. It’s widely expected to come to South Africa in the next few years.
It’s not just about faster, better internet. It could completely transform the country’s prospects. 5G could clear a path for digital infrastructure, smart cities – and a more connected and integrated future.
4. AI will continue its takeover
A holdover from 2018 admittedly, but AI will continue developing in the year ahead. Thanks to the Amazon Echo and Google Home smart devices, we’re already comfortable with talking to our speaker systems – and research suggests there’s much more to it than that: the Gordon Institute of Business Science suggests that AI could double the growth rate of the South African economy.
5. Blockchain will enter the mainstream – with or without cryptocurrency
For a long time, blockchain technology and cryptocurrency were considered inseparable. In 2018 this conventional wisdom started to erode. In 2019 we may see blockchain launch a successful solo career.
It’s applicable to many different industries and sectors (including accountancy). Companies such as Vodacom and MTN have already been experimenting with it, with a view to improving processes such as inter-carrier settlement.
6. Technology will make financial services more efficient – and you can take that to the bank
The right technological tools can drive efficiency and cost gains across any organisation large or small. We think 2019 will be the year of better banking in South Africa, and we’ve already taken steps to make sure that it is.
With Xero’s comprehensive API for bank feeds, small businesses and their financial advisors can integrate with Sasfin and Absa to reconcile accounts, easily publish shareable smart reports and invoices, and gain full real-time visibility into cashflow while on the go. Use our API, and you’ll always be working from the best, most-up-to-date information.
We expect these predictions to come true – but we also expect that 2019 will be full of surprises. Be sure to come back at the end of the year to see how our forecasts matched up with reality.