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2018 is slowly wrapping up, with only a scant handful of weeks to go before we enter 2019 and roll out an entirely new batch of IT industry trends to chase through the coming year. It feels appropriate to take a moment and reflect on the trends of 2018 that have introduced a major change to the field while also keeping an eye on trends that failed to fire or have a chance of throwing off the digital tech timeline of 2019.
5G has been one of the most visible and often-lauded tech advances to look forward through in 2018, and certainly one of the top IT industry trends in the near future, yet the global roadmap of its deployment has taken a few turns that have surprised many. China has stepped up and all but monopolised access to its services where American and European countries usually take the lead. This shift has introduced some surprise moves on the business side of the equation with more than 58 countries signing up to either test or outright use Huawei tech in their 5G networks.
There’s still a chance for change in February of 2019 if companies from other countries are able to put together 5G-friendly technology of their own and visit the Barcelona Mobile World Congress with developments or offers that can unseat China’s current rule of the roost, but don’t be surprised if mobile eyes remain on Huawei.
According to a study released by the International Data Corporation, security spending is on track to rise heavily through 2018 and on into 2019, coming to a head in 2022 at a forecast of $133.7 billion. Their $92.1 billion forecast for 2018 is part of a larger forecast that expected to see slower growth than before the 2017-2022 period, yet compound annual growth is currently showing signs of reaching 9.9 percent.
As it stands, the countries expected to show the highest spending on security solutions are the United States, followed by the United Kingdom, China, Japan and Germany. The United States itself is expected to spend $39.3 billion versus the United Kingdom’s $6.1 billion, making the American market the financial leader by a massive margin.
For those looking forward to a future of inter-connectivity, mass sensor data and smart homes, the IoT has been surging forward in terms of device deployment and funding over the past couple of years. As many as 20 billion IoT devices have gone into use, up from 8.4 billion in 2017. Funding levels have surged to the billions and the IoT seems like it will be a question of when rather than if through the next year.
Global adoption rates continue to rise as countries like Australia work towards replacing outdated satellite connections with unlimited internet in Australia through the National Broadband Network. Similarly, China’s early rollout of 5G technology brings high hopes for wireless connectivity across the country and an almost inevitable spike in Chinese IoT technology.
On a less exciting note, personal privacy has struggled through significantly rougher blows than anyone saw coming. Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal brought about a new round of privacy concerns as 50 million users lost personal data, yet Facebook walked away with exceptionally low fines when compared to their gross revenue. The tech industry as a whole has gone from expecting self-regulation to lobbying for weak federal regulations instead. Even Apple has reached a point where CEO Tim Cook is calling for stronger digital privacy laws with the weight of the company behind these requests.
It’s painting an interesting, if not slightly worrying, the picture for 2019 that could see projected digital security spending through the roof as companies scramble to meet regulations as they are put into place. On the other hand, weak federal regulations could bring more spending by small businesses and concerned individuals who feel a lack of overarching regulation should be handled through more private means. It’s uncomfortably uncertain where the next few months will take this debate.
Overall, many of the news beats and wild guesses lobbed at 2018 have landed more or less squarely in the realm of reality. AI technology has advanced, blockchain implementation continues to rise and security concerns are ramping up as digital information becomes one of the most precious non-physical commodities to trade. 2019 may look quite similar, but don’t be shocked if security is suddenly the word on every business’ mind.