#EmTechMonthly: How we did in 2019 and our 2020 predictions

  • Posted on December 19, 2019
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes

Welcome to our monthly curation of emerging technology news tidbits and trends that help inform the research we do for our Avanade Trendlines program. This time, instead of the news, it’s December and that means predictions season.

Analysts, media and firms like ours publish views about the trends we think will happen in 2020. Last year we began a new research program called Trendlines, which wasn’t meant to be short-term predictions, but observations across lots of signals that we believe embody the major longer-term shifts occurring for our clients. I want to quickly revisit those trends, see how we’re doing and tell you a bit about our research agenda for 2020.

Digital ethics: Going beyond research
Our first Trendlines report focused on digital ethics and our research found that just as security has become a board- and C-level imperative, in the near term so will ethics. We said that it’s no longer good enough to just talk about ethics, but that action needs to be taken. I would argue we’re still having lots of talk (with clients and as a society) with little visible action. Despite this, we believe we’re on the right track and our conversations with clients on digital ethics have accelerated over the last year. It’s about more than risk and compliance; it’s about getting digital ethics embedded into every business process. At Avanade, we’ve moved digital ethics beyond research and recently hired a global digital ethics lead to ensure we’re helping our clients navigate this difficult topic.

Intelligence meets design: Moving toward future-ready organizations
The title of this Trendline doesn’t do it justice. It’s about getting enterprise-wide value from data science, elevating and embedding the capability across the entire organization and fusing data science with design. Even more simply, it’s about a shift occurring in how products are developed that results in a future-ready organization, which is more iterative and curious. With society still at the infancy of artificial intelligence, we’re a little early on this one. Leading companies like Stitch Fix (which does this very well) are performing well. But the shift is happening slowly.

Experience without boundaries: A fundamental shift underway
This is our biggest topic and we held off publishing it this year because many of the signals we saw on IT architecture, application design and ecosystem partnerships changed as we dug into the research. We will launch our findings in early 2020 and discuss the shift that will fundamentally change how experiences are delivered.

2020 research agenda
We will continue to evolve our three Trendlines in 2020.
You’ll be seeing much more from us on digital ethics as we watch signals like:
- Ethics of digital identity
- Digital addiction
- Conversational AI
- Ethical manufacturing
- Bot ethics
We’ll be tweaking intelligence meets design to focus more on the future workers and workspace because we’re seeing stronger signals on physical robotics in the workplace, including autonomous robot teams.
Under experiences with boundaries we’re looking at a world where the lines between physical and digital are erased, requiring new IT architecture and service design. This is showing up in trends and technologies like:
- Second screen proliferation
- Optimizing for voice
- Ambient tracking
- Identity and biometrics
- AI-based human understanding and empathy
- Heads-up wearables
- Immersive meeting spaces
- Next-generation networking
We’ll be adding a new topic focused on leaders and digital transformation coming from signals like:
- Evolving tech standards and the need for digital savviness 
- Misinformation
- Customer and partner co-creation
- Geopolitical and economic uncertainty
One of the principles for my team and our broader emerging technology group is that we work in the open and collaborate with as many people and organizations (internal and external) as we can. While understanding individual trends and technologies is important, the value really lies in synthesizing the larger themes and the changes they foreshadow. If there’s a topic on which you’d like to collaborate, please reach out via the comment section below or the contact info on my author page.
Here’s to a great 2020 and we’ll see how we do in a year. 😊

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