As Australia's premiere digital marketing agency for all things tech and blockchain, we keep all of our many (and diverse!) fingers on the digital pulse. We're on a constant journey to immerse ourselves in the question "what's coming next?", and below are some of our favourite trends we think we'll see in 2019 and onwards.
Augmented Reality (AR)
When the first Oculus Rift VR kits were shipped in 2013, it was lauded as a game-changing idea–we were just a few years off from totally immersive experiences. We were approaching the future, right beside hover cars and the Jetsons.
Unfortunately, things haven't panned out for VR in quite the way that everyone expected. In 2015, Business Insider was among the many excited parties that extrapolated the 'explosion' in VR growth to a 99% Compound Annual Growth Rate until 2020–in 2018, that expected rate dropped to just 23%.
Although VR has been plagued by high-cost headsets, motion-sickness and an ongoing diagnosis of "just come back in 5 years", VR's simpler and more cost-effective twin AR has really showcased its potential with smart, cheap and best of all widely adopted use-cases– PokemonGo!, anyone?
The AR market is growing at a much faster rate than VR - thanks G2Crowd
In 2018, AR found multiple niches across many different industries, infiltrating retail with IKEA Place's ability to show you how furniture would appear in your home and improving social media with custom facial-mapping filters from Snapchat and Instagram (Hey, we make AR filters too!).
One of the AR applications that excites us the most is in digital marketing. Savvy products have begun to cotton on that consumers love augmented reality, and the possibilities for marketing within an AR experience are endless. One of our favourite examples of this (full disclosure: we're working with them on their marketing and application development) is Zukaz, who are enabling local businesses to drop vouchers in AR-space for consumers to 'hunt' down in real life.
Maybe we'll see blade-runner style holo-adverts popping up on our phones sometime in 2019–who knows? Regardless, we're sure the coming year will be big for AR.
Wow. This is a big one. In 2018, Blockchain was heralded as the future of currency, the future of fintech, the future of everything. Billions of dollars were thrown at impactful ideas in increasingly extravagant ICO models. Blockchain was going to bank the unbanked, eliminate centralised governments and become the internet 2.0.
Is it still?
Yes. Well, no. Sort of.
Despite being one of Australia's top ICO and blockchain marketing agencies, our answer to this isn't as black and white as you might hope.
Although the speculative fervour that was present at the end of 2017 and the start of 2018 has since faded, the attendees we meet at conferences and events still have one thing in common: they're just as excited for the future of blockchain as they were before–if not more so.
Heading into 2019, we expect businesses will find more real use-cases where blockchain might help improve security, efficiency or some other facet of business instead of using it as a blanket solution for everything. In the past, it was more of a mad scramble to incorporate blockchain or DLT technology in any way possible, often to the detriment of the project. While this may sound like 2018 wasn't great for blockchain - no. It was really really good. Public awareness skyrocketed, and many established companies such as IBM and Microsoft have started developing and using blockchain solutions in areas like supply chain management and decentralised identity hubs.
Looking forward, blockchain will be increasingly validated in the eyes of the public as a real and valuable technology, and a more end-user friendly blockchain platform or protocol will hopefully rise from the ashes in time for 2020.
Keep an eye on blockchain this year - it's only getting better.
The Internet of Things (IoT) … and Io- Other Things
As our devices become more powerful the possibility for greater amounts of information shared between devices grows. Even we've found IoT seeping through into our daily lives– our new coworking space has mobile-controlled locks! Adoption of consumer-focused IoT devices like the Amazon Echo or Google Home has been steadily on the rise with over 24% of the US owning one of these 'smart speakers' and projections showing that in 2019 IoT adoption will hit the adoption threshold of 18-20%. Back home in Australia, the average household's use of interconnected devices is predicted to rise from 13.7 to 30.7 by 2021.
"The average [Australian] household's use of interconnected devices is predicted to rise from 13.7 devices to 30.7 by 2021"
Currently, IoT is more of a once off, buy an item and let it work its magic kinda deal. With rising adoption rates, IoT services in 2019 will likely start developing solutions that move away from the one time purchase to a continued, potentially subscription-based model. While that sounds like a negative, the added research budget does mean that IoT will see some awesome new consumer-level uses.
IoT is coming up to the 'tipping point' where it will experience much faster adoption - thanks DBS Bank
IoT in 2019 isn't limited to just the consumer-level either. Industry's usage of the Internet of Things is also set to boom as reliance on automated processes (robotic workers and automated data collection) increases. Supply-chain management and cybersecurity will become increasingly important as this trend grows–something that blockchain especially excels in and we're looking forward to seeing implemented in more areas.
Other interconnected industries facilitated by IoT such as smart, connected cities and connected mobility infrastructures are in a variety of pipelines worldwide and 2019 will definitely see growth in these areas.
As a digital marketing agency, there's no shortage of data for us to analyse. Whether it be data on our target markets, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), or ROI calculations, data is becoming increasingly important for our success.
This has also been a rising trend for a while now outside of just our field as many companies have been increasing their data-driven marketing budgets for years.
In fact, data scientists are working with huge amounts of data to provide everyday services like Netflix recommendations (spoiler: it's The Office), help you tag your friends on Facebook (creepy), show relevant search results (hello, SEO) and create AIs for video games (they're getting smarter). You may have even heard the term "Big Data" thrown around a lot over the past few years: that's data science too.
Job postings for data science have increased 75% from 2015 to 2018, and we don't see any signs of this slowing down into 2019. As production turns to IoT-enabled devices and robotics and everyone becomes more heavily reliant on technology, we only expect the demand for data science to continue rising.