10 Top Strategic Predictions for 2019

Blockchain, AI, facial recognition? Here are Gartner's top strategic predictions for 2019 and beyond, delivered during the Gartner Symposium/ITExpo.

Jessica Davis, Senior Editor

October 17, 2018

7 Min Read

Deciding which projects to invest in right away and what projects should wait a little longer is one of the big tasks corporate boards and CIOs are focused on right now during IT budget season. To help decision makers with the big task at hand, Gartner Distinguished VP and Analyst Daryl Plummer announced to a packed house Gartner's Top Strategic Predictions for 2019 and Beyond during Gartner Symposium/ITExpo yestereday in Orlando.

"When we look at predicting the future, we typically have an 80 to 85% accuracy rate across all our predictions, and one of the things that I always say is that that's not good," Plummer said. "I'd be happier if our accuracy rate was 60% because I say if you aren't wrong you're not trying hard enough. I just found out one of our reports dropped to a 30% accuracy rate. I wasn't as happy about that as I thought I might be."

Here's Gartner's list of Top Strategic Predictions for 2019

1. Through 2020, 80% of AI products will remain alchemy, run by wizards whose talents won't scale widely in the organization.

Skills will continue to be a major concern as organizations look to bring their artificial intelligence products up to speed and scale. Plummer said that organizations need to rally the skills that they have in data science, computer engineers, application engineers and DevOps specialists first.

"Those are the people you need to be tapping on the shoulder and saying 'AI, AI, how do we get there?'" Plummer said.

What to watch for in the near term: By the end of 2019, research in data science automation will increase faster than AI data complexity, allowing skills to begin to catch up.

2. By 2023 there will be an 80% reduction in missing people in mature markets compared to 2018 due to AI face recognition.

That means we are going to find people faster, Plummer said. AI recognition can be scaled by taking pictures of all of us all the time. 

"When you are walking along the street in a major city you pass on average 15 cameras for every city block," he said. "What happens when mobile phone devices are also used to capture people in the background and facial recognition is used to identify people?"

What to watch for in the near term: Through 2019, fears of public shootings will reduce outrage about public surveillance.

3. By 2023 emergency department visits will be reduced by 20 million due to enrollment of chronically ill patients in AI-enhanced virtual care.

Only 30% of visits to the emergency room are for accidents, Plummer said. The rest are patients with chronic conditions, and the ER departments can't handle the load.

But AI and monitoring devices deployed with patients who have these chronic conditions can instantly detect when something is going wrong and can help with preventative and reactive care. These patients can be cared for without their going to the ER.

"AI allows wellness and preventative care to scale," Plummer said.

What to watch for in the near term: By year-end 2019 an affordable care organization will have acquired an AI-based mobile trainer/coach company.

4. By 2023 25% of organizations will require employees to sign an affidavit to avoid cyberbullying, but 70% of these initiatives will fail.

Cyberbullying is much more common than you think, Plummer said. Anytime someone uses any kind of electronic media to talk about you in a false and negative way, whether you realize they are doing it or not, that's cyberbullying. And 52% of cyberbullying comes from managers, Plummer said.

One of the tasks will be to teach people to recognize cyberbullying. Organizations must also make sure that leaders model respectful behavior.

What to watch for in the near term: By 2019 there will be 44% more federal lawsuits related to workplace harassment than in 2017.

5.Through 2022, 75% of organizations with frontline decision-making teams reflecting diversity and inclusive culture will exceed their financial targets.

"That's because of productivity. That's because of ideas. That's because of better delivery," Plummer said.  "Teams perform better when they are diverse and inclusive."

Yet only 40% of employees agree managers foster an inclusive environment. What can you do? Create a diversity and inclusion impact scorecard. You can also build scale and engagement of this with technologies.

What to watch for in the near term: By 2020, 15% of large enterprises will be recognized as inclusive workplaces through consistent identification of related behaviors.

6. By 2021 75% of public blockchains will suffer "privacy poisoning" -- inserted personal data that renders the blockchain non-compliant with privacy laws.  

Blockchain has a lot of open text fields.

"If you use an open text field to put in personal information, either maliciously or carelessly without encrypting it, that information goes into the blockchain, and the blockchain is immutable, through the evolution of its life it can't be deleted," Plummer said. You can't delete it, and it's not compliant with privacy laws.

"Privacy may be the Achilles heel of blockchain if we don't address it quickly," he said.

To do that organizations should embrace privacy by design principals.

What to watch for in the near term: Active enforcement of ePrivacy regulation will become reality before Q1 of 2020.

7. By 2023 ePrivacy legislation will increase online costs by minimizing the use of "cookies" thus crippling the current internet ad revenue machine.

That means at some point consumers may no longer offer their personal information for free. 

Ad-based revenue will decline, and direct pay models for premium content and features will increase.

What to watch for in the near term: By year end 2019, advertising revenue for five major commerce marketing technology companies will decline by 10%.

8. Through 2022, a fast path to digital will be converting internal capabilities to external revenue-generating products.

Many internal IT organizations have developed unique capabilities that may be viable to sell on the commercial market. You should identify external prospects who might benefit from your data and algorithms

"Start looking at the internal things you do and consider, 'can we sell it?'" Plummer said. You may fail in some of these efforts, but when you fail, you learn.

Need help to get from here to there? Consider acquiring an analytics technology company to fill in any holes you have in capabilities.

What to watch for in the near term: In 2019, top performers will shift from cost cutting to revenue building.

9. By 2022, companies leveraging the "gatekeeper" position of the digital giants will capture 40% of global market share on average in their industry.

"The top 4 companies in any industry are going to have 40% or more of the total market share," Plummer said. "All the rest will have to divvy up the remaining 60%. We are saying market concentration is going to happen. Top players will have more and more of your money."

In that kind of an environment that is dominated by digital giants such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook, organizations should balance interoperability efficiencies against single ecosystem risks. Plummer said you will need to deal with multiple partners rather than finding a single long-term partner.

What to watch for in the near term: By the end of 2019, market concentration will spread from a national to a global trend.

10. Through 2021, social media scandals and security breaches will have effectively zero lasting consumer impact.

Plummer admits that this conflicts with what another analyst said during Gartner's opening keynote this week about how people are deleting their social media accounts. Plummer asked the audience how many of them had deleted their Facebook accounts and counted about five people who raised their hands.
"You guys keep using this stuff, so stop complaining," he said. "You got no privacy! Give it up!"

What to watch for in the near term: The number of people using social media every day will increase steadily through 2019.

About the Author(s)

Jessica Davis

Senior Editor

Jessica Davis is a Senior Editor at InformationWeek. She covers enterprise IT leadership, careers, artificial intelligence, data and analytics, and enterprise software. She has spent a career covering the intersection of business and technology. Follow her on twitter: @jessicadavis.

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