We may have never before been in an era of such rapid technological change. Of course, much more is coming. Last fall, Gartner research predicted some of the big tech trends of 2018 and beyond, and it was quite a bounty: The continued rise of artificial intelligence and cloud-based computing, new developments in the internet of things, conversational platforms and other areas made the list. All of that and more is underway, but I see a few advances coming in 2019 that can be truly transformative of the marketplace and consumer tech reality.
Blockchain-Based Identity And Privacy With the growing prevalence of data breaches and the massively interconnected world we live in, new ways to verify identity and protect privacy will be game changers. Blockchain is a natural for this role because the whole point of it is to provide robust, incorruptible — yet encrypted — recordkeeping that anyone can easily verify. Companies like Evernym are already starting to do it. Blockchain can also be used for shopping security, whether online or in person. Shopin, a startup in this space, has now created a "universal shopper profile" that is undergirded by blockchain. Unlike most systems these days, in which your purchase histories are stored and carefully scrutinized and shared by big names such as Google, Shopin restricts its information collection and sharing to only those entities that you (the consumer) grant it to share. Shopin also puts a new spin on how retailers buy ads: By receiving Shopin tokens for viewing ads, it's the consumer who economically benefits and not the content provider. In a new era of Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (and other similar online data privacy legislation on the way), blockchain is poised to take its place at center stage in today's economy. It’s likely that this change will be top-down: People won't be demanding blockchain, so businesses will have to lead the charge in transitioning to this system.