Trending is a word that gets thrown around, especially as we start the new year. In every industry around the world, everyone wants to know “what’s hot”, “what’s new” and “what’s trending.”

Technology is a principal factor in the social, economic and political changes we currently see worldwide. It influences our lives on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s subtle and at other times over, but there truly is no way to ignore technology, and honestly, you don’t want to.

The ICT industry is one of the most exciting and innovative fields out there, and to stay ahead of the competition, you need to keep your finger on the pulse and your eye on the trends.

A Snapshot of The Philippine ICT Scene

Information technology remains an important engine in the Philippine economy. According to an investment report conducted by KPMG, Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) has emerged as the country’s most dynamic industry since the beginning of the 21st century, earning US$22.9B in revenue in 2016. Globally, the Philippines also positions itself as one of the leading IT-BPM destinations, surpassing India in 2010 as the leading provider of voice services with US$5.7B in revenues.

A quick look at the 2018 Global Innovation Index also shows some interesting insights. In the entire Southeast Asia region, the Philippine leads in terms of ICT (information and communications technology) services exports, likely confirming its global position as the leading provider of voice and non-voice contact centers. Yet more interestingly, the country also places in the global top 50 in terms of Business Sophistication, ranking 44th worldwide. This metric comprises of factors such as knowledge workers, innovation linkages, as well as knowledge absorption. While these denote a relatively conducive landscape for innovation, there is plenty of room for more efforts to improve the country’s global technological standing. As of this year, the Philippines ranks 73rd worldwide in the overall index.

These metrics at hand also help categorize the country as a place for further growth. Fitch Solutions reports that the Philippines has considerable potential to become a frontier market, given its robust economic outlook and relatively low device and solution penetration in the retail and enterprise market. Vendors can tap into its catch-up potential, supported by more progressive economic policies spearheaded by the government. For instance, software sales have been recorded at PHP29.3B in 2018, benefiting from the growth of tech intensive industries such as Business Process Outsourcing (BPOs), financial services, and telecoms.

So what tech will be trending in 2019?

Artificial Intelligence (A.I.)

Artificial Intelligence is fast becoming part of our everyday lives. It’s here and here to stay. As computing power continues to increase at an awe-inspiring rate, computers and machines are mastering tasks faster and better than we ever can. In all aspects of our lives and businesses, A.I. is having an undeniable impact. Security, surgery, diagnostics, design… A.I. is doing it all, and doing it well. And in 2019 it will continue to grow, improve and entrench itself deeper in our personal and business lives.

RPA: Robot Process Automation (Automation to the peak of success)

The simple definition of Robot Process Automation is the automation of tasks and processes that are repetitive in nature, like data capture. As the abilities of A.I. increase, more and more robots, machines, appliances, and gadgets will be invented to automate basic, repetitive tasks. This will increase the productivity and efficiency of certain types of work and will reduce, or in some cases even eliminate particular jobs but it will also lead to the creation of new and different forms of employment.

Autonomous Driving (Robot Cars: ROS)

Once again the rapid growth in A.I. and machine learning, is driving other industries. The autonomous driving car is now no longer a dream, it is a reality. Autonomous driving, or self-driving, cars will soon be on our roads and they will be able to drive safely without human intervention. These vehicles will be able to sense their environment and surroundings and navigate without the aid of human input, ultimately becoming safer than any car operated by a person.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a way for companies to access shared information and computing power through the internet. It can be in the form of software, storage, servers, databases and services, and it allows companies to become less office bound and more global. Cloud computing means that companies are no longer setting up their own dedicated servers or IT services but are rather making use of clouds to store and access information.

IoT (Internet of Things)

The Internet of Things or IoT is a network of devices, vehicles, appliances, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and connectivity that enable them to connect and exchange data. This allows for more direct integration between the physical world and computer-based systems. The IoT is fast becoming more and more common in daily life, and moving forward we will definitely see people becoming more dependent on the IoT and smart technology.

Digital Signage

The digital signage industry is currently growing rapidly. The adaptability, portability, and ease of installation of digital signs are making them more popular. These signs are popping up everywhere – in shopping centers, retail displays, trade shows, and product launches. One of the aspects driving this trend is that digital signage is no longer just about screens placed around venues, office, and workspaces to display information, it is now about interaction. Screens have become slimmer and can be designed to integrate into their environment, rather than stand out from it. The focus is no longer on the screen but rather on the content.

Companies are also giving more thought to how customers interact with digital signage. New technology allows signs to have responsive content that automatically changes according to external triggers. This creates an improved user experience by providing information that is relevant to the current situation. The trend in digital signage in 2019 is an increased focus on personalization, interaction and responsiveness to provide a better overall user experience.

Managed Print Services

For a large number of companies, printing is the highest operating expense after rent and payroll. Maintaining aging printers, or buying new ones, is expensive and for many businesses, it is no longer cost-effective. More businesses are turning to companies like Versatech International for all their printing needs. 2019 will see a continuation in the trend, moving away from owning printers and towards managed print services. Implementing an effective printing policy and utilizing managed print services is not only good for your business, it is also good for the environment.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

Virtual Reality is an artificial environment that is created using software and allows people to suspend reality, and create a virtual world that looks and feels three dimensional. In this model, the reality is portrayed in a virtual world. Augmented Reality is using technology to superimpose a computer-generated image onto a person’s view of the real world to provide a composite view. AR doesn’t change your reality, it merely adds to it. As technology continues to advance, both these realities will become more and more common in our daily lives.

Big Data Scientists

There is an abundance of data out there. It is constantly being collected by companies and apps on the Internet, but the raw data is meaningless until it is properly interpreted. One of the rising trends in 2019 is extracting useful information from large amounts of data. Experts who specialize in turning data into useful information are called Big Data Scientists. These Big Data Scientists can help companies improve their productivity, efficiency, and profitability.

Cyber Security

Rapid advances in technology and the fast growth of the ICT industry has led to a rise in cybercrime. The increased use of cloud computing, crypto-currency, IoT, data mining and greater automation in the workplace, means that organizations need to be more vigilant and security savvy. As hackers become more sophisticated, cybersecurity specialists are becoming more proactive in order to stay one step ahead of the criminals. This means that cybersecurity will continue to be a trend in 2019 and the foreseeable future.

Technology is advancing rapidly and opening up a whole new world of possibilities for everyone. It is essential for businesses to keep a close eye on technology trends in order to remain competitive and profitable.