2019 Trends Part 1: Software Technology Trends
2018 was a big year for us with significant progress in our agile transformation and digital transformation practices. Culture continues to be a big part of the impact on our organization, and on how we impact our customer partners. This year, I've broken up the conversation into two parts, one on technology (my first passion) and the second on culture and the impact it's having on technology and organizations. Let's get started with the 7 big trends we see opening up in 2019...
1) Voice as User Interface
We’ve talked about talking to our computers for a long time (think that famous scene in Star Trek) but 2018 saw some significant changes that will make voice a game-changer in 2019. Apple opened up Siri to allow voice control for other apps at the device level. We’re already talking to customers about how we can leverage this in their apps, especially consumer facing apps, but also for staff that need their hands free to do important things while talking to their phones. The one big hindrance will be privacy. People will have to continue to decide whether they’re willing to give up some privacy in order to have the ease of use of voice controlled apps. Most people, including myself, think of home automation hubs.
You might be thinking I mean Smart Assistants, and I do, but I think more broadly about them because the primary use for these is quickly becoming home automation. From my perspective Apple’s Siri is winning this game followed closely by Amazon’s Alexa, and in distant last place Google. This is primarily because I find that Siri is best at guessing what’s I’m trying to accomplish. It’s true that not as many devices support Siri but as it’s opened up (think Samsung building AirPlay 2 and Homekit into their TVs) it’s got the best chance due to the quality of their AI engine. In 2020, you’ll start to see more interfaces becoming commonplace. Just check out Apple’s recent acquisition of the XXX eye-tracking company.
2) Unlocking Data
For years now we’ve talked to our customers about how the highest valued component of their project is the data that’s generated. For years we haven’t been able to figure out how to unlock that. In 2019 we will make great strides in this area. More people are being trained and more tools are being developed to enable this. And it’s one of our top priorities. Big drivers will be machine learning driving artificial intelligence and the key to it will be companies using these tools to find the value in the data that they weren’t looking for. Read more about the latest AI trends from Globant.
On the DevOps front, orchestration will become widely used. This is the approach where tools (primarily kubernetes) are used to manage multiple instances of applications in cloud environments. This is the primary enabler of multi-cloud approach (think using Amazon, Google, Microsoft without much architectural worry about which environment you’re using), smart deployments, and infrastructure as code allowing everyone to collaborate better without worrying about the headaches of production deployment. The big enablers here were Microsoft and subsequently Amazon providing kubernetes-as-a-service which meant organizations didn’t have to deploy yet another server to run orchestration. For me, it was like the government building interstates allowing us all to get around without having to think much about the core infrastructure.
OK, so not really a trend in 2019 so much as just a trend. The reality is it will continue to get worse. The big move in 2019 is that companies will invest big-time in training employees to look out for it. We’ll all be thinking security first when architecting solutions, continuously testing applications (legacy and in development) for vulnerabilities, looking for new ways to test for vulnerabilities (think AI) and, quite frankly, crossing fingers and toes. If you think you haven’t been a victim yet, you’re just not looking hard enough. Tim McGuire, a Product Manager, said it best, “People don’t talk about hacking anymore because our data is being given away by the people we’re sharing it with.”
5) Mixed Reality
We’ve all played around with VR headsets, watching those stomach-churning YouTube rollercoaster videos, and reaching out for something that’s not there. 2019 will see more companies looking for practical ways to use VR and AR to sell products interactively (think safe training for dangerous shop floor activities or access to interactive product structure breakdowns on the airplane aisle for aircraft mechanics), train employees, and make boring products fun.
6) UX in Agile
I get a lot of questions about how UX fits into the Agile world. The truth is UX wasn’t even included in the Agile Manifesto. No wonder everyone is still trying to make Agile and UX play nicely together. Every project we start today has become absolutely dependent on our UX team. We made great strides in 2018 to include UX in our Agile Playbook but 2019 will mark the time when we aren’t trying to force UX into the Agile process but it’s just a natural component.
We played around with a lot of Metrics and KPIs with our Agile Scorecard last year. It was a natural part of our Agile Playbook but we were trying to do too much and people tired of reporting and gathering the data required to really measure the effectiveness of our Agile approach and the subsequent success of our projects from an Agile perspective. This year we’re going to focus on simplifying and getting back to the basic metrics that people understand like Lead Time, Time to Recover, and Defect Rate of Change. We’ve been really inspired by Nicole Forsgren’s Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps. She focuses on driving business value, and that’s ultimately what we’re all trying to do!
2019 is going to be a great year for technology as we work to leverage technology to make the best software with the best user experience we’ve ever created. Next week read more about how I see 2019 teeing up regarding culture and society.
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About the author
Patrick Turner doesn't like technology; he loves it. He discovered this passion at the age of ten on a trip to a local Radio Shack with his brother. Since then, Patrick has turned his love of technology into a thriving career, amassing over 20 years of experience producing software solutions for a broad range of business needs. Technical skills aside, he’s also known for being one who does the right things for the right reasons, even if it’s not the easiest. But this approach has led to the translation of business needs into viable software solutions. In layman’s terms, he’s a problem solver who’s not afraid to provide the right solution while showing the work it took to get there.
Outside of the Small Footprint office, you can find Patrick somewhere in nature. As an avid outdoorsman, he enjoys skiing and camping whenever he gets the chance. By his side, or by his own admission normally out in front, you'll find his wife Alison and their two children, William and Fiona. Patrick is a man of the world, believes in taking care of others and knows technology can reshape the boundaries of the previously unexplored.