Top 5 tech trends for network managers in 2019

From a move to the edge to AI as the new UI, we’ve ripped the shiny paper off five of IDC’s most notable tech predictions as we head into 2019.


December is the time of year when I look forward to unwrapping surprises bestowed upon the world by a certain gentleman with silver hair.

Not Santa! No, if you’re in the technology game, you tune into IDC’s annual webcast of global IT predictions to hear what chief analyst Frank Gens sees for the year ahead.

Unlike the mythical Mr. Claus, Gens has a full head of silver hair, and is in trim shape thanks to his love of running, including several Boston Marathons. As each year nears its end, Gens unveils the biggest tech trends expected to shape global IT over the next 12 months.

While you can find IDC’s full list of 10 predictions here, we’ve ripped the shiny paper off five of the most notable ones for enterprise network managers to unpack as they head into 2019.

A move to the edge

By 2022, over 40 per cent of organizations’ cloud deployments will include edge computing.

“A massive expansion of digital reach is underway as cloud infrastructure shifts farther out to the edge,” Gens said, adding that “containers will be a foundation for all of this.”

Things will really get interesting once artificial intelligence is added to the mix. If, as IDC expects, 25 per cent of endpoint devices and systems will execute AI algorithms by 2022, “AI at the edge will drive a new wave of competitive advantage and IT architecture,” Gens said.

AI as the new UI

By 2024, AI-enabled user interfaces and process automation will replace one-third of today’s screen-based apps; by 2022, 30 per cent of enterprises will use conversational speech tech for customer engagement.

Welcome to a hands-free world. Keyboards and touch screens are increasingly being replaced by voice, gesture and visual commands, thanks to the potent combination of AI and automation.

In Gens’s estimation, “AI will constitute the front end of user experience IT.”

With that in mind, he advises organizations to work now on developing “what will literally be the voice of [their] business,” especially as voice-activated search and command become commonplace. The sound, personality and conversational style of each organization’s virtual voice interface will act as a “brand extension” of their company, Gens said.

DIY development

By 2024, a new class of professional developers producing code without custom scripting will expand the developer population by 30 per cent, accelerating digital transformation.

The proliferation of open source, DevOps, API and PaaS protocols is making DIY development quick, cheap and easy. Between 2018 and 2023, Gens predicts this will fuel the production of 500 million new “logical apps,” equaling the total number of apps built during the past 40 years.

To prepare, Gens urges enterprises to adopt the mindset that “everyone’s a developer.”

Rise of vertical apps

By 2022, 25 per cent of public cloud computing will be based on non-x86 processors (including quantum); by 2022, organizations will spend more on vertical SaaS apps than horizontal apps.

The next wave of smarter, more powerful processing architecture is on the way. It includes application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), which are designed for a narrowly defined set of applications and tasks. Gen said this will spawn a breed of specialized apps “to address the specific requirements of their vertical industry and their business.”

Instead of relying on homogeneous one-size-fits-all apps, enterprises can (and should, in Gens’s words) “seek out vertical SaaS apps from vendors with deep domain expertise” in their own industry sector.

Megacloud vs. multicloud

By 2022, the top four cloud “megaplatforms” will host 80 per cent of IaaS/PaaS deployments, but by 2024 90 per cent of G1000 organizations will mitigate lock-in through multicloud/hybrid technologies and tools.

Did we just finish telling you apps are getting narrower and more specific? Yes. Now wrap your head around the idea that the megacloud ecosystem is headed in the completely opposite direction – namely, towards consolidation and homogeneity.

Since only a few players will probably end up dominating the cloud megaplatform arena, “it [may] leave customers feeling locked in to four or five dominant providers,” Gens warned.

He said many enterprises will eventually work around that by developing an integrated multicloud management strategy, seeking app architects who can develop new hybrid applications, finding cloud management tools with AI-enabled automation, and looking for cloud providers that offer open source options.

Image: sorbetto/iStock

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