Leading technical experts and academics in their fields, have looked at the year ahead and shared their predictions on how emerging and established technologies – from 5G to robotics – will shape our future. All are senior members of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the world’s largest professional technical organisation dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Much of the institutes technological work is relied on by hundreds of millions of people around the world – most notably their work on producing the Wi-Fi standard that is used globally today.
2018 was a tumultuous year for cyber-security, marred by several large-scale data breaches which shook consumer confidence and made organisations think twice about their data. With the introduction of GDPR, the consequences are far more severe for anyone falling foul of the rules. What does 2019 hold for cyber-security
Steven Furnell, Professor of Infosecurity at Plymouth University, IEEE Senior Member says
While it would look insightful to be predicting the next great threat, the reality is likely to be more mundane…but no less troubling. The threats we already know of will continue to grow in scale, and we will face them from a greater range of sources. Malware, phishing, and other attacks continue to be an ever-present and routine backdrop to our use of IT. All the while, technologies such as mobile, cloud and IoT are all the more pervasive, and will continue to increase the routes for exposure and exploitation. Also, our technology use and dependency continues to increase disproportionately to our efforts (and perhaps appetite) to secure it.
In our GDPR-enhanced era, many organisations face the challenge of data that they can’t track, stored in places that they don’t know about, and accessed from devices they don’t control. This will only increase in 2019.
Against this backdrop, how much certainty do they have? Do they believe they’re secure, hope they’re secure, or simply hope that no-one finds out that they’re not?! In this respect, many will be going into 2019 just hoping that it’s not the year that the wheels fall off!
5G and the potential benefits was a huge talking point this year with a number of major players in the industry committing huge sums of money for 5G spectrum in order to stay ahead of the game. But the next generation of mobile network hasn’t been without its issues. How will 5G progress in 2019?
Professor William Webb, CEO of Weightless SIG, IEEE Senior Member:
2019 will see lots of 5G trials and claims of “5G firsts” but there will be no significant handset availability and very few, if any, mobile subscribers. There might be some fixed wireless subscribers in the US, but that initiative will move less quickly than hoped.
We will see Google’s Fi offering (which links Wi-Fi and cellular) expanded to multiple handsets and start to become available in various forms from various companies (not necessarily Google) in selected countries.
Fibre deployment will take off at pace with a bit of a “gold rush” of deployment, which is great for consumers but will leave a complex landscape that will subsequently need consolidation
Next year will also see a few more mobile operators merge, following trends in the US and we will see the first allowed merger in Europe for many years.
Artificial intelligence has been touted as a game-changer for a number of years and with AI baked into our phones and customer services harnessing AI prowess to improve relations with customers, we look to be on the verge on something huge.
Dr Antonio Espingardeiro, Robotics expert, IEEE Member:
It is difficult to look at AI in the timescale of 12 months. But next year will likely see the start of five year phase that will see AI become more integral to business operations.
The three areas predicted to benefit the most in the next five years from AI are business, industry and communications.
In business AI will be used in automating processes, increasing security and customer service.
In industry, advanced AI techniques applied to robots will help to produce more goods at a faster rate.
In communications, AI will enable higher quality of service (audio/video) and omnipresence.
In the next few years we will see more AI in the transportation sector. Cars will have more sensors: proximity, night vision, image processing through on board cameras, and in a long term a certain level of autonomy (self-driving cars).
However, AI will not be without its challenges. The biggest challenge deals with common sense. It is a philosophical question. We still don’t understand how the human brain process information and how we make “conscious” decisions.
On the other hand, Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) doesn’t have to be a copy, a replica of the human brain. The plane is not a copy of the bird, but it flies higher, faster, it is bigger and serves a human purpose which is to travel long distances. Similarly when thinking about AI we have to be inspired by the biological principles involved, and not by the true replication purpose. On a technical level there is still a lot of challenges related to algorithms and computing power which will be possibly decentralized in the cloud.
The convergence of healthcare and technology has been occurring for several years and this will accelerate in 2019 as hardware is able to do more, analyse data faster and pressure on medical resources increases.
Paul Kostek, Senior Systems Engineer at Base 2 Solutions, IEEE Senior Member suggests:
In 2019 we will see:
Improved sensors that can be attached to patients to monitor health and activity.
Expansion of the use of wearable monitors (e.g. Apple Watch) to allow patients to track their health and provide information to their doctors.
Sensors that can be ingested and used to track a patients health and dispense meds
Expanded use of AI with robotic surgery improving results and decreasing errors.
Use of AR/VR for training simulations for surgeons, nurses and EMTs. Following the model of aircraft simulators, medical industry will expand the use of simulation for training.
Our skies are becoming more and more busy as we look to travel further (Virgin Galatic), cause less environmental damage (Wright Electric) and ease congestion on our roads (Amazon drones). As technology improves, how we travel through the skies will evolve.
Paul Kostek, Senior Systems Engineer at Base 2 Solutions, IEEE Senior Member:
2019 will be the year we see:
Expanded use of drones, particularly in commercial business use. Amazon talked about it, but others are doing it first
Drone delivery of everything from blood (Zipline in Africa) to car parts (ZF of Germany)
In the USA, we will see new regulation opening up air space. This could be the big year for commercial space companies, finally getting tourists into space, or at least lower earth orbit
Virgin Galatic will be the first to offer consumer travel into space, with Blue Origin following. The next challenge will be integrating regular space runs into the National Airspace in the USA.
Continued growth of launches of small satellites will increase demand for launches by operators such as Space-X and increase need for ground operations to support all of the data returned from space.
Progress on flying taxis, in order for Uber to meet its goal of flying in 2020. Establishing safe performance, through testing and demonstrations will need to appear if they are going to launch and actually have customers in 2020
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