Business Tech Trends of 2019 to Help You Stay Ahead of Competitors

October 9, 2020

2019 promises to be another exciting year for tech, but with so much going on it can be hard to follow the trends that will do the most for your business. Here I will distill 2019 into the top 4 tech trends to follow this year.

1 Alternative Finance

Alternative Finance routes will continue to take a pivotal role in the business and financial climate of 2019, especially for startups and companies still in incubation. Alternative Finance is a broad umbrella, but the giants sitting under it are very clearly Crowdfunding and P2P Lending.

P2P Lending presents a new channel for investment and funding which subverts out traditional financial models, and offers some notable advantages over traditional investment and lending. With the potential for greater return for lenders, and reduced interest rates for borrowers, it’s no wonder that P2P Lending has become an icon of the fintech revolution. They are an oasis in the desert for small and medium businesses who are either not happy with the terms laid out by the banks, or who do not meet the criteria to borrow traditionally.

With the ever growing number of P2Ps, it can be difficult to keep track of the important players. In the UK, the three largest P2Ps are:

Zopa – £3.5 Billion lent since 2005

Rate Setter – £2.7 Billion lent since 2010

Funding Circle – £3.8 Billion lent since 2010

Crowdfunding for businesses can be broken down into three main categories:

Reward Crowdfunding – Allows clients to offer tiered rewards for donations. These rewards could be the final product upon completion, early access to a game or piece of software, and anything else that might tempt would-be donators. The biggest example of a Reward Crowdfunder is of course Kickstarter.

Debt Crowdfunding – P2P Lenders are the best example of Debt Crowdfunding, but have grown and diverted in branding and ethos to a degree that they now exist in a category of their own.

Equity Crowdfunding – Equity Crowdfunding does what it says on the tin. For investors it is high risk, but potentially very high return. This high risk means that it is usually a type of funding only successfully harnessed by businesses which are already growing. A couple of prime example of this variety of crowdfunding are Wefunder and Localstake.

2 AI and Virtual Assistants

AI has been ‘just around the corner’ for the last 60 or so years. Although the promise has been there for so long, it is only now that we can start to truly see what the near future will yield. We are currently experiencing some amazing innovations in AI, and the incredible aptitude for lateral thinking that industry experts have demonstrated. Customer management and support is seeing more practical use of AI than any other area with chatbots and Virtual Assistants being thrust into rolls traditionally operated by human employees. Virtual Assistants are coming into the homes of consumers at an alarming rate, with Gartner predicting a huge 75% of homes will be host to a Virtual Assistant by 2020, and integration with these systems is becoming a priority for many companies.

Among these more predictable routes for AI, there are some wild cards. Hatch AI are an Edinburgh based fintech working on software to aid financial advisors in delivering the best client support possible. Their app records and transcribes the conversation between client and advisor, automatically generating documentation, and delivering Live AI recommendations in real time. The Cybersecurity company Avast predict that 2019 will see the rise of adversarial AI competing to both crack and defend systems – a rivalry which is sure to stimulate arms race style developments.

The future of AI is still very cloudy. It can be difficult to spot the genuine article from the buzzword. The more wild developments in AI are also likely to be the most unexpected. It is one of the most important spaces to watch in 2019, and quite frankly it might be difficult not to watch.

3 Business Intelligence and Content Curation

It is no secret that the fast and efficient analysis of data is integral to the successful running of a business. Making informed decisions can only be achieved through intelligent insight, and increasingly this is being done automatically. Data Harnessing Technology confronts the difficulty and cost in data analysis, as well as the incredible value in it.

Automated Content Curation software is one particularly important piece of technology currently making moves in the business world. Content Curation software has been around for a while in quite primitive forms, but it is evolving quickly. Smart tagging, contextual search, sentiment analysis, meta-analysis, and automated insights are just some of the features changing the way we use and consume content.

The sheer quantity of news, data, and information makes human curators increasingly inadequate at performing important Business Intelligence tasks. Credit Risk Management departments are the perfect example of this. Protecting investments can be difficult, and by the time the financials indicate potential problems it can be too late to take action. Automated Content Curation acts as an early warning system, giving CRMs a chance to react before incurring loss.

4 Data Protection

The significance of consumer data is also now unavoidable, a fact which was made apparent in 2018 with the implementation of GDPR. It is changing the way businesses develop, advertise, and grow, but it has also created a minefield of data protection regulation. This presents one of the greatest pitfalls of  Companies have an interest in securing vast quantities of user data, but frequently do not have the facilities or ability to protect that data, failing their legal duty to do so. 2018 saw some huge security breaches, compromising the personal information of nearly two billion people, if we include the Aadhaar leak which was reported in early January last year. This will continue in 2019 and likely beyond as companies struggle to keep up with the changing landscape of data security.