Fast Company shared this article, The Biggest Tech Trends of 2019 According to Top Experts through their newsletter. One of our speakers, Nancy Shenker, immediately noticed an issue: “Where are the women?”
Yes, that’s right, when it was published, and distributed to however many zillion people get Fast Company newsletters, none of Fast Company’s “Top Experts” were women. A few hours later (as of this writing at 10:00 pm EST Thursday night), the article has one woman quoted. There are 16 men listed.
So, in the interest of equal time, here are some of the top 2019 trends from women – many of them speakers and experts from Innovation Women. (Yes, reporters, you can use our platform to quickly connect with expert sources, who all just happen to be women.) Read on to learn more about important trends in AI, AR/VR/MR, Smart cities, IoT, security, data privacy, fintech and more.
(P.S. Timoni West, you can hang out with us any time!)
Nancy A. Shenker, business consultant, writer, and woman in tech >50 #WITF
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution will become a reality, as AI, machine learning, and robotics will impact many industries. VOIT and the IoT will be refined and voice will gradually replace and augment text. People over 50 (especially women) will need to continue to fight for our place in the working world and, although gigging will become a way of life for many Americans, those people who want to continue to work for established companies will become more vocal in raising awareness of ageism.”
Sandy Carielli, Director of Security Technologies at Entrust Datacard
Data privacy takes center stage: While privacy has been a topic of conversation at the policy and regulatory level for several years, consumers have mostly responded to data breaches and privacy violations with a shrug.  That will change in 2019. Facebook’s terrible, horrible 2018 has gotten consumer attention in a way that previous data privacy incidents have not. In 2019, more consumers will begin to push back on companies collecting and monetizing their personal data – by declining to share personal information, scrubbing their profiles or removing apps entirely.  In response, privacy will finally become a differentiator: new offerings will tout strict privacy features and existing apps will introduce more transparent ways for users to understand and manage third party access to data.  At the same time, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone creates a platform that enables users (rather than corporations) to profit directly from sharing their personal data with third parties.”
Nancy Ranxing Li, Ph.D. Product Manager of Edge Computing and IoT, Verizon
“Cities Are Getting Smarter: Smart Cities became the biggest Enterprise IoT segment in 2018 according to IoT Analytics 2018 Report. It leapfrogged the Industrial IoT which was the biggest segment in 2017. Smart Cities segment will continue to grow worldwide in 2019 and the coming few years. The population is expanding. The citizens’ expectations are rising. The demographics are changing. However, our infrastructure is aging. In the past few years, cities all around the world are using new technologies to address the needs of citizens. More and more smart cameras, connected signals, intelligent traffic systems will be deployed. Soon we will experience the era of self-driving cars. Cities are learning and will be forced to learn new business models to fund their growth.
“5G and Edge Computing are the disruptors: The impact of 5G and Edge Computing to enterprises in 2019 is just like iPhone to consumers in 2007. 5G cell phones have hit the market in 2018. We will see more adoptions in 2019. Even more exciting? Telecom giants and cloud providers are looking to move computation from the cloud onto the edge of the network. The computation results will be communicated through the 5G network to enable real-time solutions for enterprise companies. For example, soon robots can offload computing to the edge. It means the robots will have longer battery life, smaller and more flexible design, and faster response time. Self-driving cars and flying cars are able to detect danger and make decisions in mili-seconds. Many more new innovations will be triggered and enabled by 5G and Edge Computing.”
Jagathi Gururajan Global technology executive, fintech adviser, founder, FintechWomen
“We will see savvy enterprises make their biggest bets on machine learning and AI technologies for back-office efficiencies though data asset consolidation.  While money will still be invested in over-hyped AI. AR and VR scenarios for the ultimate digital customer experience, true and immediate value will be realized from data aggregation, regulation and analysis of shared cross-silo data. We will see smart investment on humbler initiates like data consolidation, improving process automation and speeding business decisioning. For example, in the financial sector, though the AI-based customer experience is hyped, it is customer application evaluation, fraud detection and internal optimization problems that are already beginning to bear fruit. These AI-based back office efficiencies will provide a much stronger foundation to create a distinct market competitive advantage.”
Amy Peck, CEO, EndeavorVR:
“Augmented Reality (AR) – Augmented Reality headsets will continue to evolve and offer more and more utility, especially in the enterprise. Microsoft will likely release the Hololens 2.0 version in the coming months. Magic Leap is offering grants to developers from all over the world to build out scalable solutions for the Magic Leap One. Consumer AR spectacles are a bit further out, though we are starting to see the first glimpse of truly wearable AR Wearables. Focals by North has launched two showrooms, one in their hometown Toronto and the other in Brooklyn. Focals are fashionable smart glasses that have Alexa integrated, allowing you to use your voice to send and receive messages, see turn-by-turn directions, or call an Uber and all will be displayed in your field of view. Apple and Facebook’s AR glasses offering will blend both worlds: broad utility and fashionable form factor – this is the consumer AR holy grail.
“Interactive Storytelling – This is the first step into Mixed Reality (MR) storytelling, wherein traditional linear storytelling formats merge with the 3D worlds of AAA games. Netflix recently released Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, which gives fans the opportunity to choose their own adventure in the form of a branching story-line. Viewers are able to make choices at various points in the action. This idea is not new, but instead is an evolution on the road to a new construct of storytelling. Viewers are in control of their path within a story and eventually, with digital humans and AI, will be able to interact with characters and ultimately influence story outcomes. Rather than stories being told in the way a director envisions, instead, viewers will become part of the story. They might choose multiple paths and meander through deep story-lines, characters and scenarios. They may even record their own journey to share and exchange with other viewers – a sort of alternative experience curated by each viewer. Storytelling will become more about creating worlds for exploration and engaging viewers on a more visceral level.
“Virtual Reality in Healthcare – Virtual Reality (VR) is finally out of technology jail, having been released earlier this year from Gartner’s Hype Cycle. The use cases for VR in the enterprise are well documented, especially in simulation and training. Training in a virtual environment gives the user the opportunity to learn by doing, even replicating scenarios that would be impossible to recreate in real life. In behavioral health, virtual reality is proving to be very effective in helping patients overcome anxiety, phobias, addiction and social disorders. Patients can be immersed in virtual environments where they can practice navigating situations that have been triggers for negative or undesirable behavior. Though many studies are still in early stages, there is growing evidence to support the efficacy of these programs. VR has been called the empathy machine, allowing people to truly walk in another’s shoes. The broader opportunity here is not only to help individuals overcome their own personal challenges, but to help others realize the difficulties in living with such afflictions. Perhaps we can all take a step forward using this technology to improve our own lives as well as engender more support and better understanding for others.”
Swathi Young, the founder of TechNotch Solutions and chief product strategist, recently published 10 trends in artificial intelligence, including: reinforcement learning, ethics in AI, quantum computing, the convergence of AI and other emerging technologies such as IoT and blockchain, facial recognition, biased data, neural networks, new socio-economic models around AI, deep learning, and privacy and policy. Young doesn’t just focus on new technologies and applications but how that technology intersects with the society.
Felicite Moorman, Esq., CEO, BuLogics
“Urbanization Leads Innovation. There are 3.7 billion people living in cities, more than half of the human population, for the first time in history. The necessity of innovation around our urban spaces will dominate the foreseeable future. Call it Smart Cities. Call it IoT. AI. All of these will be required to create enough efficient space in which to live, eat, and learn. Practical applications will rule the immediate landscape and visionaries who can expand on the practicalities will determine the livability of our future.”
Anne Ahola Ward, Growth Scientist, O’Reilly Author and Futurist
Every year Anne Aloha Ward takes stock of what’s been happening but also looking ahead to the coming year.  This year her annual roundup included: influencer measurement and accountability; ethics in machine learning; video chat messages; the decline in Facebook; and disaster chic fashion.
Christina Qi, Co-Founder and Partner at Domeyard LP
Finance is quickly becoming synonymous with fintech, as we continue to see traditional financial firms adopt technologies at all levels, from front office strategies to back office operations. The growth of big data, faster computing power, and cheaper storage created a subset of what we call “alternative data” in finance – large-scale data-sets on everything from parking lots to social media feeds. While numerous alternative data companies launched in recent years, 2018 felt like the Wild West of data. Many data-sets we reviewed were unreliable and unusable for signal generation in finance. We look forward to actually being able to adopt alternative data, not as a side project, but as a main source of alpha generation for hedge funds in 2019. Other topics of focus include privacy and the adoption of cloud storage in financial services.
Cathy Hackl is one of the top women working in the AR VR industry. She’s LinkedIn’s #4 Top Tech Voice globally on the platform. She’s worked with brands like HTC VIVE, Magic Leap, and Mozilla.
“WebXR Will Make it Easier for Consumers to Use AR – Currently most mobile AR has to be accessed through dedicated apps, presenting an adoption hurdle to customers reluctant to download an app they may not use more than once. Ubiquity can overcome this hurdle, but is currently enjoyed by Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. The browser has evolved to support streaming, transactions and gaming, and AR technologies should fit its paradigm readily as well.
Imagine reading an article online and clicking on a link that automatically opens up your browser and camera and places that item in front of you seamlessly. There’s no app to download, it all happens through the web. This is WebXR and in 2019 it will be a reality. Already companies like Mozilla and Google are working to bring WebXr to browsers. Once that happens, it will eliminate the friction point of needing to download a separate app.
CGI Influencers, Holograms, and Virtual Humans
Lil Miquela and other CGI influencers made headlines in 2018. Lil Miquela is a CGI model created by Brud that has 1.5 million followers on Instagram. She books campaigns with brands like Diesel without being human. Holograms like Hatsune Miku and ‪Roy Orbison ‬are selling out auditoriums, and we are using more AI-powered chatbots to get our questions answered and to reach out to brands and businesses on social media. Whether we like them or not, CGI Influencers, holograms, and virtual humans will continue to make news in 2019 and will further invade your news feed. With the help of You Are Here Labs I launched the world’s first holographic press release last year. Volumetric video will start to become a big trend in 2019.The holograms are coming!”
Tanya Bakalov, CEO & Founder of HelloTeam Inc.
“With the job market growth stronger than ever, and the number of job openings exceeding the number of job seekers, the employers will have to become much more strategic around employee retention. By the end of the year, millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce. This group values making an impact, having purpose and a flexible work-life balance more than any other generation. With tightened competition, we witness companies rushing to reimagine how they go about acquiring, developing and retaining talent. Trendy perks, free lunches and nap pods won’t prevent millennials from leaving. Companies will increasingly rely on tools that promote and support communication, collaboration, professional development and performance. Millennials find it far more critical to be connected to the purpose, goals and mission of their company, to receive meaningful feedback, and to be recognized for a job well done. Companies that proactively address this shift in attitudes and implement employee experience strategies to reflect these trends will become the new market leaders in 2019 and beyond.”
Tracy Welson Rossman, the founder of TechGirlz and CMO of Chariot Solutions.
“There are many technologies and tools the Chariot team will be exploring and learning to help our clients with their software development projects. One of the most important will be cloud computing.  Our team has already been architecting software solutions to work in the cloud, but there are more aspects to learn for us to create fuller solutions. These range from security, mobile and IoT applications on the cloud, and serverless computing. Cloud computing will continue to allow small and medium sized businesses to have access to many enterprise level software tools.”
As a Forbes blogger, Tracy recently highlighted a number of 2019 tech trends being driven by women, including: mobile political engagement, democratization of access, enterprise interoperability, safety and security, and international customization.
Technology is a great equalizer, unless you don’t get quoted in the story.
Photo by Daniel Chen on Unsplash.

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