By Amy Weiss, for Xerox – Every year industry experts, pundits and almost everyone involved in the tech industry likes to discuss trends and make predictions. The first quarter of each year, then, is a good time first to look back at the previous year’s trends, both those that came true and those that proved to be less accurate, and from that, draw new predictions and plan for what the year ahead may hold. Some of those predictions will be wild. Out there. Unorthodox. And some of them aren’t. That’s what we’re presenting here: three trends that we can pretty safely guarantee will be important to almost everyone in the office technology industry. Let’s take a look at a few that you can probably take to the bank.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
If you paid any attention to the news coming out of the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, you probably saw a lot of talk about AI. It’s not new, of course — AI has been a hot topic for a couple of years now, as it transitions from an element of science fiction to a critical part of the business environment. But while we frequently, and sometimes flippantly, refer to AI as “robots” and live either in fear of them taking over human jobs or in the hopes of them taking on tasks that humans don’t want to do, the truth is that AI pervades the workspace in some less obvious ways. For instance, AI can be found in office and production print workflows, determining document layouts, automating distribution lists and allowing hardware to self-monitor and make real-time adjustments. For 2019, the true watchword for AI is “convergence” — a PwC study shows that for 36 percent of respondents, the merging of AI with other technologies is a priority. These other technologies include analytics, blockchain and the internet of things (IoT), which leads us to another major trend for business in 2019.