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2019: AI? 5G? Data? It’s all about Purpose

By Lee Naik, CEO of TransUnion.

It’s that time of year again, where everyone from major consultancies to futurists try to predict what’s to come in the world of business and technology. As always, I like to throw my hat in the ring by looking at our own TransUnion data, combined with market insights, to build a practical Africa-centric picture of where we’re headed over the course of 2019.

One of my favourite phrases is “when digital stops being a thing, it becomes everything.” The trends below encapsulate this, as the disruptive technologies and trends that once seemed so exciting are becoming ordinary parts of our lives. Instead, 2019 is shaping up to be a year of reflection and re-imagination – where we can strip away the hype and meaningfully consider the impact disruptive technologies are having on our society and how we’re going to respond.

Technologies Converge as 5G Lands

Biometrics, robotics, AI, augmented and mixed reality: none of these technologies are new – NASA has been using a digital twin framework as far back as the Apollo 13 mission. What is new is the way in which they are maturing and converging at more or less the same time, allowing them to build on each other and enable new applications. Many potentially disruptive technologies are expected to be embedded in our core processes within the next few years

Smart cities, for example, are exploring the use of real-time machine learning and EDGE computing to better deliver existing connected services. As sensors become cheaper and more ubiquitous, more are gaining access to the digital tools needed to mix and match applications for truly new solutions.

At the same time, the catalyst that will allow these technologies to become accessible to the average African consumer is finally within reach. Last year saw the first commercially available 5G service launched in Lesotho, with more rollouts planned throughout 2019. With 5G offering speeds up to 1000 times faster than what we’re used to, digital connectivity is about to take a quantum leap forward in Africa. With it will come the infrastructure needed for always-connected devices and a fully immersive IoT-driven society.

Click here to read predictions about AI going mainstream, where to draw the line between physical and digital identities, among others.

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