2019: The year of the data-driven digital ecosystem

  • New startups will emerge to tackle the bigger challenges that make AI a reality
  • We’ll see machine intelligence used to create immersive, everyday experiences


2019: The year of the data-driven digital ecosystem


2019: The year of the data-driven digital ecosystemIT’S that time of year again as we close out 2018 and look to the possibilities that lie ahead in 2019, and it is with renewed vigour that we journey into the new year as ‘Malaysia Baru’. The next decade of innovation will take us into the next era of Human-Machine Partnerships, where we predict that technology will impact the future of living, work and the economy.

We made some bold predictions last year, with some coming to fruition faster than others. In Malaysia, there’s still much to do in advancing artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, and autonomous systems are continuing to take shape as organisations explore and build the digital backbone to support them. 

Let’s look at our top predictions for 2019 as we enter a data-driven digital ecosystem.

We’ll be more immersed than ever in work and life

Virtual assistants continue to be pervasive in consumer technology, learning your preferences and proactively serving up content and information based on previous interactions.

We’ll see machine intelligence used to create immersive, everyday experiences – we have already started the ball rolling with the launch of Proton’s first SUV model in the market which comes with an AI-powered voice control system.

And you’ll be more connected to your personal fitness with even more intelligent wellness tracking devices that can capture more information about the body, like heart rate variability (HRV), sleep patterns and more that you can easily share with healthcare providers for better care.

Immersive intelligence will also follow us to work. Our PCs and devices we use every day will continue to learn from our habits and proactively boot up with the right apps and services – wherever we are, whenever we need it.

Advances in natural language processing and voice technologies will create a more productive dialogue with machines, while automation and robotics will create faster, more fluid collaboration with technology to get more done.

Data gold mine will spark next “Gold Rush” in tech investments

Organisations have been stockpiling big data for years. In fact, it’s predicted that by 2020, the data volume will reach 44 trillion gigabytes, or 44 zettabytes. That’s a lot of data! But as digital transformation takes shape, all that data will be put to good use.

And as they derive more value from that data – with insights driving new innovations and more efficient business processes – more investments will be born out of the technology sector.

New startups will emerge to tackle the bigger challenges that make AI a reality: data management and federated analytics where insights can be driven from virtually everywhere, and data compliance solutions for a safer, smarter way to deliver amazing outcomes. 

5G will have us living on the edge

In other parts of the world, the first 5G devices are slated to hit the market sometime next year, promising to completely change the way we view and use data in terms of speed and accessibility.

5G’s low-latency, high-bandwidth networks enable billions of connected devices and also a myriad of AI, machine learning and compute solutions that support them – all happening at the edge, because that’s where data will be generated.

While we won’t be seeing micro-hubs – mini datacenters if you will – lining the streets of Kuala Lumpur any time soon, various stakeholders are already exploring opportunities with the much anticipated next-generation network.

A taskforce set up by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) will be leading 5G trials in Cyberjaya and Putrajaya in line with the government’s National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP) to digitise the nation.

Telecommunications player Maxis has begun its own 5G trials with plans to go commercial in 2019, while retailers such as IKEA and Uniqlo are leveraging on AR and VR – powered by 5G – to help consumers visualise their purchase before making the final decision, and also collect data insights which will help in enhancing customer experience.

The first real implementations of 5G in Malaysia could happen as soon as 2020.

Data forecast will call for more clouds

Last year we predicted the arrival of the Mega Cloud, and that is holding true. The public vs. private cloud debate will continue to wane as organisations realise that they need both to effectively manage all the different types of data they’ll be processing.

A recent global survey by IDC pointed to more than 80% of respondents repatriating data back to on-premise private clouds – and we can expect that trend to continue, even with projections for public cloud growth.

In Malaysia, the sentiments are similar. According to the Dell Technologies Digital Transformation Index – while only 21% of Malaysian businesses have a clear digital plan and strategy in place, almost twice that number (39%) have identified multi-cloud as an investment priority in the next three years.

A critical part of any business strategy in today’s marketplace, organisations recognise the need to scale up their digital capabilities– a "cloud-first" strategy is a key cog in the overall digital transformation.

Move over Millennials, Gen Z will clock into the workplace

Attention Millennials: Gen Z-ers are taking over. Millennials are going to have to make room for the next generation with Gen Z (born after 1995) entering the workplace over the next year – creating an increasingly diverse workforce spanning five generations.

This will create a rich range of experiences in life and technology. A study commissioned by Dell Technologies revealed that technology will be the driving force in the workplace of the future – 98% of Gen Z-ers in Malaysia will have used technology as part of their formal education; 90% want to work with cutting-edge technology; and 94% say that technology offered by an employer would be a factor in choosing among similar job offers. 

Interestingly, Gen Z-ers will spark a new evolution in technology innovation for the workplace and create more opportunities for technology literacy and onsite learning for new skills with older generations of workers.

These digital natives are confident with their tech skills, and are equally as comfortable to share their knowledge and mentor a co-worker. Gen Z-ers have a deep, universal understanding of technology and its potential to transform how we work and live, and more importantly are eager lead the charge.

No more weak links or waste: Supply chains will get stronger, smarter and greener

Believing in the many advantages to running a sustainable business, organisations will follow our lead and begin to accelerate ways to design waste out of their business models through new innovation in recycling and closed loop practices.

To help, we at Dell are sharing our blueprint for turning ocean bound plastics into recycled packaging and turning soot from diesel generator exhaust fumes into ink for printing on boxes.

We’ll see advances in supply chain traceability, by scrutinising and harnessing emerging technologies to identify precise opportunities to course correct.  Blockchain will likely play a role as well, to ensure trust and safety in sourcing, while also securing information and data about goods and services along the way.

We are at the cusp of the next technology evolution – with innovations in 5G, AI and machine learning, cloud and blockchain throttling full steam ahead. 

2019 is going to be an exciting year for technology enthusiasts and consumers alike, so get ready as we dive headlong into the Data Era – one that will see us unlocking the power of data in ways never before imagined, transforming everyday business and everyday life.

Pang Yee Beng is the managing director, Dell Malaysia, and senior vice president, South Asia & Korea, Dell EMC.


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