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A lot has happened this year in digital transformation. GDPR went into practice, Facebook testified before the U.S. Congress, and more advances were made in artificial intelligence (AI).

Usually at this point, we would ask ourselves what will happen in the next year, but this time we decided to look at things differently. What could be revealed if we asked top digital transformation experts, not what will happen with digital transformation in 2019, but what won’t happen?

Here are our thoughts on digital transformation in 2019 with our panel of experts.

1. AI and IoT May Change the World … but Not Quite Yet

Every day we hear of new ways that AI and Internet of Things (IoT) will revolutionise our lives. AI will drive our cars and diagnose our diseases. In marketing, AI will provide tools for audience segmentation, customer service and analysis. But will 2019 be the year where all our futuristic visions come to fruition, or do we still have a long way to go?

Ian Moyse, sales director at Natterbox, suspects that the latter is the case.

“Many of the predictions for 2019 are too far-sighted to come to realisation so quickly. We hear promises of AI changing our lives so radically,” Moyse said. “The hype is far ahead of the reality in the majority – while some companies are at the forefront of this technology, the majority of firms being able to embrace AI, VR and IOT is still a far-off reality.”

A similar opinion was voiced about IoT by Dean Gratton, technology futurist and columnist. First mentioned in 1999, the promise of what IoT can bring becomes more pertinent as smart devices become more prevalent.

“IoT won’t be any more understood than it is today as too much confusion dictates the definition thus far,” Gratton said.

2. Chatbots – the Fad That Will Fade Away

Perhaps, instead of automation, the human will make a return? Narcis Radoi, senior digital leader of Federation of Master Builders, believes that the popularity of chatbots will not continue.

“They will still apply to some in B2C, especially in customer service, but they don’t tend to offer an amazing experience,” Radoi said. “Everyone has them, but how much use do they get?”

So, if chatbots are not the future as we thought they were going to be, what will we see instead?  

“What we may see is a movement towards is a hybrid solution,” Radoi said. “For example, I am building an onboarding solution for FMB’s members that includes automation that you get talked through by a live person.”

3. Feeling Confident About GDPR? Don’t.

GDPR and privacy were some of the big topics in 2018. Now that GDPR is in place, it might be tempting for businesses to believe that this topic will return to the background, but it might not be that simple. We spoke to Paul Denham, founder of Insight Brief and Content Assets.

“The conversations that business leaders should be having about digital ethics and privacy – particularly moving away from ‘Are we compliant?’ towards ‘Are we doing the right thing?’ – will make slow progress,” Denham said. “More often, inertia will reign supreme until such times that high-profile litigation events hit the headlines.”

Tech industry thought leader and speaker Bill Mew believes that ethics will be a big topic in 2019, but he also thinks that there will be surprises for us.

“Many companies, having gotten past the introduction of GDPR, are now over-confident about their compliance,” Mew said. “There will inevitably be data breaches and, while some firms have cyber insurance, we will find that these policies aren’t comprehensive. In addition to this, those that have hired agencies for crisis management will find that those agencies will not have the specialist knowledge to deal effectively with the situation.”

Undoubtedly, 2019 will be an eventful year for digital transformation. We may see continued advances in AI and IoT technology, we may also see more discussion on data and privacy and breaches of cyber security. However, from our experts it is clear that the AI revolution isn’t here just yet.

Is there one thing that we can expect from 2019?

“Apple won’t make anything new,” Denham said.

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