SINGAPORE (Dec 20): Brands that use artificial intelligence (AI) to engage in detailed and explanatory conversations – seeking to place AI in real-life contexts – will be next year’s big winners, according to FleishmanHillard’s Tech Trends 2019: The Fads. The Fears. The Future. report, which was released Wednesday.

The report also found that augmented analysts is the next big thing and will go mainstream next year. AI’s potential to enhance human intelligence rather than replace it is central – consumers will want to understand both what augmented analytics means by itself, and what it means against technology’s other big trends.

Meanwhile, blockchain technology is also expected to find new opportunities beyond cryptocurrencies, such as supporting developments like smart cities and digital transformation.

According to the report, discussion regarding blockchain’s volume share has increased by 52% between 2017 and 2018 – and the opportunity for deeper, more forward-looking conversation is growing.

Edge computing streamlines the flow of traffic from internet of things (IoT) devices and provides real-time local data analysis. FeishmanHillard believes that this will come to fore in 2019, while advising to be on the lookout for 5G to spur on the continued hype and interest in edge computing.

In addition, the research has shown that virtual, augmented and mixed realities will join to create new experiences for consumers and will creep even further into areas like retail, manufacturing and healthcare.

Wearable tech is also expected to shine in 2019 as smart fabrics and e-textiles become more popular, and potentially hit fashion runways and warehouse aisles.

On the other hand, FleishmanHillard’s Authentic Insights report revealed that more than 80% of consumers rate data security and protection as ‘very important’ – ahead of only healthcare and education in the UK and healthcare and freedom of speech in the US Against all this, responsible data protection measures will continue to be a major trend.

Sophie Scott, global managing director of FleishmanHillard’s Technology practice says, “By examining the conversations that have taken place and the technology on the horizon, we’ve been able to make predictions about tech in 2019 to help brands understand consumer expectations and plan for the future.”