Whether you’re new to the world of IT or a bastion of knowledge for your organization in all things tech, there are exciting technologies poised to disrupt Industry in the very near future. the top 5 technology trends in 2019 are full of Innovation and advancements. These rapidly maturing and increasingly adopted technologies are some of the most exciting concepts you may or may not have heard of. Each example is poised to change the way we approach fortifying our systems and advancing our workforces to tackle the challenges of corporate and operational growth.

Here are what we think will be the top 5 technology trends in 2019 that will likely have a significant impact on businesses:

1.) Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI)

Hyper-converged infrastructure, or simply hyper-convergence, is a software-defined IT infrastructure. Counter to traditionally constructed systems that involve several components of on-premise hardware that may not speak to each other, HCI seeks to virtualize and combine systems that have traditionally been “hardware-defined”, like storage systems, servers, and networking switches. HCI seeks to modernize organizations through the virtualization of computing, SAN, and networking components of infrastructure into one unified appliance set. That means one source for all resources. The methodology comes in a few forms, including a standalone appliance, a reference architecture, and a software-only model.

a grpahic displaying the benefits of hyper-converged infrastructure as one of the top 5 technology trends in 2019 according to encompass solutions

What Does It Mean For Businesses?

By doing away with siloed physical hardware systems, HCI seeks to establish a business’ IT infrastructure in a purely software-defined environment that eliminates traditional data-center inefficiencies and reduces the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). It is a trend that seeks to marry the agility and versatility of cloud infrastructure without requiring companies to give up their on-premise systems.

When companies no longer have a need to rely on disparate computing and storage systems, management becomes simplified and resource utilization becomes much more efficient. To that end, operations become far less complex and scalability becomes easier to achieve, making HCI one of our first picks for the top 5 technology trends in 2019.

2.) Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD WAN)

To better understand that SD WAN is, it helps to understand standard Wide Area Network (WAN). A WAN is a telecommunications or computer network that extends across a large distance and is capable of transferring data across that distance. This distance can be between regions, countries, or reach across the globe. These networks are generally created with leased telecommunications circuits.

In the case of SD WAN, what you might also refer to as Link Load Balancing, organizations can expand their Wide Area Network to scale alongside requirements, such as increased bandwidth, media streaming, video conferencing, and VOIP calls, much more affordably and with improved performance. SD WAN is designed to address and avoid the pitfalls of networking maintenance and troubleshooting, such as network congestion, packet delay variation, packet loss, and service outages.

According to Gartner, a research firm, SD WAN carries with it four main qualities:

  • The ability to support multiple connection types, such as MPLSframe relay and higher speed LTE wireless communications
  • The ability to do dynamic path selection, for load sharing and resiliency purposes
  • A simple interface that is easy to configure and manage
  • The ability to support VPNs, and third-party services such as WAN optimization controllers, firewalls and web gateways

What Does It Mean For Businesses?

Because SD WAN is a virtualized WAN, businesses reap the benefit of being able to utilize any transport protocol needed. Uptime is further ensured thanks to the utilization of multiple providers for failsafe and bandwidth allocation as necessary. This virtualization also lends the added security benefit of covering security protocols, like malware defenses and botnet intervention, for multiple branches and remote devices. Provisioning on the fly is another substantial benefit of SD WAN. You can send an un-configured device to a site and have all the required network certificates, keys, and policies applied upon installation, immediately implementing the necessary permissions, documentation of traffic patterns, and access of network users. The tech may not be as new as some of the others to make our list of top 5 technology trends in 2019, but it will no doubt become more prevalent.

3.) Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Connectivity

The Internet of Things (IoT) exists as a network of interconnected devices that communicates data to a central system that makes sense of it all.

an image of statistics on IoT devices suggesting the Internet of Things will becomes stronger as one of the top 5 technology trends in 2019 according to encompass solutions.

* Source: CSGI, Intel, Vison Critical

This network consists of all edge devices connected to the many interchanges of an enterprise. From the deli counter to eCommerce platforms, the data gleaned from this network provides invaluable insight into what is successful and what is not in terms of the products and processes that form the inner workings of a business.

an image of statistics on IIoT devices suggesting the Industrial Internet of Things will becomes stronger as one of the top 5 technology trends in 2019 according to encompass solutions.

* Source: Accenture

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) brings this interconnectivity and data-focused paradigm to the terminals, sensors, and other systems on the factory floor.

What Does It Mean For Businesses?

These data-fueled factories become “intelligent” environments, capable of informing enterprises from the top down of the efficiency and shortcomings of their factory processes and performance both in real-time and over time.  In short, the IoT and IIoT data enables manufacturers further to refine and improve operations with relevant and up to date data for smarter, faster decision making. There is no doubt continued invetment in IoT and IIoT technologies and connectivity secure this concept as top 5 technology trends in 2019.

4.) AI-Enabled Security

As more and more data flows through digital devices and connections, the need for improved security protocol and tools increases in tandem. AI-enabled security is one way enterprise security teams and individuals can protect critical data and infrastructure, even when in-house resources are relatively scarce.

an image reprenting AI-enabled security as a top 5 technology trends in 2019 according to encompass solutions

Did you know that malicious actors will typically spend 200+ days in a system before extracting critical and valuable data? Learning who the players are and who holds the keys to the most protected data takes time and malicious actors have the patience that pays off in the long run. However, AI has the potential to be infinitely more patient, resourceful, and vigilant.

What Does It Mean For Industry Businesses?

AI-enabled security makes the list as one of the top 5 technology trends in 2019 because by establishing baselines for normal behavior, traffic patterns, bandwidth allocation, permissions, and user access, system anomalies can be detected within seconds. Intelligent security systems can then act according to the parameters designed by security professionals.

5.) Augmented Reality (AR) And Virtual Reality (VR)

There are numerous applications for AR and VR. Take for instance training of new employees. If a business operates in a single location, managers can give hands-on training and face-to-face feedback with relative ease. What happens when a business operates in multiple locations and needs to onboard multiple resources in a finite amount of time. With the capabilities AR and VR present, managers can work and train remotely with staff. By using vision systems to see what they see, audio to hear what they hear and communicate clearly, and even present schematics, diagrams, and drawing in real-time, managers can to direct training programs from anywhere and at any time.

an image of applications of augmented and virtual reality as top 5 technology trends in 2019 according to encompass solutions

What Does It Mean For Industry Businesses?

Interactive walkthroughs, first-hand product demos, disaster preparedness, and a multitude of training simulations are only a handful of examples where AR and VR will be one of the top 5 technology trends in 2019 and a major game changer for businesses big and small.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions, Inc. is an ERP consulting firm, NetSuite Solution Provider and Epicor Gold Partner that offers professional services in business consulting, project management, and software implementation. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems or addressing the emerging challenges in corporate and operational growth, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. As experts in identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


in Industry 4.0, Manufacturers and distributors have access to data on a scale that has never existed before. The two are leveraging the insights gleaned from that access to pursue new innovations in automation and systems that are reshaping the face of these industries. Pairing innovations like these with a robust ERP solution is the most effective way to ensure your business is prepared to address emerging technology trends that can reshape your industry overnight. Learn more about emerging technologies in manufacturing and Industry 4.0 to remain to be the competition, rather than simply competitive.

Industry 4.0

First, there was industry 1.0, the emergence of mechanization, as well as water-, steam-, and fossil fuel-powered systems. This was followed by mass production of goods, assembly line manufacturing, and electricity powering it all in Industry 2.0. With 3.0 came computers and automation using robotics. Today, we’ve reached the next milestone in revolutionizing Industry. Connecting established trends and emerging technologies between automation and data exchange in manufacturing is Industry 4.0. Also referred to as the fourth industrial revolution, it is focused on bringing cyber-physical systems into the mainstream and placing them at the forefront of the manufacturing industry.

The first Industry 4.0 conference was held last week by Troy, Michigan-based Automation Alley (AA), a non-profit tech and manufacturing business association that connects industry, academia, and government to accelerate innovation in manufacturing. During the conference, a report outlining what AA and industry experts see as the next wave of industry tech to influence innovation emerged. In the report, a roadmap outlined several core technologies that professionals and researchers agree will direct the trajectory of manufacturing in the coming years.

Noting the biggest challenge of innovation on the manufacturing floor as supply-side participants being able to keep up, executive director of Automation Alley Tom Kelly remained optimistic, stating, “The world (of manufacturing) is changing so fast, we can’t assume any company really knows where it’s headed. But based on what’s possible, we hope to help them turn this into action instead of stagnation.” Industry 5.0 has already appeared on the horizon with technologies that are only now being conceptualized and brought into existence.

 

a picture of a welder at work welding part of a steel frame structure

New Manufacturing Technologies And The Next Industrial Revolution Are Here

 

The full report on AA’s research into industry 4.0 will be released in April 2018 for those who were unable to attend last week’s conference centered on deconstructing the “siloed thinking” of manufacturing in its current state and nurturing the “smart factory” megatrend of connecting machines, workers, and factory systems through the internet and cloud computing.

The Industrial Internet Of Things

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) utilized relevant information and completes essential tasks through smartphones, tablets, and other edge devices. Businesses can use this performance data in real-time to adapt and change their operations into a more streamlined process internally and externally for both short-term and long-term gains. This superior connectivity facilitates faster response times from all departments and brings with it improved agility for operations of every size.

An image displaying introducing Industry 4.0 technologies.

Emerging Technologies Are Ushering In A New Industrial Revolution – Industry 4.0

 

Robotics

As robots become smarter, cheaper, and more efficient in their roles on the factory floor, these entities will command a greater presence in shaping the manufacturing industry. Advances in robotics technology allow these machines to take on more complex traits, including machine learning, heightened dexterity, memory, and the ability to collaborate more effectively. As a result, robots will usher in a new set of standards that every manufacturer will need to adopt to remain relevant.

An image displaying how Robotics and root systems are a significant component of Industry 4.0 technologies.

Advances In Robotics Means Smarter, More Agile, And More Efficient Robots.

Artificial Intelligence

Commonly the subject of doomsday scenario horror films, AI is nothing to discount as the stuff of science fiction gone wrong. The technology is already in our daily lives in the form of self-driving cars and industrial robotics. In manufacturing applications, the technology will become the new standard by which large sets of data are analyzed and predictive maintenance is undergone. In short, companies will have no choice but to “go digital” in order to survive.

An image a personal robot as part of Industry 4.0 technologies.

The Next Generation Of Artificial Intelligence Will Work side By Side With Humans On The Shop Floor.

Big Data

The means by which we capture data and store it is changing by the day. The even more complex and daunting tasks are how to sift through it and how to identify the relevant bits for different applications. New standards in search, sharing, transfer, visualization, querying, updating and information privacy are emerging as a result. To keep up with the data, rather than being mired in it, manufacturers will need to adopt more robust technologies than traditional data processing software, which is where specialized ERP solutions give your business the critical edge it needs to succeed. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is one more example of how automation technologies are increasing productivity and how we manage data in the manufacturing environment.

An image displaying how Big Data systems are a significant component of Industry 4.0 technologies.

With More Data To Store And Sift Through, It Will Become Increasingly Necessary For Powerful Tools To Assist In Making Sense Of It All.

The Cloud

In many circles, the cloud is considered a four-letter word. The technology is new and traditional operators across industries are skeptical of its intangible nature. It is not maintained locally and can’t be monitored, stored or secured using traditional methods. That being said, Cloud-based technology is how the companies of the future will operate as it allows in-house users and remote workforces to collaborate in real-time more effectively than with traditional data systems. The cloud approach is faster, improves manageability, and reduces maintenance.

An image displaying how cloud computing and cloud technology systems are a big component of Industry 4.0 technologies.

Data Stored Digitally Can Be Utilized And Amended At A Moment’s Notice.

Cybersecurity

As more and more operations move toward cloud-based solutions and rely more heavily on a robotic workforce, maintaining the security and integrity of these systems becomes a much larger issue. In fact, cybersecurity in the manufacturing sector is listed as the highest priority of the National Association of Manufacturers. Industrial control systems are among the most sensitive targets, which is the class of computers that help to manage the shop floor. As more manufacturers simultaneously build and integrate their systems through the industrial Internet of Things, more opportunities for threats emerge.

An image displaying how cyber security systems are a big component of Industry 4.0 technologies.

Cybersecurity Will be One Of The Most Crucial Concepts To Address As New Innovations Bring Change To The Manufacturing Industry.

Advanced Materials And Additive Manufacturing

An emerging advanced manufacturing technology, you might know Advanced Materials And Additive Manufacturing by the more common name of 3D printing. A process that used to take weeks to accomplish on a small scale, 3D printing can know construct large and complex structures, like housing, in less than a day. Organic compounds, custom plastics, and a host of other materials can be utilized in the process, harmonizing product and nature through innovation.

An image displaying how additive manufacturing and 3D printing systems are a big component of Industry 4.0 technologies.

Advanced Materials And Additive Manufacturing Utilizes 3D Printers For Projects Large And Small.

Modeling, Simulation, Visualization, And Immersion

Analyzing, manipulating, and leveraging data is essential when it comes to making decisions on the future of any business. With new forms of visualization, simulation, and interaction available at the press of a button, businesses can leverage the latest technology to more effectively review, report, and forecast using their data. 3D visualization, virtual reality, and immersion tools are just a few of the innovations available to a host of businesses that rely on massive amounts of data daily, including manufacturing, healthcare, sciences, finance, and energy. Beyond data, these innovations and associated tools help develop tech and lead teams to greater success rates with more thorough and effective preparation for mission-critical tasks.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.