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Posted On : Jan 13, 2020

Whatever next? The trends that could influence business in 2019

Wherever you look, the future is about technology – the way we invest, care for our health and even how we grow our food. We take a look at where technology might take us in 2019.

By Business View
The pace of change is making the extraordinary seem ordinary. This year we’ve seen the first direct non-stop flight between Perth and London, the first cloned monkeys and the world’s first US$1 trillion business – achievements that would have sounded like science fiction just a short time ago. So, what of next year?

We know that, regardless of how they play out, world trade and Brexit will affect financial markets. Every new Volvo car will have an electric motor. And hundreds of robots will descend on Sydney to compete for RoboCup trophies in the world’s biggest annual robotic event.

Here, we take a look at what else might be in store for Australian businesses large and small, as well as the health sector, agriculture and wealth.

The trends that could influence business in 2019

Business: AI helps workplace diversity

We’ve known for a long time that unconscious bias can have a powerful impact on recruitment but, precisely because they’re unconscious, they can be difficult to override. Now, artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to help recruiters build a more diverse and capable workforce with an unbiased screening process based purely on data. New York City-based Pymetrics, which uses neuroscience and AI in its searches, plans to launch in Australia early next year, while home-grown start-up Sourcr has raised funds to take its AI-enabled online platform nationwide. Companies like these have the potential to use AI to sift through all relevant data to identify and shortlist the best possible candidates regardless of their appearance, gender, writing style or background.

We may also see:
  • workplaces that make it easier to stay healthy as employers come to terms with the human and economic cost of not only absenteeism but ‘presenteeism’ (whereby employees too unwell to be fully productive feel under pressure to show up for work).
  • the continued decline of the middle manager as faster, technology-enabled decision-making gives flatter organisations an edge in terms of agility.
  • more resources invested in cybersecurity as, for many customers, a breach of personal data will be a deal-breaker.
  • The trends that could influence business in 2019
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We may also see

  • more retailers and restaurants accepting nothing but electronic payments as more consumers choose these options over cash.
  • a rise in ethical consumerism as more customers take the ethical, social and environmental consequences of their purchases into account.
  • small businesses gaining access to high-level expertise with highly skilled ‘supertemps’ – a term coined by the Harvard Business Review – as more professionals choose to work freelance.

Health: turning research into solutions faster

Healthcare is on the edge of an exciting frontier as, across the country, several new and established health hubs are creating healthcare ecosystems that bring together research, industry and community. The Hunter Medical Research Institute has become world famous for fast-forwarding select scientific discoveries into clinical applications, as has Adelaide BioMed City, which is helping fuel the South Australian economy.

The University of Wollongong, meanwhile, is doing something similar in the aged care sphere by building Australia’s first university-based retirement community in which new models of patient-centred care can be tested. Together, these innovations shine a spotlight on the rise of collaborative health hubs delivering real results for community, academia and industry.

We may also see:
  • more surgeries being performed by robots – the industry is expected to exceed US$1 billion by 2020.
  • 3D printed transplant organs as scientists perfect the so-called ‘bioprinters’ that use human cells as ink to create body parts.
  • a move towards value-based funding for healthcare providers whereby, instead of being paid by the number of visits and procedures, they are paid according to their quality of care and patient outcomes.
  • The trends that could influence business in 2019

Agriculture: the sky-high rise of vertical disruption

Next year, California-based Crop One plans to complete the world’s largest vertical farm in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. A $40 million joint venture with Emirates Flight Catering, the 120,000-square-metre facility will produce a daily harvest of 2,700 kilograms of leafy greens without herbicides or pesticides, and using just one per cent of the water needed in outdoor fields.

A possible solution to the twin pressures of population growth and continuing loss of arable land, vertical farming uses factory-style precision to achieve faster, uninterrupted production all year round.

Currently there are barriers to wide uptake, such as cost and the high demand for power. However, with the development of more sustainable technologies and growing interest from venture capitalists, vertical farming could provide fresh food locally in urban settings and where land and water are scarce.