2019: Where technology goes from here

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2018 was a year of significant milestones brought about by technology. We saw the manufacturing industry start to evolve through 3D printing, the world’s workforce mobilises thanks to increasingly flexible devices, and the continued growth of connected devices. The development of these technologies in 2019 is certain and will without doubt continue to shift the way we conduct our business and personal lives.

A return to the golden age of manufacturing

Where will technology have the most impact? From an industrial point of view, the world is embarking on the 4th Industrial Revolution, with 3D printing leading the charge. Traditional production models and workflows will begin to change and on-demand production and supply chains will bolster the $12 trillion global manufacturing market.

At HP, we are delivering innovative 3D printing solutions, driving forward our mission of changing how the world designs and manufactures. A major highlight for us from the last 12 months was the announcement of the HP Metal Jet, the world’s most advanced 3D printing technology for high-volume manufacturing of production-grade metal parts. After it’s 2020 launch, the platform will provide up to 50 times more productivity at a lower cost than other 3D printing methods, enabling our customers to completely rethink the way they design, manufacture, and deliver new solutions in the digital, on-demand age.

By reducing design-to-product timescales through methods such as removing prototyping, the time from initial sketch to production will be 72 hours. This significant reduction of supply chain workload is an example of the continued improvement on process reduction that will help companies drive business efficiencies and mitigate the environmental impact of production. A streamlined manufacturing structure enables companies to operate in a far more sustainable manner, and 3D printing is proven to lower emissions, shorten the production process and move manufacturing closer to the end-user.

In order to reap the full benefits of this new era of production, it will be essential for companies to work with partners to create an open materials ecosystem. Currently, HP is working with over 50 companies and 60 resellers to create a truly connected global network to streamline and develop this impactful technology. We will look to build on this great work and expand our network of customers and resellers throughout 2019, with a particular focus on key European regions; Germany, France and Spain. In essence, we are re-introducing the production model of the artisan age; on-demand, bespoke production for the new wave of industry.

Your company is at your service

It is estimated that by 2020, there will be 9 billion commercial devices worldwide and 75 per cent of millennial employees will be exploring remote working possibilities. This means that businesses will be required to provide more flexible working opportunities and device options. Embracing “As a Service” models will result in better end-user productivity, IT efficiency and security, not to mention easing the burden on commercial IT managers – 63 per cent of whom say that their resources are being drained by device management.

As such, 2019 will see increased demands on companies’ device supply system. The service economy is rapidly reshaping how businesses buy and use technology, and 2019 could prove to be a watershed moment for those companies without a developed system in place.

HP’s Device as a Service model combines hardware and lifecycle services to improve reliability and financial predictability for businesses. Using sophisticated analytics, device health can be monitored, and we can help customers remotely manage multi-OS device environments and mitigate issues.  As the notion of ‘the office’ itself changes rapidly, this type of remote servicing will be essential for businesses to implement, ensuring workers are able to move away from their desks but maintain security in any environment.

Security is built-in, not bolted-on

This increased flexibility is great for employees but poses new challenges for businesses from a security perspective. Cybercrime is forecast to be a $6 trillion issue by 2021, so ensuring security of systems and hardware to protect data and information will only become more of an imperative. This extends beyond laptops and desktops to ensuring control is maintained over the increasing number of connected devices in our technology ecosystem. In fact, it is estimated that within the next three years Britain will be home to over 420 million internet connected devices such as virtual assistants, toys and smartwatches, leaving users open to potential security breaches and even larger scale cyber-attacks. To combat this threat, HP along with other major technology companies recently signed a new Code of Practice, developed by the National Cyber Security Centre and in partnership with the UK government, pledging to make the UK the most secure place in the world to live and do business online. As we move into 2019, it will be vital for more manufacturers to follow suit to ensure strong security measures are built into everyday technology from inception.

It is a salient fact that software and network security are no longer enough; organisations need to trust and control endpoint devices, and then recover and regain control when attacks happen. Expectations around endpoint security are particularly high, as unprotected printers and laptops can act as trojan horses, bypassing traditional, standard-set security set-ups. In 2019, we’ll see the built-in security like HP SureRun (automatic detection and prevention), HP Sure Recover (automatic recovery) and HP Sure Start (automatic self-healing) become even more valuable to businesses and consumers, and entry point security will follow.

Looking back, 2018 saw technology shake up almost every element of work, play and business. As technologies like 3D printing transform our industrial landscape, our notion of a traditional office disappears, and devices become more integrated into our collective habits, we are seeing fundamental shifts across all aspects of our personal and business lives. And, despite continued concerns around security, And, despite continued concerns around security, environmental impact and practical viability, there is cause for optimism. 2019 will be the year that technology unlocks more tangible solutions to the challenges it continues to unveil…

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