Beyond Trends: Tech Waves We’re Riding in 2019

Dec 20, 2018 · 7 min read

With 2019 just around the corner, many Beyonders have shared thoughts on the trends they’re anticipating in the coming year. From automation changing the way we conduct business, to agile work policies, or the adoption of personalized VUX, here’s what you need to know:

Internal automation will take off exponentially

“In 2019 we will see companies embracing automation platforms to help with their internal tools and processes,” said Kim Turley, Director of Innovation and Experimentation at Beyond. “They will achieve this by extending their existing hubs, such as Chat and Email, to include auto-suggestions, realtime notifications, and linking workflows together. Slack apps and Hangout Chat will bring these tools to the masses, but they will still require careful configuration, support, and maintenance to be effective. In the future, we will see automation tools which can self-learn by studying workflows of top performers and mimicking such in order to help underperformers.”

Technology will find its voice — for real this time

“How to build effective, personalised VUX (voice user experiences) will become a much more prominent concern for businesses,” said Charlie Lyons, GM at Beyond London.

Clear Bridge Mobile predicts Voice assistants will also continue to offer more individualised experiences as they get better at differentiating between voices. Google Home is leading the way, announcing it can support up to six user accounts, with the assistant dictating commute, weather, and news information tailored for each user.”

Partnerships will get an overhaul

“As organizations invest in design, product, and innovation capabilities — seeking to build this competency into the core of their business — outside partners (agencies, consultancies, etc.) will need to rethink their core value proposition to succeed,” said Matt Basford, Partner at Beyond. “Those that drive accelerated outcomes for clients by acting as enabling partners that serve to enhance, rather than outsource, for their clients will be in a strong position. This is as much a mindset shift as it is a service offering. In many ways, it gets at the core principle of the business model in the first place, which is to be a great partner.”

Bold will battle bland in brand design

“Minimalism, simplicity, and flat design were a trendy approach to branding and design in 2018, but has it been taken too far?” said Bo Floejborg, Associate Director of Design at Beyond. “I have seen many brands breaking away from their visual heritage, and instead becoming more generic and less characteristic. I think that branding will learn from the trends we’ve seen in web design — embracing brutalism, the use of vibrant colors, and big type. My prediction — and hope — for 2019 is that brands will realize it’s okay to be a bit loud, stick to your roots, and stand out in the overcrowded world of simple, generic, sans serif logotypes.”

AI will change the face of recruitment — literally

“We’ll see a pronounced shift toward AI-driven talent scouting to find great, unorthodox hires,” said Stacy Thal, Director, Content at Beyond. “AI can help augment existing search avenues and methods with a kind of out-of-the-box thinking on which we can rely. With the assistance of emergent technologies, we can all take chances with talent that can really pay off in the form of true diversity in the workplace — diversity of people, of backgrounds, of skills, experiences, points of view. Soon companies everywhere will be able to Moneyball their way to richer teams and greater success.”

Technology for good will make a difference

“Coming out of 2018, where the trends were the emergence of AI, voice assistants, and machine learning, I think the biggest story in 2019 will be the adoption of these technologies to enable wider audiences to do more in their lives,” said Jon Delman, Group Creative Director at Beyond. “Large tech pioneers, such as Microsoft and Google, are focusing the power of AI on solving accessibility and inclusivity issues by leveraging voice assistant technology that opens up access to systems and services once only available through traditional computing means.”

“Still one of the best apps around that marries technology and solving a real issue is the Seeing AI app by Microsoft,” said Delman. “I would expect others to follow suit and new business models to spring up in its wake.”

Flexibility in the workplace will be the new normal

“Traditional routes to work and ways of working have been eroded,” said Kate Rand, Director of People at Beyond. “By 2021 30% of the UK workforce will be freelance, and those who are not will have a ‘freelance mindset.’” As retention of talent becomes more difficult, a progressive, flexible working policy will no longer be a bonus but a requirement. Furthermore, as advanced technology and automation are embedded deeper within our organizations, and unstable macroeconomic-political environments rule the day, companies must adapt quickly and equip their workforces with a more confident relationship with the unknown. Learning itself is no longer linear but a continuous evolution.”

Our values will lead our innovations

“There’s a price for innovation that focuses only on convenience. With all the news around warehouse working conditions, urban planning concerns, and rising trends about data breaches, hate speech, and systemic loneliness, our society is beginning to understand that technology for technology’s sake isn’t going to save us,” said David Michael MacFarlane, Senior Strategist at Beyond. “There’s an opportunity for value-based companies to emerge (or transform) with this new consciousness and eat into some of the dominant companies’ market share. Innovation will have to expand beyond creating the fastest way to deliver a package or collect data, and instead find new ways to serve customers while treating workers and the planet ethically. This could be an ecommerce platform that supports rather than supplants local businesses, or manufacturing models that offer livable wages, foster communities, and commit to climate-safe goods and packaging.”

Long-form makes a comeback

“Last year showed us the importance of quality news and, much to publishers’ delight, the appetite amongst consumers to pay for it,” said Molly McGaughan, Director of Growth at Beyond. “Digital subscriptions are on the rise, newsletter open rates are up, and outlets like Bloomberg and Fox News are getting more bullish on experimenting with paywalls and subscription-based OTT offerings. This new captive and highly engaged audience will bring about the resurgence of long-form reporting, freeing publishers from the 280 characters or two-minute video clips they’ve been bound to.”

“A renewed focus on substance and quality, as well as a more holistic customer profile, will also up the ante for advertisers and brands alike, bringing forth compelling advertising experiences that are more organic, personalized, and unobtrusive,” said Molly.

Upskilling will upscale in a big way

“The aim and ability to upskill employees at the pace of technology is now a determining success factor for any business,” said Kathryn Danielson, Strategist at Beyond. “Globally, Learning and Development (L&D) budgets are on the rise and are projected to grow by 11% to $31 billion in 2020 (LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report). So, companies are searching for scalable learning and development solutions that deliver on employee expectations — digital learning that is active, ongoing and personalized to individual goals that delivers at the moment of need. The ability for businesses to innovate and differentiate from competitors will hinge on their employees’ skills and abilities, and how the organization approaches learning and development in an effort to keep employees on the cutting edge.

Senior Client Manager at Beyond, Jenn Harbin, echoed this point: “Delivering the best customer experience starts with developing the right employee experience that through learning and development programs, gives them the skills and enablement tools to better serve their customers.”

Companies that invest in employee experience are 4x more profitable than those who don’t,” said Jenn. “As companies begin to think about the coming year ahead, it will be critical for them to understand the customer and employee experience together where learning will play an important role.”

What’s on your radar for 2019? Join us on LinkedIn or Twitter to stay in the know with what we’re thinking — -all year long!


We are a design and technology agency that builds world…


We are a design and technology agency that builds world class products for the digital age. LDN / NYC / SFO


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We are a design and technology agency that builds world class products for the digital age.


We are a design and technology agency that builds world class products for the digital age. LDN / NYC / SFO