The term Product Engineering, in Software Engineering terms, is a multi-dimensional solution approach that encompasses all the necessary processes to successfully launch and run software in the market. With such rapid changes, Product Engineering cannot be attributed to just one finished lifecycle; it is a continuous development model.

The year 2018 has begun on a good note with Gartner predicting global IT spending to hit $3.7 Trillion in 2018. Amongst the spending trends, Enterprise Software is expected to see maximum gain with a 9.5% growth this year.

IT spending forecast

When it comes to predicting the trends of this market, it is important to understand that it cannot be isolated products. Since this is an evolutionary model, much of the analysts’ focus goes into how further can an existing technology be advanced and how it can apply to the different facets of customer experience.

So without further ado, here are the top technologies that will shape the consumer product consumption in 2018.

  1. The software evolution of Digital Twins

The art of creating a virtual representation of a product or a process. While the concept of Digital Twins has been around since the beginning of this century, the boom in Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things has rapidly evolved this into a process-friendly model that gives enormous perspective in deriving better analytics and greater asset values. Gartner has predicted that by 2021, half of large industrial companies will use digital twins.

In the software engineering world, the rise of Digital Twins’ application will result in development of associated programs that help extract the maximum data value out of the investment. Software programs to be inculcated in the virtual model can also render better understanding of the workflows accurately, invariable to the size and scale of the companies.

  1. Blockchains, Blockchains everywhere

2017 can very well be known as the year that made everyone finally understand what Blockchains are, thanks to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. But at its core, Blockchain is not meant to be some highly secretive structure for monetary transaction. Like every other data structure model, Blockchains are designed to store data but in a much secure fashion.

In 2018, experts predicted that the core of this concept will be applied to industries beyond BFSI. From a secure-student-record-sharing education platform developed by Sony-IBM to the world’s first dating AI program that utilizes the technology for visual recognition technology, the concept of Blockchain is expected to gain much more applications across industries in 2018.

  1. Agility in DevOps

Like many other evolution stories in the tech world, Agile and DevOps are poised to evolve together into one comprehensive solution for the industries in the future. Diego Le Giudice, Principal Analyst at Forrester, describes the duo as “two sides of the same coin” and predicts that it will be difficult for organizations, in 2018 and for years to come, to run an “Agile-only or DevOps-only journey”.

Forrester’s Q3 2017 “Global Agile Software Application Development Online Survey” has also cemented the authenticity of this prediction with results from participants consistently supporting an Agile+ DevOps model to achieve a wide range of benefits- from achieving business quality faster, greater predictability of releases to ability to continuously deliver.

  1. Improved UX with Conversational Platforms

2017 can also be noted as the year that put Intelligent Virtual Assistants (IVA) like Alexa, Google Home etc in the common consumer electronics map. In 2018, experts foresee an extension of chatbots and IVAs into elaborate Conversational Platforms imbibed in programs to understand customers and improve their user experience.

In fact, any application that integrates Conversational Platforms in its arsenal is said to be on the right growth trajectory for the next generation CX. The projected spending trends also mirror the market trends with Natural Language Processing’s (NLP) – and the associated hardware, software and services- estimated market value hitting $22.3 billion by 2025.

  1. Enhanced Analytical abilities with Edge Computing

The fact that cloud computing has taken over everyday operations can be safely presumed as “old news”. Experts are thinking about ways that help companies derive maximum value out of their data getting processed on the cloud and Edge Computing is likely gain more traction in 2018 with its ability to do so.

In a common cloud computing setup, the distance and time taken between data’s movement back and forth devices and the cloud usually consists of multiple hops in the network. The concept of Edge Computing is all about processing data right next to the cloud so that information is processed, collected and delivered to the end-user in a much more efficient fashion. According to IDC, by 2020, edge computing powered infrastructure is likely to take up 18% of IoT’s infrastructure market share

In Conclusion,

The trends for 2018, and for the decade to come, clearly tell us that the primary focus of the product engineering groups would be to further refine and actually simplify the technological disruptions from the past (AI, IoT, Cloud Computing etc.) for everyday use. The future of a more complicated human-machine immersion could be sooner than we could have ever imagined.

Bhargavi Seshadri

Bhargavi Seshadri

Research Analyst at Aspire Systems
Bhargavi is an Engineer-turned-writer who loves to read about everything under the sun. An amateur story teller, Bhargavi is passionate about technologies that impact everyday life.
Bhargavi Seshadri