2019 Contrary Predictions

2019 Contrary Predictions
It seems that at the start of every year, people spend time predicting what will happen that year.  Since it’s the start of spring, and I’ve only got 9 months of this year ahead of me, I figured a different approach was needed.  I’ll take a shot at predicting what won’t happen. I decided to focus on the search market, as there are a lot of changes happening now.  What used to be called enterprise search was renamed cognitive search, then it became insight engines, and maybe now is going back to enterprise search. While what this market is called may indeed change again, he’s my top seven things that I believe we won’t see:

2019’s Top Seven Search-related “Will Not Happen” Predictions

1.

“Microsoft will abandon their search strategy”

Microsoft search was the big news out of last year’s Ignite conference, and the momentum behind it has been strong since then, so it seems like the perfect time to reverse course! In all seriousness, from our perspective, Microsoft intends to do this right and bring serious search capabilities to the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, inclusive of external content.  They won’t change strategy here, at least not this year.  We’re looking forward to what they are able to accomplish.
2.

“Google will change their mind on killing GSA”

“He’s dead Jim”.  GSA is the red shirt on the away team that we all know is biting the dust before they even beam down.  (Any Trek fans out there?) While this likely isn’t news to anyone, I’m still surprised when we get approached about GSA replacement projects that are just starting.  Google isn’t bringing this back, and their cloud search isn’t a viable replacement for almost everyone we’ve talked to.  If you are in this boat, get to figuring it out quickly.  We like the Elastic index for these projects, coupled with a more AI/cognitive search approach, a la our SmartHub, as a solution here.
3.

“There will be a 5th big name added to the AI powerhouse list of Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Facebook”

We all know this is going to happen, and it’ll likely be named Skynet. Hopefully it won’t look and talk like Arnold Schwarzenegger, as that can hopefully be left for the next Terminator movie. In reality though, the AI capability race is shaping up to be all about scale and spend. To really deliver something repeatable and applicable en masse, you need the investment and infrastructure scale that only a few big companies have.  I don’t see anyone growing to challenge these established four, and even if someone tries, they’re more likely to be an acquisition target than a long-term player.
4.

“IBM will figure out Watson in terms of enterprise search”

I’ll take “Things that went over as well as the LaserDisc for $1000 Alex.”  Looking back, it really wasn’t that many years ago that Watson exploded onto the scene, taking down long time Jeopardy champs.  There was a lot of hype that followed, and a lot of conjecture around where the technology could drive change and innovation.  Enterprise search seemed like an obvious target, where collecting all company data assets into a single system that then gets analyzed for predictions, recommendations, etc. would be a slam dunk.  Maybe IBM found better uses for Watson, but it’s just not made noise in enterprise search, and I don’t think that will change.
5.

“Siri will be the platform for initial search via speech adoption”

Try this with your iPhone, “Siri, why can’t you be more like Alexa?”  I’ll give you a hint, she doesn’t have the answer. In what is a great example of first to market doesn’t mean best in market. Siri hit with a bang upon its initial release, but the other entrants into the market have caught up and surpassed in speech interaction. Speech capabilities in relation to enterprise search continue to come up in discussions with leading edge customers. I don’t expect Siri to be an enabling platform for this and see Cortana and/or Alexa as the leaders in this area.
6.

“Amazon will release their own search engine, named AlexaSearch”

They may even combine it with WholeFoods, and name it WholeAlexaSearch, with unbelievably accurate grocery-related capabilities.  Never mind, that’s just silly.  I will, however, tread lightly here and stand firm that this won’t happen in 2019, but I’ll also go on record saying that it’s not completely unreasonable.  Amazon hasn’t yet found a business they shy away from, and with their tremendous computing infrastructure available through AWS, I wouldn’t put it outside of the realm of possibility that they decide to write their own search index.  However, that won’t happen soon, as they’re still building services around Elasticsearch as an AWS offering.  I expect it’ll take them a few more years to decide if they want to keep using someone else’s code or decide to write something themselves, as they’ve been known to do.
7.

“Facebook will admit to listening to us through our phones as a way to target advertisements”

This is real, right? I think this really happens.  In fact, I just read this out loud and am now seeing advertisements for “Legal services for people getting sued by Facebook…”  Wait, what?  I’ll just stop this one right here.

Well, there you have it, seven things I am willing to publicly say won’t happen this year. Everyone knows seven is a lucky number, so my expectations are that I’ll be right about all of these.