The "mood killer" Preview for 2019

11. Jan 2019
Johannes Haaf
The "mood killer" Preview for 2019

We love new technologies, we love gadgets. We are as happy as little children when a colleague rolls by on Heelys (and – to be honest – even more when he/she stumbles over the edge of the carpet and sprawls); and adjusting the thermostat of the heater by hand seems almost medieval to us. We have an app for that. 

But all that glitters is not gold – most of the times it is just brushed aluminium with weak battery capacity.

Therefore, here comes a (semi-serious) overview of the most annoying and unpleasant technology trends awaiting us this year; for all of you who started 2019 with too big a portion of good spirit.

Everybody wants to talk to you.

In the recent past, voice messages (e.g. via WhatsApp) have already begun their unholy triumphal march. Since speaking monologues into a smartphone for minutes like a total psychopath, is, apparently, so en vogue, one would think that people could at least use Siri or Ok-Google in order to transcribe their whole gush of words directly into a text message – and thus making it way easier for the recipient. And as if that were not enough: suddenly all kinds of devices want to communicate with us in everyday life!

Amazon will “delight” us with its “Alexa Everywhere”-initiative in 2019. A full load of new devices is designed to help the well-known assistant to be one step ahead of its competitor created by Google and – in addition – is supposed to become integrated into a lot more areas of our daily lives. Not a word though about actuall benefits for the customer.

Congratulations, your toilet flush is now operating via voice function.

Voice activation

The basic problem is that. unfortunately, the spoken word is not a very efficient, accurate or practical form of communication. For us – as human beings –, it is the best option considering our limited biological possibilities, but when it comes to communicating with machines, most of those limitations could easily be eliminated. Because - let's be honest - those weaknesses become apparent very quickly. And I'm not even talking about the fact that everyone near you is able to listen to the respective interaction, which is drastically restricting its usefulness anywhere outside your home or your car. 

This might be a possible explanation for the rather rudimentary use of smart speakers: simple tasks, such as playing music, having messages read out and checking the weather represent most of the use cases – according to the Nielson Group’s observations at least.

Buried in the hype about smart assistants and voice-operated hedge trimmers, the basic question is: how much of the ever-present digital companions do we really want to have. Or do we like to “enhance” our lives with so many technical gimmicks just because we can? This kind of development will continue (this year) one way or another – of that you can be sure.

Everbody fights for your attention 4.0: now with video!

Every day, 10 billion videos are viewed via Snapchat.


At the same time, however, the average time a video is actually looked at (whether on Snapchat, YouTube or in an ad) is just around 10 seconds and only 12-15% of all videos are watched with activated sound.

You would think that billions of trivial videos, soundlessly flickering across smartphone screens for mere seconds in the toilet cabins of companies around the world (It is okay, admit it!), should not be every advertiser's dream coming true. Think again!


It should go without saying that anyone who dares to films a concert should be excluded from all other musical performances for the rest of their natural life. If someone, on top of that, also decides to upload his/her low-quality nonsense to YouTube, the culprit should immediately be sentenced to watch a 100 hours-“Best of YouTube-Stars” video footage as punishment. Sign my petition on now to achieve a change of law!

The budgets for videos in the marketing mix rose continuously in 2018 and are likely to continue growing in 2019. Facebook and Google are rubbing their hands with glee as both companies rely on an increasing use of video ads in order to grow their advertising revenues. Last year, 78% of marketers planned to increase their video budgets. It is not much of a stretch to imagine that we can thus expect even more flashing video advertising spread all over major portals in 2019 as a result of this increase.

Let us take a look at the use of ad blockers: While a third of Germans are already blocking advertising on desktop systems, the possibilities of doing the same on mobile devices are rather unknown. At the turn of the year, a slight increase in using AdBlock-browsers and plugins had been registered. This development will hopefully continue and might finally force advertisers to engage in some kind of dialogue with consumers – rather than continuing to catch their customers’ attention by force.

Everybody wants to tell you how great self-driving cars are.

Even in 2019, no actual self-driving car will be widely available. At least, that is what the companies that are strongly involved in their development, claim relatively unanimously. Of course, that does not stop anyone from philosophising about the topic in lengthy blog posts (I know. Glass house, stones... Touché), nor from announcing successes/failures on any tech-news-pages whenever there is nothing else to write about. This year, the number of such ‘non-information’ will continue to rise to the same extent as the expectation and anticipation of motorists do continue to rise. Because, honestly: taking a nap in your car on your way to work is certainly not one of the worst ideas.

Everyone will shake their heads when you are talking about your Virtual Reality glasses.

Yep, we know it is fun. And yes, it may be the future of media consumption. Nevertheless, nobody wants to buy obscenely expensive VR glasses in order to feel bored by the limited offer or – with some bad luck – to get seasick in their own apartment (yet). So please, pick another topic to chew your friends’ ears off.

Consumer interest is (still?) almost non-existent; especially in comparison with AR applications. Although, it is save to assume that VR will not become one of those technologies that fail despite obvious technical superiority just because the market never liked them (rest in peace my beloved Blackberry smartphone-operating system), but – vice versa – it will probably not be "the year of the VR" either.


Of course this list could be continued way further, but we do not want to drag down your mood too much in January already!

Do you have any other technologies you would rather not see this year? Or are you hoping for a special topic to succeed? Tell us all about it!

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