How did we get back to this time of year already?  We’re in the midst of peak season.  Black Friday and other early retail indicators are showing a strong start – the best in years, in fact.  Many of the world’s leading economies have been roaring the last few years. Reflecting on all these highlights, I made one mistake when initially composing this blog: I looked down.  You’re not supposed to look down when your high up.  With that in mind, let’s take a look at three of the areas retail and supply chains will be talking about in 2019.


Yield curve inversions, market fluctuations, trade wars and tariffs, commodities prices. All these indicators point to an upcoming downturn (see why I mentioned above about looking down?).  Remain calm, markets do this. It’s perfectly normal.  However, as we head into 2019, the question is: will this be a soft or hard landing? 2001 or 2008?  Most major markets are in a good place – low unemployment, reasonable (though probably a little low) interest rates, and fairly balanced currencies.  A soft landing will be more likely for a couple of reasons. First, we just had the hardest recession in generations, so that probably won’t happen twice in a row.  Second, many of the issues that have helped bring in the imminent downturn are political. Therefore, good negotiation among world leaders will quickly undo some “self-inflicted” harm.  Read: tariff and trade-war relief aren’t far away.


Here in the USA, there is a shortage of hourly workers.  We hear some confirmation of this in other leading markets.  The reality is, this won’t go away.  So, there will continue to be a big push on making existing warehouse and retail workers more productive.  How do you do that?  You invest in technologies that help them accomplish more, and in technologies that can perform repetitive tasks, so workers can do more of the advanced tasks. Workers benefit from growing their skills. Companies achieve their productivity metrics.  In 2019, expect more evaluations of artificial intelligence, robots/co-bots, and general industrial IoT.


2019 is the year Android takes the lead in rugged mobile computing, as IDC notes in its Worldwide Rugged Mobile Device Forecast, 2018-2022 report. And why not? An impressive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) proves Android has the momentum.  Plus, we’ll watch Windows Embedded Handheld pass its End of Support date in June 2019, with Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 following close behind in January 2020.  Companies don’t want to be caught on a platform that lacks support.  Businesses throughout the supply chain depend on product support to minimize risk and business disruptions. For those who haven’t made the move to Android, this is the year they make that move. (And we have your app migration covered with Velocity.)

What will 2019 bring? We’ll find out together in the year ahead, and we will keep you up to date with our take on these topics and more. Finally, from this mobility enthusiast to you and yours, a strong finish to one of the best peak seasons in years. Peace, happiness, and productivity in the year ahead!

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