Happy New Year and welcome to a shiny new 2018!
It was a busy year in the tech world, and 2018 looks no different. We are already looking at some significant tech trends that are expected to make waves this year. While terms like Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and Blockchain dominated the technological world in 2017, the prediction is that such technologies will only get more advanced, talked about, adopted, accepted, and prevalent in 2018. Here are the five tech trends that we've been fascinated about, been writing about throughout 2017, and are probably just as keen to see it unfold as Sophia might be in Saudi Arabia!
Automation and AI
This year will witness an augmented growth in the use of automation and artificial intelligence, machine learning with data analytics, and business intelligence. Digital assistance is also expected to get more innovative and prove more useful in variety of ways. AI-enabled devices will be able to anticipate individuals’ needs before they ask. An increased ability to perform tasks as they are asked (and needed) is bound to make them inherently more useful. Up from the 51 percent in 2017, over 70 percent of enterprises expect to implement AI in 2018. From suggesting what to offer to the customers, recommending terms to give the suppliers, and instructing employees on what to do or say in real time, AI will become an intrinsic part of our lives and daily routines. With most individuals already starting to adopt the use of Alexa, Siri and other customer service chatbots, more evolution is yet to be seen with regards to artificial intelligence. The year 2018 (and the imminent future beyond it) promises better machines (and we hope, humans too).
The Internet of Things will become an essential element on multiple levels, and it is clear that IoT and AI will be a critical combination in running businesses for most industries. IoT, built on cloud computing and networks of data-gathering sensors, is mobile, virtual, and gives us instantaneous connection. Without getting too technical at the risk of sounding gibberish, in the simplest terms, IoT is set to endow our lives with the utmost control and convenience in the least effortful way. It is set to change how we do things in a very accelerated way via human-centric BPM. In the face of artificial intelligence and machine learning, there will be more intelligent sensors, devices, and ‘things’ in the technological market in 2018. For instance, mobile processors that are built to handle AI technology are on the rise. There are exciting changes and challenges that embodies IoT’s potentials in creating a better world, and this article I wrote in Sept 2017 can help shed some light on why IoT can be a leap in mankind.
Analytics and Big Data
2018 will also be the year where most organizations will adopt a cloud-first strategy for big data analytics. We will witness a continuation of cloud adoption in mid-sized and larger enterprises. It is expected that most companies will embrace a public-cloud first policy for data, big data, and analytics, as they seek for more control over costs and more flexibility. The mass amount of data and information being created by the Internet of Things will have the power to revolutionize several industries from manufacturing, healthcare to hospitality. Companies will be seeking to reduce the cost of managing their operations by thoroughly and efficiently utilizing the Internet of Things. Moreover, Tech giants such as Microsoft, IBM, SAP, and SAS are already seeking to heavily invest in Analytics, especially IoT Analytics, as they can see the power of this combination in driving new business insights across most industries and applications.
Regardless of the rollercoaster ride the price of Bitcoin is experiencing, the Blockchain is said to have a real place in the future of technology, and not just in 2018. Providing a distributed, secure and unique system of records. the blockchain is at the heart of cryptocurrency, and while its primary use in 2017 was to verify cryptocurrency transactions, we are likely to see its utilization well outside of the realm of finance too. It will be used to check contractual terms, to even automatically execute the contracts, and to verify access to resources. With cybersecurity being such a big and sensitive issue for all and for obvious reasons, the blockchain could prove to be the solution for it in 2018 and beyond, as it offers a robust encrypted authentication mechanism that prevents malicious users from breaking in. While the financial sector will be the first to utilize blockchain, numerous other industries – from healthcare to entertainment to hospitality – are expected not to be far behind in using this tool.
The evolution of cellular wireless technology rooted from 3rd Gen (3G) to 4th Gen (4G) to its current LTE standard release. In a utterly fast-paced world that we live in now, a major feature that everyone is looking for is higher bandwidths than the current LTE networks can offer to handle all that we do, and the world is fast calling for the 5th Gen wireless networks. The level of hyper-connectivity expected by users currently leaves little to no room not to move towards on the 5G path, and the IoT will force the service providers to move faster than ever towards it. Companies such as Sony and Samsung are said to lead the way in implementing 5G connectivity, but (sensible) most tech giants and ISPs are already paving their own path in the future of 5G.
As the pace of technological transformation continues to increase and the number of new technologies continues to grow, it will be a must that businesses move fast while moving forward toward growth. Most devices rely on some physical interaction to work, however, this is fast changing and 2018 will see to that too. Alexa, Siri, and other virtual assistants are already beginning to train us to no longer rely on our thumbs and fingers, and most tech companies are now shifting the focus on the touchless interfaces. Digital transformation is forcing the world to change the way it operates - in both micro and macro levels. Here is to the faster, more connected, more intelligent, and more automated 2018!
Cheers, and Happy New Year!