The Top Technology Trends for 2018

Posted by Fran Geddes on 28-Nov-2017 10:16:35
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2017 was a big year for technology. Rapid adoption of emerging technologies amongst startups have accelerated development and forced businesses to consider tech a lot sooner than they would’ve previously thought and 2018 does not show any signs of slowing down. Here are some key technology trends for 2018 businesses may need to begin to pay attention to ahead of the new year.

 

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligent robot

 

There is a reason AI is inescapable; AI will be an integral part of any successful business strategy in 2018. No matter what industry you’re in, the force of the smart technology can be felt across businesses worldwide. 

The reluctance amongst businesses to implement AI is a mixture of gruelling company culture and technical complexities. Like many things, you do not need to understand the ins and outs of the tech to use it, but understanding the potential usage and capabilities can encourage a successful adoption.

To a lot of people, artificial intelligence means artificial life form, like robots – and to a certain extent, it is. Robots can replace customer facing roles initially programmed to assist customers with frequent, familiar requests and they develop using machine learning to deal with more complex requests. One example of this is iFlyTek’s voice-based AI technology. The tech has been introduced to Anhui Provincial Hospital in the form of a female robot greet visitors and directs them to the appropriate department based on their requirements. The software utilises data collected by the $12 billion company since 2010. Since June, the AI assistant has received an 84% success rate and the more the facility is utilised, the more it will improve.

One of the most exciting business prospects of AI is data analysis. Artificial intelligence can easily identify patterns within masses of data, generating insightful reports about consumer behaviour. AI-powered systems can learn and adapt their services based on these reports, contributing to a more focused customer experience. B60’s Propel utilises AI technology to help businesses understand customer behaviour on their digital platforms and offers insights into how to improve engagement, increase ROI and deliver quality customer service.

 Gartner estimate that by 2020, 30% of CIOs will include AI in their top 5 investment opportunities. Development is rapid and businesses who fail to keep up with the pace may find themselves uncompetitive, or even obsolete.

Now is the time for experimentation. Recognise development opportunities within your own sector and wider industries. The specifics of a project may not explicitly apply to your business, but the framework might. Following the lead of your competitors may just give them the edge – so, don’t wait.

 

2. Intelligent Apps/Services

Artificial intelligence will not only transform business procedures and services, it will also improve the digital products and services business can offer. In 2018, the most valued digital products will incorporate AI into its infrastructure, in some way. A more customer-centric approach will drive consumer engagement as interactions will be based an individual’s buying habits, digital behaviour and purchasing history. Messages are more personalised, directing customers to offers, discounts or reminders of most relevant to them.

3. Conversational Platforms

Chatbots for Business

 

One trend dominating technology forecasts for 2018 is conversational platforms, like chatbots. Whilst chatbots have featured on ‘tech must-have’ lists for the past year, they feature the top trends due to the ever-evolving capabilities of the technology. Human language is complex and difficult to interpret. Puns, colloquial language and our ever-evolving language can become easily misinterpreted.

Early adopters of chatbots will find that their AI assistants will be able to handle more complex requests much faster than those not ready yet to invest. Machine learning is challenging our previous conceptions of what AI can do, and this is only the beginning. AI is developing at a pace scientists and tech experts cannot comprehend. At this pace, it is difficult to predict just what stage AI will be at in 2018, but it is highly likely you will need it in your digital strategy.

4. Edge Computing

IoT and AI will be the collaborative drivers behind the move to an autonomous world, but it is edge computing is accelerating the pace. This does not spell the end for cloud computing, however. Edge computing and cloud computing must work together to utilise the vast amounts of data efficiently.  

Edge computing simply means that the system is closer or ‘at the edge’ of its source of data, reducing the time it takes to communicate between the two. This eliminates the delay between the machine sensors and the operating system usually found in cloud computing. Edge computing will take the lead over cloud computing when logistical placement of production harbours bandwidth constraints or speed is of particular importance. 

Intel estimates that an autonomous car will produce around 40TB of data for every eight hours of driving. This data will assist the car in its decision-making process, deciding on efficient routes, speed and operational processes, therefore, it would be unsafe and impractical to rely on a slower, unreliable cloud computing system.

 

5. Digital Twins

Digital Twin Ship

 

A digital twin is a digital representation of a real-life physical component. The digital twin utilises data from the object to inform decisions, reacting to changes in the same way the real-life version would. Whilst digital twins could run the risk of over-complicating procedures, higher-risk initiatives, like smart citiescould greatly benefit from a robust analytical monitoring system. The opportunity to closely monitor and critically assess will offer better insights and drive better decision-making.

6. Blockchain

blockchain .jpg

 

The complex system of Blockchain can prove difficult to understand, but it drills down to being a method a recording data. Blockchain can independently record and verify transactions. Blockchain encrypts each individual transaction across different computers, verifying the transaction by agreeing on a particular answer to assign a unique signature. Once processed, the transaction cannot be altered, only added to, and this will trigger a notification to all relevant systems.

 With cybersecurity a hot topic in today’s digital age, it’s no wonder Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are beginning to appeal to the masses. Blockchain offers a more secure, transparent and private way to process transactions. Hackers would have to simultaneously access multiple different servers to even begin to attempt to hack the system, offering much-needed relief to the security-conscious public. Fintech startup, Revolut, have recently announced their intentions of implementing cryptocurrencies within their services and it won’t be long until others follow their lead. Blockchain and cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, have skyrocketed in popularity over the recent years, and this is only the beginning. In today’s saturated market, a customer may base their decisions on the provided payment vendors you use and if blockchain and cryptocurrency aren’t on your list, you might not be on your customers.

 

7. Immersive Business Experiences

Virtual Reality in Business

Reality technologies have received mild success within the entertainments industry. Whilst Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (AR and VR) were not as widespread as developers may have anticipated, VR games like The Lab, and AR apps like Pokémon Go, exhibited the potential of the tech. But, 2018 may be the year reality techniques breakthrough to business.

Mixed reality, the merge of both AR and VR could lend a virtual, interactive environment to businesses which they can utilise for training, design and visualisation processes. Operating outside of real-life restrictions, risks and time delays, immersive experiences could save business time and money, whilst simultaneously offering a forward-thinking, engaging experience.  

 

If you would like to find out more about how your business can utilise these technologies, get in touch with B60. We'd love to be a part of your next development project! 

 

Get in touch with B60

Topics: AR and VR, AI, Emerging Technology