What’s hot this year? Technology #TrendsFor2018

What’s hot this year? Technology #TrendsFor2018 Credit: Pixabay

As we start a new year of our lives, we’re all a year older, and a little wiser (we hope). This is the perfect time to look back and look forward at the world around us. Look back on the ways our lives have changed over the past few years, and look forward to technology trends that will revolutionize human lives in the year ahead.

Mainstream artificial intelligence

Unlike what we saw in The Matrix, the machines are not taking over, yet. The reality is that artificial intelligence (AI) is just getting off the ground. AI is going mainstream and making an appearance in every new platform, app, or device, and this trend is only going to accelerate in 2018.

If you haven’t already heard of it, look for AI-enabled TVs at CES this year. As we move forward, AI will become a mainstay in all forms of technology and transform how we interact with the world around us.

Virtual, augmented and mixed realities

Facebook, HTC, and Sony seem to be gearing up for a battle of virtual reality hardware. Google has its Daydream headsets for VR and Microsoft is taking augmented reality (or as they call it, mixed reality) mainstream by baking support for it into the Windows OS.

A special mention goes to startups like Magic Leap that want to change the way we perceive the world around us. VR, AR, and MR are going to be more immersive and more life-like as more designers and developers work on solutions.

Talking to technology

Amazon Echo and Google Home are just the beginning of a shift towards alternate user interfaces for smart homes. We’ll see more voice-based interfaces and home automation systems in 2018 and beyond. These platforms will make it easier than ever to control tech in and around our homes, in a way that’s natural to us — talking.

Once again, look for tech such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa to permeate every possible gadget we own.

Process automation for businesses

People and processes are at the heart of every business. Efforts to automate routine processes are picking up steam, enabling people to focus on high-quality work.

McKinsey & Company estimates automation will raise global productivity by 0.8 to 1.4 percent annually. When one considers that the steam engine and information technology raised global productivity by 0.3 and 0.6 percent respectively (and that was a lot!), automation is definitely a game changer. In the year ahead, enterprises will realize cost benefits through process automation in functions such as IT, HR, and Finance.

Craze for cryptocurrencies

The kingpin of today’s cryptocurrency race, Bitcoin, just celebrated it’s 9th birthday. While 2017 was a year of crazy growth for Bitcoin and other altcoins, 2018 will be their biggest test. After a spate of newly-minted crypto millionaires, institutional investors are rethinking their stance on the “crypto bubble”.

The blockchain and cryptocurrencies are here to stay, and they have infinite potential. However, the days and weeks ahead will show us which of the 1000+ cryptocurrencies that have popped up in the past few years will go big and which will go home.

As we enter 2018 with new hopes, these are some technologies that will influence and dictate our lives in the year ahead. Keep an eye on these trends so you can spot opportunities for your organizations to adapt, adopt, and stay ahead of the curve.

Are there any interesting tech trends that you think should be on this list? Let us know in the comments below.

Authored by Kesava Mandiga, who is upset he didn’t listen to a friend talking about Bitcoin in 2016. Also, a content marketer at Flock.