An Agile retrospective of 2018 Tech Trends

Tech Trends announced one year ago…reviewed 365 days later.

Federico Haag
Reply U / Talents
Published in
6 min readJan 9, 2019


The year just started and we are looking forward to what opportunities will be brought by the future: whether in our personal life or in our professional one.

Before throwing ourselves into the upcoming goals take a moment, as the best Agile techniques suggest, to do a quick review of what we just went through.

The idea of this article is to recap the tech trends announced for the past year reviewing how actually it went. On Dec 30, 2017 — Jayson DeMers published an article on Forbes announcing the technology trends that would have dominated 2018. The following is a list of those announcements with a “post-mortem” review.

What to get from this article?

  • Find out if you missed something disruptive happened in 2018
  • Find out if something still have not reached the top and you may be interested in investing and be the one pushing it to the success

IA Permeation & White collar automation

During the May Google I/O, Google CEO Sundar Pichai showed millions of people what, without any doubts, is the first A.I. powered automated assistant able to book automatically a table in a restaurant just calling its phone number. The following video is the official presentation of the new feature. You can clearly see how it can manage independently the conversation with the lady on the other side of the call.

The forecasting of Forbes was about IA Permeation, and I think this is definitely what they imagined: bringing in our daily devices (pc or smartphones) something that can really boost daily life. This summarise the concept of “permeation” and it is the perfect example of solving a real daily life problem — or at least easing a common and boring task.

That being said, I would like to underline something that I think it’s important, especially if you are part of a small or medium company thinking of investing in artificial intelligence: IA is not a silver bullet.

If you are looking at IA as your holy grail, thinking to solve huge company’s problems or to boost your own business just with just one click or “adding some IA somewhere”… you are probably on the wrong path.

Recently Amazon realised that a service used by their recruiting team and considered as the holy grail, was actually leading to wrong decisions. Actually, more than wrong: sexists. If you are interested, here the article:

The sentence I found inside the interview that I think is critical to understand the classic mistake you should avoid is: “Everyone wanted this holy grail”.

So, if you want to boost your processes and your services, it’s highly probable that some IA-powered solution may help and may be successful. But keep in mind that magic still does not exist.

Digital Centralisation

Forbes analysis moved then to a more broad concept and forecasted 2018 as the year of Digital Centralisation.

The idea is that so many devices and apps are part of our daily life that 2018 should have been the year for starting a “centralisation process” oriented to increase the integration between all the different services we use daily. This can be achieved bringing customers to one new central device or something unique (app, service …) capable of integrating and merging in one unique experience.

Actually, this didn’t happen properly. Some companies tried to introduce some new devices on the market with the aim of bringing the mythical central device: Amazon is now sponsoring hard Alexa and Google is pushing strongly its Google Home. They are working hard to sell them as the new brain (or heart?) of our home, selling us the idea that those are the products we have always needed.

The truth is that — until now — they are not exactly the integration link that was (and so, is) missing for connecting our technological chain.

Consequently, this can be a good starting point for the new year: how can we integrate all technology we have?

Some companies are trying to create more and more closed-environments (like Google or Apple), to give their customers the feeling of a full integration — but this is far away from making this point as a solved issue.

Data overload

The web is driving very fast and data production is something that seems to be growing every year. Internet is now the infrastructure on top of which almost all services are working and are provided. Through it all our digital life moves, producing tons and tons of information every moment.

As just mentioned, Alexa or Google Home, listening every day all the day long to our voice, collect an almost unimaginable amount of data.

Trying to master and produce value from data is becoming more an art than a science, and it can be considered one of the current trend topics.

According to Forbes, the biggest concern was privacy, wondering how to manage this new amount of collected private data. In November 2017 the article written by was explaining in depth what were the biggest concerns:

Today, we definetly can say that this was the most correct forecast ever.

This year will always be remembered as the GDPR one: bringing what Europe defined as “the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years”.

A new tech trend for 2019 is then — for sure — how to handle all these new privacy concerns and, more in general, how to hack the increasing amount of data collection-storing-analysis problem.

5G Preparation

The more the goal is high, the more the path to reach is long and hard. The 5G revolution is still “work-in-progress” and probably the real revolution will be able to take place only on 2020.

What was a forecasted trend for 2018 will be for sure the same for this new year and the next ones. Consequently, we have still a lot of time to better understand what is going to happen and how our business can take this occasion to boost and offer new opportunities.

Have a look at one of our articles about 5G to learn more about it:

UI overhauls

I also think 2018 is going to be a major year for UI; we are going to have to rethink how we interact with our apps and devices — Jayson DeMers,

During the far 2014, Google announced Material Design showing a completely new way of thinking web design and proposing a new standard. After that, Google was the first one who didn’t adopt it, leaving web designer in a state of uncertainty.

“Why should I implement a new graphical standard if even its creator is not implementing it in its services?”.

During 2018, Google finally converted Gmail, Calendar and Youtube to material design, announcing — probably — that the moment came and even UI must re-think itself.

We can then say that this forecasting was successful.

Planning the next Sprint: #2019

What’s going to happen this new year, it’s actually a mystery. The future is up on our new ideas and willingness to innovate and bring more and more digitalisation in our life and in business.

That said, the more likely tech trends of 2019 will be:

  • Increasing of IA usage in customer care processes
  • Digital payments brought more easily to customers through new services and — possibly — a new vision.
  • Increasing of “delivered straight to your home” apps and services
  • ‘Platformisation’ of emerging technologies
  • Immersive experience brought in new business areas