Technology is rooted in everything we do, improving the ways we live, work, and experience the ecosphere. But there’s a larger revolution at play–a shift beyond digital into an era where tech is built into every single interaction. The IT trends that are swiftly reforming not just daily life, but society as a whole, and allowing businesses in every industry to reimagine what’s possible.
Over the years, we have well-educated that the best way to foretell the future is to hang out with the people creating it, it’s pretty easy to recognize trends that have the greatest potential impact.
Here are my top tech trends for 2018:
AI brings enormous changes to business operations, reshaping entire industries with the power of advanced technologies and software. Some companies now acknowledge the value of implementing the AI strategies for their business, and a major leap towards AI is on the way. Large companies with over 100,000 employees are more likely to implement the AI strategies, but for them, this process can be especially challenging. 2018 will be the year when the leading firms will incorporate AI applications into their strategic and organizational development. Additionally, there is a potential for algorithms marketplaces, where the best solutions created by engineers or companies can be shared, bought, and deployed for organizations’ individual use.
Brave ideas that used to be hard to believe, are becoming real. The constant development of machine learning and AI technologies will make every business become data-driven, and every industry smarter. After years of background work on prototypes and ideas, the new solutions will be breathtaking. Virtual assistance for patients, computational drug discovery, and genetics research give a glimpse of the amazing use cases in medicine. Many more applications for automation, robotization, and data management in different industries will bring significant changes. Healthcare, construction, banking, finance, manufacturing — every existing industry will be reshaped.
Everyone is now talking about blockchain, a revolutionary decentralized technology that stores and exchanges data for cryptocurrencies. It forms a distributed database with a digital register of the transactions and contracts. Blockchain stores an ever-growing list of ordered records called blocks, each containing a timestamp and a link to the previous block. Blockchain has impressive prospects in the field of digital transactions which will open new business opportunities in 2018.
This technology also uncovers many new possibilities with various applications in various other fields. Due to the growing role of social responsibility and security on the internet, the blockchain technologies are becoming increasingly relevant. In a system using blockchain, it is nearly impossible to forge any digital transactions, so the credibility of such systems will surely strengthen. This approach can become fundamental for disruptive digital business in enterprises and startups. Companies, previously operating offline, will be able to translate the processes into the digital environment completely.
Business needs to account for the blockchain risks and opportunities and analyze how this technology can influence the customer behavior. As the initial hype around blockchain in the financial services’ industry will slow down, we will see many more potential use cases for the government, healthcare, manufacturing, and other industries. For example, blockchain strongly influences the intellectual property management and opens new insights in protection from copyright infringement. Some websites like Blockai, Pixsy, Mediachain, and Proof of Existenceintend to apply the blockchain technology for this purpose.
Intelligent things have been in a spotlight for several years, and with a continuous expansion and enhancement in 2018 they will influence another global trend — the Internet of Things.
A network of collaborative intelligent things will be created where multiple devices will work together developing IoT to its full potential. Connected to the global web and combined via wired and wireless communication channels, things will turn into a one big integrated system driving a major shift in the human-machine interaction. The fusion of artificial intelligence with the Internet of things brings about new amazing technologies to create smart homes and cities.
Fortunately, there is more good news with another new technology slowly making its entry. Thanks to distributed ledger technology, we will see a new approach to data ownership, giving control back to the original creator of content or data, instead of the platform where it was created. Not only will this empower consumers to take back control and monetise their data, but it will also enable organisations to share proprietary data with competitors and industry partners without being afraid of theft or loss of a competitive advantage.
2018 will see the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) become enforced, changing the way how companies should protect data of European citizens. This new regulation will have a big effect on organisations, but in 2018 we will also see the launch and further development of platforms that go even further and enable secure and private data sharing. It can best be compared to each piece of data having its own vault with its own rules linked to it, governed by smart contracts. Any transaction involved with every piece of data can be tracked and monitored and the data owner can benefit in real-time.
One solution currently in the works is the Fujitsu Data Exchange Network. This platform will enable organisations to share proprietary data with competitors, without having to be concerned about revealing confidential information. Another platform revealed recently is the IOTA Data Marketplace. This data marketplace is focused on Internet of Things devices and sensors. Applications or organisations can select a sensor across the globe, make a micropayment to the owner of the sensor and get direct access to the data stream of that sensor, which can be used for data analytics or applications. A revolutionary marketplace, with already over 30 participants, including Microsoft, Fujitsu, Orange and Accenture.
Such renewed data ownership is enabled by the convergence of Big Data and Blockchain. However, it will require a different approach by organisations. Instead of having a large data lake with all consumer data stored centrally, in the future organisations will have to obtain (technical) consent of each customer to access their data vault and use the data for insights. This would involve more than approving a complicated terms & conditions and most likely requires some sort of payment. Several companies are working on new solutions and in 2018, we will see the first workable applications, requiring organisations to prepare for a new reality of data owned and controlled by consumers.
What do you think of these technology trends for 2018? Anything you want to add? Please join the discussion in the comments below.