We are now entering an exciting, unprecedented time in technology, with the pace of change and innovation continuing to accelerate. Technology will continue to transform the way we work and live, raising many questions about both; opportunities and challenges.

In 2018, technology is set to shift an even bigger focus on the Internet of Things (IoT), AI and Machine Learning. Areas of practice that once seemed impossible to digitize are fundamentally changing because of the impacts of AI, Internet of Things capabilities and big data analytics, which have many potentially positive implications for society.

But before we look ahead to what surprises 2018 might bring us, lets take some time to reflect on the technology which has shape a year we won’t soon forget.

Artificial intelligence:  Artificial intelligence continues to be at the forefront of tech discussions, conferences and development. Artificial intelligence (AI) is about to become a company’s digital spokesperson. AI is taking on more sophisticated roles within technology interfaces; from autonomous driving vehicles that use computer vision, to live translations made possible by artificial neural networks. AI is making every interface both simple and smart and setting a high bar for how future interactions will work.

Despite all, it’s still awaiting its grand breakthrough moment, with the potential to transform the tech landscape still very much on the horizon. I believe there will be a major AI breakthrough in 2018 that could change how businesses evolve and interact with customers. AI will define future customer’s experience.

The Internet of Things:  The internet of things can be found in almost any industry now; everything is becoming “smart.” Whether you’re in your car, at home, in the office or shopping, you’re likely interacting with smart technology. The new rule for the future is going to be, "Anything that can be connected, will be connected."

The reality is that the IoT allows for virtually endless opportunities and connections to take place, many of which we can't even think of or fully understand the impact of today. It certainly opens the door to a lot of opportunities but also to many challenges. I believe this trend will continue to become more pervasive in 2018 as the proven technology moves from popular segments, like the home, into other areas.

Machine Learning:  Machine learning has been getting into all technologies. A completely different way to program a computer by training it with a massive ocean of sample data, ML is real and is here to stay. All platforms are adding it to make life and software more intelligent and advanced.

Computers trained using Machine Learning hold tremendous promise, as well as the potential for massive disruption in the workplace. Across 2017, ML has begun to deliver spectacular results in very specific niches where the pattern recognition capabilities can be exploited. We will not be able to avoid it in 2018, as this trend will continue to expand into new markets next year.

Bots:  In marketing, Bots became the new customer service assistants, providing consumers with timely order notifications, answering their questions, and even assisting with gift ideas ahead of Christmas.

From support chatbots to social bots and beyond, the game surrounding customer activity is changing very rapidly in favor of automation. Clients who’ve become early adopters have seen huge success, and I see this becoming even more mainstream in 2018.

Influencer Marketing:  Influencer marketing has gotten so big during 2017. The ease with which companies can engage in influencer marketing, combined with its powerful network effects and viral nature, clearly has proven to be the most effective form of advertising. There are many tech trends on the rise, but I think The Influencer Marketing Trend will continue to be a focus of smart marketers in 2018.

Video and VR/AR/360-Degree Videos:  As our attention spans decrease, marketers are heavily relying more on creating video content. Video is becoming the most popular and influential form of digital content for businesses today.

In 2018, VR, AR and 360-degree videos could be the next tech trend to utilize since they can be great for showcasing a virtual tour of your business, or preview your products and services.

Voice-Driven Applications:  If you’ve ever asked Amazon’s Alexa for the weather, checked in with Apple’s Siri for directions, or simply listened to your favourite podcast, you’ll understand the power and pervasiveness of voice-driven technology and audio storytelling in today’s media landscape.

While voice search and voice command have been around for many years now, this year 2017 voice recognition has gone mainstream, with the Echo, Google Home and other smart speakers all competing for space in your life. And as the technology advances, voice recognition features will become more nuanced and useful. The year 2018 will bring with it more frequent use of voice-driven technologies, with Google making a strong push to improve its technology to catch up to the lead taken by Amazon.

Cybersecurity:  Although I would rather not end on a negative note, one huge tech trend that shaped 2017 wasn’t necessarily a positive one. Cybersecurity, or a lack thereof, shaped 2017.

Even though there had been data breaches in previous years, such as Ashley Madison and Talk Talk, this year saw something all the more insidious from WannaCry to the massive Equifax breach, without forgetting the NHS cybersecurity scandal, 2017 has been a year consumed by negative news about companies failing consumers in ways that consumers are just now starting to understand.

2017 presented us with multiple instances of our data being at risk, and I have no doubt, will likely shape the next year 2018 in terms of stronger systems being implemented.

In short, whilst many exciting technologies came to the fore in 2017, the year acted as an incubation period for many more, with the next twelve months likely to bring exciting new advancements and breakthrough moments. Following this year’s developments, it’ll be interesting to see the direction these technologies take in 2018.

Looking to make 2018 the most productive year yet? These previous articles may help:
 
The Benefits of having a business website
How to improve your existing website
Web Design Trends for 2018
The GDPR will be enforced from 25 May 2018. All companies that hold any data of European Union citizens, regardless of the location of the company, are affected by this regulation. Is your company ready? https://foliowebdesign.co.uk/article/gdpr-what-you-need-to-know-and-how-will-it-affect-you
The Future of Business with AI and ML
 
 And now, there is only one more thing I would like to say on behalf of Folio Web Design: