2017 has been an unforgettable year for technology. The Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and other state-of-the-art technologies dominated headlines throughout the year. They also set the stage for 2018 to become perhaps the biggest and best year to date for technological innovation.
With 2017 almost in the rear-view mirror, now’s a great time to look ahead to the future of the technology landscape. 2018 promises major technological innovations, and some of the key trends to watch next year include:
- Smart(er) Home Devices
Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and other smart devices have already made their way into many homes around the world. Meanwhile, the Arlo Pro 2 wirefree camera system, Nest Thermostat E smart thermostat, and other high-end smart home devices could transform the way people live their lives in 2018.
The push for smart home devices likely will continue in 2018 and beyond. The global smart home market is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.5 percent between 2017 and 2022, according to Zion Market Research. Additionally, smart home device manufacturers are working diligently to create smarter, faster, and more efficient products, which may lead to unparalleled smart home innovations in the foreseeable future.
- Wearable Apps
The line between mobile device and wearable apps is blurring. And in 2018, the demand for wearable apps that offer the convenience and functionality of those available on mobile devices may increase, particularly as more consumers shop for the latest and greatest wearables.
Apple is the leading provider of wearables globally, International Data Corp (IDC) points out. But 2018 could represent the end of Apple’s reign as wearables market leader. In fact, if FitBit, Xiaomi, and other wearable brands can deliver user-friendly apps, they may be better equipped than ever before to gain ground on Apple in the global wearables market.
Launching user-friendly wearable apps may challenge many businesses in 2018, but app developers are available that deliver digital innovation and user-centric design services. With the right app developers, anything is possible, even apps that deliver a consistent user experience (UX) across mobile and wearable devices.
- Website Push Notifications
Push notifications are common for mobile device users, but most companies have yet to embrace push notifications for websites. This pattern, however, is likely to change in 2018.
Website push notifications work the same way as mobile varieties. Once a website visitor opts-in for push notifications, this individual will receive these notifications on his or her desktop.
Thanks to push notifications, businesses can deliver personalized messages to desktop users. Additionally, companies can work with digital strategy firms to find ways to optimize push notification technology and ensure their messages reach the right audience, at the right time, every time.
- Mixed Reality
In 2016, Pokémon Go showed off the true potential of augmented reality (AR). Microsoft this year took AR a step further with the consumer version of its HoloLens smartglasses. Next year, expect application, hardware, and software vendors to explore ways to leverage AR and virtual reality (VR) technologies to deliver “mixed reality” digital experiences.
Mixed reality devices enable users to interact with a combination of digital and real world objects. These devices may reshape the way that mobile device manufacturers build their products, as well as the steps that app developers take to craft custom device apps. Plus, as AR software development kits become readily available, the push for mixed reality experiences may increase significantly over the course of next year.
Blockchain technology helps users securely manage access to critical data stored in the cloud or on-premises. As such, it is becoming exceedingly important in financial services, healthcare, and other highly regulated industries.
Although blockchain is gaining momentum with businesses, most consumers still don’t realize its full impact. But this may start to change in 2018, particularly as more consumers search for quick, easy ways to safeguard their sensitive information.
The future looks bright for the technology sector, and there are many innovations that businesses and consumers will be able to enjoy next year. As a result, 2018 may prove to be a landmark year for technological innovation.