We’re now halfway beyond 2017. It’s mind-blowing how technology evolved by leaps and bounds–and before you know it—it’ll be 2018 soon.
Whether we like it or not, our lives will be brimming with more breakthrough technologies driven by a new phase of innovation. For entrepreneurs looking for technology-driven opportunities, these are the top tech trends that will shape 2018 and beyond.
Internet of Things
Thanks to Internet of Things or IoT, the future home will be smarter in the years to come. IoT refers to a computing concept where smart devices and ordinary objects are connected together through the Internet to collect and exchange data.
Internet of Things allows you to control and automate the way you communicate with everyday devices like speakers, TV, refrigerator or security cameras. SAP created Leonardo, their IoT platform that allows customers to track sensor data from connected devices and get insights quickly. Touted as their digital innovation system, SAP Leonardo is an umbrella term for a suite of SAP technologies all designed on top of its platform-as-a-server (PaaS) known as the SAP cloud platform.
The concept behind IoT is nothing new as you’ve probably heard about this for years. One of the reasons why IoT adoption is slow in most homes is due to the rising competition among smart devices with little room for collaboration.
Other no-technical issues like privacy, liability and the complexity of integrating special assistants are also attributed to IoT’s slow adoption. Most of the smart appliances and devices in the market offer hardly any solution to join them together to create a smooth and unified experience.
We hope that in 2018, we’ll see further improvements in this area where smart devices will transition from an individual to collaborative model; to communicate with one another and act as one when executing certain tasks.
Machine learning is often confused with Artificial Intelligence (AI). Both may seem similar on the surface, but they are actually different.
Artificial Intelligence pertains to a general concept of creating intelligent machines that act and react like humans (natural intelligence). AI computers carry specific functions such as learning, planning, problem solving and speech recognition.
On the other hand, machine learning is a subset of AI that allows applications to learn and predict outcomes independently without being explicitly programmed. The basic premise of ML is to create algorithms that collect data and use statistical analysis to predict outcomes within an acceptable range.
Machine learning processes are similar to that of predictive modeling and data mining where machines search through data for patterns and adjust program actions accordingly.
Machine intelligence helps companies create better decisions, install sophisticated analytics that analyses certain human interactions and automate complex tasks with the adoption of bots and robotics.
You might have already experienced machine learning without you knowing it. This is especially true when you do online shopping. Each time you shop on the Internet, notice the related ads that pop after you purchase something. This occurs because recommendation system uses machine learning to personalize ads depending on the buyer’s buying habit. Other processes that use machine learning are spam filtering, fraud detection, and news feeds.
Google Translate already used Machine Learning to provide users with more fluent translations. Before, it was difficult to translate texts from a foreign language because you need to factor in grammar rules and language versions when translating a sentence. Today, we don’t have to struggle so much as Google Translate algorithm introduced more improvements and better results.
In the next few years, we expect more organizations to integrate machine learning seamlessly into their daily operations. It will not only carry out tasks based on experiences but learn from these interactions and recommend new tasks. This will eventually help companies increase productivity and service delivery to their customers.
With the adoption of cloud services growing for small and medium businesses, researchers are adjusting their forecasts for an upward trend. KPMG predict that Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) will be the fastest-growing cloud computing, soaring 32% in 2017 to 56% in 2020.
The massive growth of the cloud platforms in the coming years will surely drive up the competition and consolidation among cloud service providers.
Steep competition will lead them to differentiate themselves by ease of use, automation, analytics and cognitive computing. In 2018, expect cloud to be simpler, cheaper and more secure for small business and enterprise users.
Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR and AR)
Virtual Reality (VR) is a technology that uses computer-simulated reality that creates an immersive physical experience in either real or imagined environment.
VR is one of the computing ideas that were around for years but only took off just recently. Experts pointed out that reasons for its slow adoption are likely due to its high cost and the previous hardware design didn’t show the best virtual reality experience.
Some of the high profile VR launches were the Oculus Rift and Playstation VR. Acquired by Facebook for $2 billion, Oculus Rift offers rich, immersive experience with your favorite game and movie featuring intuitive Touch controllers.
Sony Playstation VR is set to reinvent the immersion VR experience where gamers can step in a virtual world of an extraordinary gaming and entertainment experience.
Unlike virtual reality, augmented reality does not use an artificial environment; instead, it makes use of the existing environment and overlays “augmented” elements on it. Pokemon Go, an AR mobile game launched in mid-2016 was a global phenomenon with more than 100 million downloads worldwide. Beyond its AR capabilities, Pokemon Go was a huge success partly due to its social impact that brings people together and the exploration of local communities.
Tech experts forecast VR and AR to advance exponentially and become mainstream tools that employees use in different sectors such as manufacturing, healthcare, retail, travel, training and more.
Both are capable of altering the way we normally perceive our presence and interact in an immersive environment. VR can be a great tool for training simulation and remote experiences. On the other hand, AR blends the real and virtual world seamlessly.
Overtime, both VR and AR will go beyond visual immersion and will incorporate the human senses. AR and VR companies are looking into more immersive ways that blends the physical environment with digital systems–creating a hybrid reality that’s uniquely intelligent, natural and smart.
The Future of Technology
While trends may come and go, it doesn’t hurt to keep yourself abreast with the latest tech trends. By forecasting what’s in store in technology, you can prepare yourself with your next business move before 2018 sets in.