Opinion: Big tech trends of 2018

After a big 2017, the internet of things is set to permeate even more of the market over the coming 12 months and beyond says Carl Oxley, managing director at Westcoast Retail

With the prevalence of Google Home, Alexa-powered speakers and Nest home security devices, the internet of things was undoubtedly centre stage for the majority of 2017. Offering an unparalleled ease of use and taking the connected and automated home to the next level, the products allowed users to hook up everything from their kettle to their lamp. Going beyond a gimmick, the success of such products means that consumers are increasingly becoming used to the concept that their lives could be made significantly easier by the inclusion of such tech.

As we move into 2018, it’s this ease of use that will continue to prevail and drive the next series of tech trends to dominate conversation. As users become more and more used to the concept of the connected home and aware of its benefits, the more relevant the internet of things will become, and it’s this theme that will drive the key tech trends of next year.

One form of tech that buys into this concept and has increasingly found its way into conversation, partly on the back of the internet of things, is artificial intelligence. Developing the intuitive and connected nature of the internet of things, AI consists of learning capabilities that allow it to adapt depending on its user’s needs, meaning its potential for use in a wide variety of tech is immense. Google announcing its Google Clips, a camera that is able to remember faces and take photos at key moments, was a huge step forward in promoting the benefits of this technology to the average consumer, and is indicative of the ways in which it can be used moving forward to 2018 and beyond.

The other trend that will become a big name over the course of 2018 is that of edge computing. Not to be put off by the name, edge computing is a fairly simple concept, referring to the inputting of internet of things capabilities into a product itself. The likes of smart drones and autonomous vehicles are a couple examples of items that would benefit from it most obviously, allowing them to communicate instantly without the need to send data to the Cloud. Having such capabilities on board cuts down on the amount of time spent on the process, resulting in tech that’s much more responsive and versatile than what’s currently on the market.

Given the various avenues both AI and edge computing are capable of going down over the next year, the potential for them is huge. The key will be in how successful those involved are at educating consumers, not just in understanding the tech itself but also the benefits it can bring to their lives. If this is carried out effectively, then there’s no reason why they can’t lead the conversation in 2018.

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