5 digital trends for 2018

OPINION / 5th January 2018

2018 will be the year of change. Technological advancements are gathering at such a pace that what used to be in the realms of science fiction, will this year become a reality. New technologies will become mainstream, changing the way we work and do business.

Here, we take a look at five digital trends that will dominate in 2018:

1. AI

Amazon Echo, Google Home, chatbots, personal assistants such as x.ai and Microsoft’s Cortana, were widely adopted in 2017 and where consumers go, businesses must follow. Microsoft, IBM and Facebook have all opened up their APIs to developers and in 2018 we will start to see how companies will incorporate machine learning capabilities into their existing apps and products to help businesses increase productivity or derive new value.

2. Blockchain

If you haven’t heard of Blockchain, 2018 will the year of the big reveal. What has been confined to the realms of banking and cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, will be adopted by other sectors this year. Blockchain, a public ledger that records all the transactions and movements of an item, can also be applied to physical goods, for example tracking products through a supply chain, as well as electronic transactions and other services. The fully decentralised system lowers transaction costs, improves record-keeping and enables complete transactional traceability. These benefits make blockchains ideally suited for the hyperconnected digital era – one in which trust boundaries between devices, networks, applications and users are being constantly redefined.

3. End of the website (as we know it)

The marketing website as we know it is dead. Businesses need to reimage the website and instead think of it as a customer experience platform – something that brings all the digital touch points of a customer’s journey together. Websites were originally built for the web 1.0/analogue world as a digital brochure site. In a post-digital world  marketers need to think again about how to engage with their customers. The last thing anyone wants to do is navigate around a tedious website. They just want to get to the next step, in the minutes they have available, while they are looking at their smartphones. So, in some cases voice may be the next platform, or video, or traditional mobile UIs, but not one is going to displace the other. What they will all do collectively, is make legacy platforms obsolete.

4. Facial recognition

Thanks to the iPhone X and banking apps coming to the market, facial recognition technology will become common place this year. Despite the tech being in its infancy here in the UK, by the end of 2018 there will be hundreds of facial recognition devices out in the world. One country already ahead of the game is China, where consumers can use their face to pay for fast food and buy tickets. As well as widespread adoption in the banking industry, 2018 will see other sectors adopt this technology, such as retailers who can use it to enhance their marketing tactics, such as introducing greater personalisation within stores, etc.

5. Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality will be the next big computing platform and this technology has the potential to transform the way we interact with almost every industry today. Virtual Reality, together with Augmented Reality, will become an $80 billion market within eight years, according to Goldman Sachs, which predicts that by 2025, VR and AR will be roughly the size of the desktop PC market today. Many are suggesting that VR and AR will be equally transformative as the introduction of the first mobile phone.
 

Amy Creeden Amy Creeden Marketing Manager Amy Creeden