2017 was an exciting year for technological development, from the advancement of driverless cars to the new world of virtual reality. But what technology can we expect from 2018? Here are 5 technology trends that are certain to make the headlines.
1. IoT will be everywhere
In all fairness, it already is everywhere. Even in the consumer market with devices such as Amazon Echo (echo, echo...) we have seen the true potential of the internet of things. But in 2018 it is set to get even bigger, especially when considering that blockchain, the technology that powers bitcoin, could be to be combined with IoT allowing a wider range of applications to be possible. Blockchain can also make the technology more secure by creating digital records across a large number of computers.
The internet of things is certain to get smarter too, which leads us nicely to the next item on the 2018 technology list.
2. Artificial intelligence boom
Machine learning and artificial intelligence were hot topics in 2017. In 2018, we are likely to see wider applications of AI technologies both in commercial and consumer markets. Coupled with big data and the advancement of computing power, we are likely going to see the biggest jump in AI capabilities so far throughout 2018.
When AI is combined with the internet of things, the possibilities to incorporate AI in business and domestic applications become endless. Imagine that you are meeting a customer but forget to mention something important. Your smartwatch may just remind you since the AI powering it has been involved with your customer just as much as you have. On the domestic side of things, you may find yourself being reminded to buy those bananas that you always do on your weekly shop, or to visit your Aunt when you drive near her house.
3. Augmented reality
Pokémon GO was one of the biggest crazes of 2017, and 2018 is set to build upon the technology that powered it: augmented reality. Whilst most people currently interact with the digital world using their phone, augmented reality brings the possibility of seamlessly integrated information into the real world. For some people, this may bring back memories of Google's Glass project; a wearable device which looks somewhat like a pair of glasses. 2018 could be the year that makes such devices not only seamless but also fashionable, and who wouldn't want to pretend they have special powers as they walk through the supermarket comparing products instantly?
4. 5G and LiFi
5G being the successor to 4G could see rollout by the end of 2018 or early 2019. Offering up to 10x faster speeds than its predecessor, many will see it as essential to keep up with modern technology such as streaming 4K videos or using your phone as a mobile hotspot.
LiFi, as you might have guessed, is a possible replacement for WiFi. By using lights (specifically LEDs) instead of radio waves, LiFi has the potential to offer up to 100x faster speeds. There is a downside, however. Since light cannot pass through walls, a direct line of sight is required. This would involve having a transmitter in every room where it is required to provide whole building coverage.
5. Speech recognition
Speech recognition has already come a long way, but still largely lacks the ability to determine speech with a thick accent or if the audio quality is poor. Thanks to AI and big data, however, that is set to improve. With a wider range of accents and artificial intelligence available to predict what you are going to say, 2018 could be the biggest recent development in speech recognition technology.
Machine learning can also play a part in predicting what you are most likely to say in certain circumstances and as a result, plug any gaps that voice recognition has missed or misinterpreted.