Everyone loves annual assessments. Mine for 2018 are simple: AI is making real progress, IOE is spreading, blockchain is real, lots of digital content is fake, and big, rich companies will eventually be regulated. We also like to talk to machines – especially when everything’s connected. The momentum around all these trends is strong and likely to accelerate in 2018 and into 2019.
Every year we look at trends. Lots of companies, consultancies and research organizations do the same thing. Every year many of the trends are simple extrapolations of the previous year’s trends. But every year there are also some breakout trends. Perhaps of greatest interest are the rates of acceleration some of the trends experience in any given year. Some trend quickly; some more slowly. Momentum is driven by technology maturity, adoption rates and how well – or badly – the use cases evolve. Momentum scores are as useful as the trends themselves.
Last year I identified 5 technologies that should have made you some money in 2017. I asked you to pretend to you were an Angel investor, a venture capitalist or a company with pilots-on-their-minds with money to invest. I identified five technology clusters that should attract your cash. Here are the 5 clusters I identified for 2017: intelligent systems technology, interaction technology, small software technology, sensor analytics technology and cyber security technology.
This year is no different. There are some old favorites and some new ones. There are some break out trends and applications attracting a lot of attention, and there are some trends that will generate serious momentum in 2018 and beyond. Let’s look at 5 of them. Place your bets.
- Conversational Interfaces
- Blockchain Platforms
- Fake Content
- Enabling Platforms for AI & Machine Learning Applications
- Internet of Everything (IOE)
- Regulatory Threats
Talk to Me
We’ve known for decades that people love talking to machines, searching with graphic interfaces and immersing themselves into video. It’s not the preference that’s important, it’s the state of the technology that matters. Comcast, Google, Amazon and others led the use of voice interfaces in 2017. HomePod will help Apple erase Siri’s problems. Comcast built some of its advertising based on the differentiation their Xfinity voice interface enables. This trend will accelerate in 2018: everyone loves to talk to their apps. People love saying “Hey, Google” and “Alexa.” The real impact comes from connectivity via the Internet of Things (IOT) than enables additional functionality. The infrastructure is now in place to enable voice-controlled smart homes, cars, buildings and cites. If you don’t feel like talking, you can authorize Alexa (and others) to just manage increasingly aspects of your life. Momentum score? 5 (out of five). This is the killer app because it enables all sorts of interaction, problem-solving, planning and even analytics.
This one is easy – but important. 2018 will be more about blockchain platforms than cross-industry applications. The financial industry will lead the way; healthcare will follow quickly. Blockchain will completely free itself of its singular cryptocurrency identity in 2018. It will become a legitimate transaction platform that mainstream technology vendors and vertical industry leaders deploy. 2018 momentum score? 4. But this one is on the cusp: could be a 5.