5 Technology Trends For Businesses To Watch In 2018
Alan Winters

Enterprise-level players know that technology and innovation are the keys that unlock business success, and attending industry events is one of the best ways for companies of all levels to keep up with the ever-changing world and stay ahead of the competition.

Tech experts and managers of MobiDev, including me, regularly attend more than 15 leading tech conferences per year, where we make new business contacts and showcase results of our work. At the same time we observe new technology trends, which are going to define the upcoming couple of years.

Trend overviews, inspired by TechDay, CES and other industry-related events, should be tracked by company owners and managers as potential ways to reshape their businesses within the global process of digital transformation.

This article outlines our vision of technology trends that will be crucial for business throughout 2018 and beyond. We are sure, all of these and even more, will be duly presented at the next TechDay event in May.

Trend #1 - Digital transformation in the industrial sector

Major manufacturing companies use technology to transform mass production into customized one, accelerating revolutionary changes of Industry 4.0. Digital transformation launched an explosion of connected devices and platforms, with the Industrial Internet of Things rapidly changing the tech landscape.

With smart factories being the core of Industry 4.0, the whole manufacturing process will keep evolving. Turning operational data into real-time intelligence will allow companies to increase their operational efficiency and profitability, and transform production line and supply chains according to new digitized standards.

Trend #2 - The breakthrough of the Internet of Things

Over the last few years, the Internet of Things rapidly became a huge gate between the reality and the digital world, making inevitable changes in both industrial and consumer sectors. The smart home area transforms into the smart city with a huge variety of standalone products and closed ecosystems created by such leading consumer tech giants as LG.

Connected and self-driving cars have always been a part of the Internet of Things, and this year all major car manufacturers continuously introduce new automotive IoT solutions.

Manufacturing giants like Bosch focus on performance improvement and human safety care, reshaping the standards of doing business.

Healthcare and retail are two more major followers of the Internet of Things trends. Both aim for automation of operations, provision of personalized experience to customers, and overall transformation of the ways they operate.

Trend #3 - Growth and business adoption of artificial intelligence, data science, and machine learning

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are used together with many technologies to enable dynamic self-education of a system. Data science already brings business impact, being applied in B2B software for a variety of industries, for example, in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system development.

A 2017 Gartner survey showed that 59% of companies were gathering information to build their AI strategy, with the rest piloting or adopting AI technologies. It is time for business owners to decide whether they are going to keep up with the competition by the end of 2018.

Trend #4 - Blockchain

Cutting through the hype around it, blockchain still can be considered as a promising solution to security-based products for banking, healthcare and education sectors, although compelling examples are yet to appear. The blockchain technology still needs to grow and become more regulated before it will be widely adopted by major business domains; however, it is already a trend to watch in 2018.

Trend #5 - Between augmented, mixed, and virtual realities

Augmented, mixed, and virtual reality are still mostly embraced by the entertainment sphere; however, the appearance of Microsoft HoloLens compelled many manufacturers to explore the opportunities that augmented reality can offer to industry.

Augmented reality can be used for assembling complex manufactured products and supporting equipment maintenance, giving a previously unheard-of ability to control and manage machinery by a simple touch on an AR display.

Mixed reality will be another focus over the next few years with its ability to immerse the user and real-world objects into the digital world, still maintaining their presence in the physical world. With emerging toolkits—such as ARKit for iOS and ARCore for Android—we can expect 2018 to be crucial for both AR and MR software development.

Enterprises and emerging companies should watch these technology trends not to miss the right time to apply innovation before it loses its competitive power.