Technology. A word that is hugely exciting yet one that can be quite frightening at the same time. Technology moves so quickly that no sooner have we purchased the latest gadget or installed the newest improvement into our homes that we’re being told that, actually, what we’ve just spent hundreds – sometimes thousands – of dollars on has just been gazumped by something even better.
Although we’ve said we’re going to look at technology trends coming up next year that you won’t want to miss, it’s probably better to say that these are the technology trends of 2018 that you won’t be able to miss!
Here’s what you can expect to see over the coming 12 months.
Although there are currently no mobile phone devices that support 5G connectivity, given that Qualcomm in the United States confirmed in October 2017 they had been able to create a stable 5G mobile connection, such handsets are likely to follow in 2018.
While it may be some time before 5G is standard in the way that 3G was and now 4G is – many analysts predict it will be 2020 before it is considered ‘the norm’ – it is potentially set to be ready for consumer use next year.
If you’re already happy with your 4G connection, that’s great, but just look at how 5G compares.
If your primary interest in artificial intelligence is wanting to know when a robot that can make your dinner and get your clothes out each morning will be an affordable home accessory, you’re going to be disappointed, for now at least.
However, if you use artificial intelligence at all in your life, this will become even more useful in 2018. If you use Siri to plan your calendar, Cortana to answer emails, or Amazon Echo to tell you which way to drive to work, they’ll get better at this and have some more features added over the next 12 months.
Facial recognition technology is leading the way of what is a whole host of digital interface improvements you can expect to see in 2018.
At first, the only difference you might encounter and the only personal experience is likely to be if you’re the owner of a smartphone or tablet that uses facial recognition to unlock the device. However, the number of brands using facial recognition technology is continuing to increase, too, so over the next 12 months there’s every chance you could be in a store and suddenly see a TV advertising a product specific for your skin tone, hair colour, or complexion.
Is this creepy, or is it good customer service via harnessing technology for marketing purposes?
The majority of modern smartphones are already equipped with stunning augmented reality capabilities, although for most of us we probably do little more than point an app at something or take a picture of the sky to be able to learn about which stars are visible that night. In 2018 the game could change massively, particularly if the first 5G devices are produced for consumer sale, and the possibilities from augmented reality are endless.
Virtual reality has been popular for a number of years now, and certainly looks like it’s here to stay following the oft-forgotten VR failures of the 1990’s and early 2000’s, when the technology looked cool and quirky but didn’t catch on at all. The biggest shift here has undoubtedly been the accessible price of Oculus Rift, which has brought other providers’ costs down and produced real competition in the industry.
Whether you want virtual reality to enable you to play cool games with the kids or as a physiotherapy tool for treating injuries, this is another area where the possibilities are exciting and limitless.
When we think “smart cities” today we perhaps think of city centres, the huge built up areas that are able to maintain Wi-Fi or mobile data connectivity so we’re always able to see where the bus is, or how long we’re going to be sat in this line of traffic that doesn’t seem to be moving.
It’s great that we can do those things, but the real changes in smart cities to come over the next 12 months are unlikely to be things that consumers can buy for themselves. Instead, expect to see developments like self-cutting hedges, rubbish bins that self-compact trash and send a signal when they are nearing full capacity so they can be swapped or emptied, and water purification systems that take rainwater and provide drinkable water either on the street or in the office. Most of these initiatives will be solar-powered, too, keeping the environmental impact minimal.
What technology trends are you looking forward to seeing and interacting with in 2018? Is there a consumer technology you are waiting to get your hands on, or have you heard about a “smart cities” initiative that is going to happen where you live? Get in touch with us via Facebook to share not just what you’re looking forward to but your experiences of these technology trends, too.
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