Technology continues progressing rapidly, and 2018 is shaping up to be a banner year in a number of fields. Although predicting the future is always risky, some trends seem to be safe bets going forward. Here are a few technologies trends to keep an eye on throughout 2018 and beyond.
Virtual reality has been a goal for decades, but VR technology has historically been prohibitively expensive. In recent years, the cost of VR-capable hardware and screens has dropped significantly, and more and more consumers are purchasing devices. In 2018, smartphone-powered VR applications are expected to become more popular than ever, and VR-specific devices will make further inroads. Augmented reality will grow as well, so prepare for interactive store experiences and innovative marketing efforts.
Electronic cigarettes are already displacing smoking in a major way, and a number of advances will make them even more popular throughout 2018. In the past, a satisfying vaping experience typically required using expensive and often complicated devices, but newer devices now provide a worthwhile vaping experience for beginners and experienced vapers alike. Much of this growth will be fueled by gifts from friends and family members.
It will still be a few more years before consumers are able to purchase self-driving cars, but investment and research will put more people in self-driving automobiles than ever before. Las Vegas is already testing self-driving shuttles designed to clear up road space, and other cities are planning on unveiling self-driving buses. Expect major automakers and ride-sharing companies to make big announces about their future plans for self-driving vehicles.
Smarter Digital Assistants
Artificial intelligence has made tremendous strides in recent years, and the popularity of virtual assistants has proven there's a large market for devices capable of human-like conversation. Amazon, Google, and other companies are releasing digital assistants with screens, providing an intuitive approach to finding information, scheduling, and performing other tasks. Furthermore, prices for digital assistants are dropping, so multi-room setups will be more common.
Artificial intelligence powers digital assistants, but it also provides even better automation than ever before. This automation will lower the cost of running many types of businesses, and investment will be strong throughout 2018. However, automation can also cost people their jobs, potentially upsetting certain sectors of the economy. In addition to automation finding its way into more businesses, discussing the ramifications of automation will ramp up as well.
Internet of Things Adoption
The Internet of Things has made inroads in a number of industries, but few consumers see the impact of these devices; this will change in 2018. When paired with digital assistants or other devices, the IoT has the potential to change our daily lives. Whether its digital doorbells or home automation, the IoT, especially when used in homes, will be a viewed as a defining feature of the year.
Technology continues to improve incrementally, and a number of fields appear poised for breakthroughs. Although many trends in 2018 are largely continuations of trends started in 2017 and earlier, the year is shaping up to be an exciting one for fans of technology. The ramifications of these changes, however, are even more difficult to project.