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Six Top Technology Trends for 2018

The rapid pace of technological growth means that you can look forward to new developments and trends with every passing year. Here is a look at six for 2018.

AI-powered chatbots

So far, robot customer service assistants, designed to be more human-like, have been in their experimental stages. 2018 could be the year they enter the mainstream in areas of customer service and support. The biggest advantage of chatbots is that their performance is not affected by mental or physical exhaustion, ensuring a consistently optimal performance. However, they lack the intuition that only humans possess, so developers will be looking to create more personable, human-centric robot assistants who can not only ensure engaging conversations but also predict what customers want.

UI changes

Most interfaces today are primarily visual but voice search and smart speakers have helped sound/auditory feedback gather steam and enable more intuitive and natural human-machine interactions. In 2018, we can expect more auditory feedback signals and new visuals to drive better interactions with applications and devices.
Another trend that UI experts predict is a commitment to designing with accessibility in mind, with the goal of making it easier for people to understand the contents of a page. Topics of inclusive design and ethical design choices will permeate the ecosystem, particularly in the light of the political and socio—economical conversations becoming an unignorable aspect of our lives, which are already driven by the internet, television, YouTube and social networks.

5G

If you thought 4G was the ‘in thing’, it is only a matter of time before 5G will be on everyone’s lips. Industry analysts expect the likes of Verizon, Baidu and Qualcomm to talk about 5G at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018, suggesting how always-on wireless connections will drive smart cities, driverless cars and healthcare. Key discussions will revolve around the cost, privacy and security challenges of this next-generation of mobile networks that will push wireless boundaries further.

More stringent data protection

As digitization becomes the new normal, personal data protection will attract greater scrutiny from lawmakers. Governments are acknowledging that security laws need to be stricter, allowing users to opt-in to providing their information and know why their information is being requested and how it will be used. An example is Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that aims to unify and strengthen data protection for all EU residents.

An explosion of ‘true wireless’ headphones

After Apple’s AirPods made waves, headphone manufacturers jumped on the true wireless bandwagon. This may be the year when these hearables turn into proper commodities, being available to consumers in an astonishing variety of styles, costs, quality and purpose. Some already have sensors that monitor heart rate while a few are being marketed as ‘sporty’, offering top-notch music experiences, one touch-access to Siri and Google Now, integration with Alexa and run times of nearly 15 hours per charge.

Greater acceptance of blockchain

Blockchain has been around for ten years but the technology became truly exciting after bitcoin captured the imagination of the public and investors. Blockchain’s excellent encrypted authentication mechanism makes it extremely challenging for hackers to break in, a reason why more companies will consider boosting enterprise security using blockchain.

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