Biggest Trends of 2018
Every year there are a few stand out trends that grip the attention of consumers and industries alike. Artificial Intelligence looked to be the biggest trend of 2017, but it was then eclipsed by the phenomenon that is Cryptocurrencies like Blockchain and Ethereum.
So what will be the stars of 2018? Here are some of my predictions around what is going to dominate the headlines over the next 12 months.
Just like 2017, I see AI taking up a lot of headlines. Its easy to see why, Amazon and Google are heavily pushing their own virtual assistants and incredible developments are being made at a rapid pace, which is causing privacy and ethics groups to vocalise their cautions louder and louder. Its an industry where a few influential players are pushing forward at a tremendous rate and the rest of us cant keep up quick enough to fully understand if we are happy with the direction its heading. With Apple about to launch their long awaited ‘Homepod’ the consumer AI space is about to get more crowed and lot noisier.
Unless something significantly adverse happens this year, I predict the rate of development will continue unchecked and the tension will continue to build towards a climax possibly as early as 2019.
There was no getting away from Cryptocurrencies in 2017, it seemed like every day either a new millionaire was made, a new record was broken or a different economist was predicting its collapse.
2018 has started by seeing a dramatic fall in the value of main players like Bitcoin. With so much public interest and vast quantities of news content already published, what ever happens to the value of Cryptocurrencies in 2018 there will be extensive coverage following it.
I predict this year we see an increased push to get people to understand the Blockchain technology underpinning everything. This will lead to new currencies which are technically superior emerging into the public consciousness. I feel the reckless jumping on the band wagon in pursuit of massive profits is over. There will still be massive investment as large traditional banks and investment firms open trading desks for their clients, but I see this being more measured.
Online Video Platforms
I see 2018 as the year online video platforms like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime etc lay the groundwork for what will be a decisive battle in 2019.
Currently there are already numerous players each competing for a monthly subscription from consumers. 2018 is likely to see that number grow as Disney is set to enter the market along with the rumoured arrival of Apple’s own service.
While all this choice may be good for consumers in the long run, I see think its going to be negative in the medium term. I think this because its going to mean all your favourite shows will be split across a number of different platforms, with each one refusing to play nice with each other in order to get an advantage. If you don't think this will happen well, Google just blocked YouTube from working on Amazon’s Echo devices in retaliation for them refusing to stock their products on Amazon.
Online Privacy and Individual Rights
2017 saw a lot of political change in both the UK and US. Which has caused many current civil protections laws to be thrown into question.
In 2018 I believe we will see the continuation of the posturing and threats from our political leaders but this will be met by a growing wave of individual and community activism. I believe this year will be a more important year than 2017 as we are reaching a cross roads where we each have to make a choice about which side we are on and wether we stand for what is currently happening around us.
Self Driving Cars
Self driving cars are a huge topic at the moment because for the first time the automotive industry is facing the disruption of technology. Up until now the only change has been pushed from environmental groups about the adoption of Hybrid and Electric propulsion methods. Now however companies previously unrelated to vehicles are able to enter the race. The main reason behind this is that the barriers of entry have been greatly reduced. One person with a laptop and a few cheap cameras from Amazon can build their own rig for a car.
2018 is going to be the year where the last few remaining manufactures which haven't started work on their own systems enter the race. It remains to be seen wether there will be widely accepted open sourced version to accelerate the industry as a whole or if everyone will continue to work in their own silos.
It will also be interesting to see what progress is made on the regulation front, and what countries and cities open their roads for public testing.
Over the course of the year, I think these will be the trends and innovations which grab headlines on a consistent basis. Im also excited however to see what completely new product or service appears which makes headlines.
Once again thanks for reading and let me know what if you agree with my predictions or what you think will be the main trends.