2017 was the year of disruptive innovation and 2018 will be about combining those disruptive tech innovations and putting them to work to fully experience their maximum business impact for enterprises. Taking into account the number of requests I received for a list of the enterprise tech trend predictions for 2018, I compiled six of the emerging trends that I believe will shape this year. This article will not only introduce potentially game-changing “new” technologies but also discuss what’s next with “now” technologies which have recently joined the established technology category.
Blockchain Will Continue To Evolve
Blockchain technology has been generating discussions since 2011, however, 2017 was the year when its real potential was unleashed. The reason behind this realization likely has so much to do with the drastic rise in the price of Bitcoin. What’s the next direction with this “now” technology? In 2018, blockchain will manage to spread outside of finance, including government, healthcare, manufacturing, media distribution, identity verification, title registry and supply chain.
In healthcare, for instance, IDC Health Insights predicts that 20% of organizations will have moved beyond pilot projects and will have operationalized blockchain by 2020. Speaking of vertical industries, the technology truly has huge potential to accelerate efficiency in the public sector. That being said, the initial point of bitcoin, for instance, was creating a tradeable currency which couldn’t be manipulated by governments. Therefore, it is hard to see how exactly this would play out but in 2018, we might see some governments adopting this technology as well.
In 2017, many capital ventures started hunting for companies that use blockchain technology in a creative and innovative way. In 2018, that exploration will come to fruition as we will see venture investors pouring big bucks into new cryptocurrency projects or blockchain startups. Good ideas are aplenty, however, because as Gartner agrees, many of the associated technologies will be immature for the next two to three years, blockchain investments may go through the same phase that artificial intelligence did. In the initial period of this technology taking off, we will witness some failed attempts that cause a costly waste of time.
Nevertheless, I believe, it will put us on the edge of our seats to watch how blockchain will continue to evolve from a digital currency infrastructure into a platform for digital transformation.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Hitting Mass Market
Although we have started to hear about the buzz for virtual reality more since 2015, the technology saw major improvement and penetration in the consumer market in 2017. Google has shipped more than 10 million Cardboard headsets since 2014, and it’s estimated to have sold between 2 million and 3.5 million Daydream devices in 2017 alone. Meanwhile, Samsung is on track to sell as many as 6.7 million Gear VR headsets this year, according to analysts.
As the swirl of AR/VR technology settled a bit in 2017, leaving a clear framework for the future, this year, it is expected to expand its footprints into the enterprise market. Targeted applications of VR and AR will start picking up speed but I do not think it will fully take off this year, at least not in the enterprise world. I predict it will reach that point in 2020. In fact, Deloitte LLP has a more specific prediction on the matter. “In 2018, there will be 1 billion AR apps on smartphones, and a billion users will create AR content at least once; currently 300 million users do so monthly,” Deloitte Vice-Chairman Paul Sallomi said in a statement. “By end of 2018, more than 800 million smartphones will have both an OS with dedicated AR support and sufficiently powerful hardware (CPUs, GPUs, DSPs and neural chips) to power them. Discrete app revenues for AR content and devices to be under $100 million globally in 2018.”