Some of us can remember a time without the web. Some of us feel like flip phones and DVDs were only arriving on the scene yesterday. But some of us have never lived in a world without mobile phones and the internet. Yes, technology is changing, and it is changing faster than ever before. Sometimes it seems that no sooner have you invested in one piece of tech that a newer, better and faster option has arrived on the scene. If that sounds familiar, your New Year’s resolution can be to no longer be the last to know. Keep reading to get ahead of the curve on the technology and social media trends likely to grow in the coming year.
1. Augmented reality
Earlier this year, Apple announced the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X. No big deal. Apple announces new iPhones almost every year. But these devices were different. Both incorporated ARKit, allowing the phones to provide users with augmented reality experiences. If you have ARKit, you can install augmented reality apps such as IKEA Place, which lets you virtually place furniture in your house to check how it looks and fits with your current furniture. It’s no surprise to find Apple on the cusp of the latest tech trend. But what that means for you is that you can expect a surge of augmented reality technology to find its way into your gadgets, devices, mobile gaming and social media platforms in the coming year.
Blockchain is the disruptive technology used as a digital, decentralised, public ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions. Blockchain is what makes cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin work. In the coming year, the noise surrounding blockchain technology is only going to get louder as various industries – including payments, brokerage, and real estate – evolve to use the technology. The big question? Will the Bitcoin bubble burst, as many traditional investors are predicting, or will Bitcoin continue to grow? Expect the answer, whichever one it is, to dominate headlines in 2018.
3. Chatbots – and beyond
You probably use apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to chat with friends and family. You might use apps such as Slack for workplace chatter. And you probably use more traditional methods such as emails and phone calls when you need customer service from businesses and corporations. Well, that is all going to change as we move into the New Year. Going forward, you can expect your favourite companies to utilise artificial intelligence, voice assistants and chatbots to offer a more personalised customer service experience through messaging platforms such as Messenger.
4. Self-regulation of social media
In the aftermath of the US presidential election in 2016, the term “fake news” started to float around. Then, the world learned that Russian operatives bought thousands of Facebook ads with the aim of tipping the election in favour of Donald Trump. According to testimony provided to the Senate judiciary committee recently, Facebook believes 120 fake Russian-backed pages created up to 80,000 posts that were received by 29 million Americans directly. Unsurprisingly, Facebook – and other networks such as Twitter – have been criticised for their impact on the presidential race and lenient advertising policies. Going forward, look for social media companies to introduce new codes of conduct and transparency guidelines that are in line with print and TV advertisers.
5. Digital hangouts
Social networking apps come and go all the time. Some, such as Snapchat, hit the big time. But others fade into obscurity. Even worse, it’s hard to know which apps will make it. Right now, though, Houseparty is the social networking app that is causing major waves. Houseparty is an app that promotes live video chatting. Staying true to its name, it allows up to eight people in a “room,” and each person can have several “parties” going at once. The app launched earlier this year, and it is quickly climbing the ranks; currently, there are more than 1 million daily active users. If you love getting in on the ground floor, Houseparty will be huge in 2018.
6. The Internet of Things
You may already be using smart technology. Maybe you wear a Fitbit on your wrist, or you have a Google Home smart speaker sitting on your kitchen benchtop. In the coming year, you can expect the Internet of Things – the network of everyday physical devices that use and connect data – to grow exponentially. Cars, wearable devices such as watches, speakers, televisions – all these devices will implement or improve their current smart technology. And as the Internet of Things grows, cybersecurity will be in the spotlight more than ever before. As we become more reliant on and connected to our devices, there are more risks to weigh.