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Many new technologies unfolding now, and in development, will affect our economy, our politics and policies, industry, medicine, and of course, our culture. At the forefront of the pack remains AI (artificial intelligence), which will become more mainstream as mid-size and even smaller companies deploy what was pioneered by the big guys. AI’s ability to rapidly bring a confluence of data points together will aid businesses in targeting consumers who might not yet be aware of a burgeoning need on the horizon. It creates new opportunities for personalization based on predictive patterns and provides more interactive and responsive customer experiences.

Augmented Reality (AR) continues the push into the mainstream as industries across the board identify applications for its use. From the military, to medicine, to mobile apps for navigation, there are limitless opportunities for this technology to enhance outcomes and engage consumers. While AR was primarily delivered using headsets, apps are now being created for hand-held devices that would, for instance, let someone see how virtual furniture might look in their home before they even purchase.

5G wireless technology continues in development as industries from healthcare to manufacturing identify ways to leverage the benefits of these faster networks. It has the potential to significantly affect the Internet of Things (IoT) by allowing devices to receive and send large amounts of data with great speed. With the IoT kicking into high gear, it’s being joined by the Internet of Eyes, a technology used for smart image recognition, and the Internet of Ears – smart voice-enabled products – that are popping up in products such as lamps, TVs and toasters.

Large tech companies, especially the “big four”, will face ongoing domestic and international legal pressures over privacy and data controls, along with the threat of increased government regulations. The EU’s new GDPR regulation that takes effect in May of 2018 – which offers EU citizens new rights and controls over personal information – has been posing new obligations on businesses around the world that process data in the EU, as well as EU citizens anywhere in the world. Regaining consumer trust will take a front seat with tech companies, as many have introduced “trust indicators” on social/news sites that help consumers distinguish opinions and advertising from news.

As technology becomes woven into every aspect of our lives, the ability to keep information safe will be of vital importance. Cyber security is a broad and looming challenge for large tech companies and the world alike, and to further add to the challenge, many studies cite shortages in qualified people with the right skill set and certifications to meet the demand.

Impactful user conferences, product launches and sales incentives are critical strategies to engage consumers, employees, and industry at-large with transformative new technologies and innovation.

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