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Two tech trends for 2018: tailoring and de-centralisation

by Mike Okeowo January 01, 2018
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​It’s been talked about a lot, but it’s undeniable that the way technology is shaping businesses and our daily lives is huge and will continue to be an ever-expanding topic. Whilst some trends come and go, others will certainly define the way things operate in the long-run. 

In 2017 things like Chatbots, autonomous interfaces and Blockchain made waves and 2018 looks to be no different in terms of technology development.

Take a look at a couple of technology trends to keep an eye on in the next year.

1)  Tailor-made

As the internet gives us ever more options to choose between in our daily lives, from films to wallpaper, the developments in technology to help us choose is beginning to catch up. Algorithms help us choose which song to listen to next, virtual assistants can help us choose recipes and smart mirrors and AR devices can help us choose outfits before we buy. 2018 will see an increase in technology helping us to visualise, imagine and make everyday decisions.

How will it develop in 2018?

The use of algorithms are already established and an everyday part of our lives; we choose a film to watch based on Netflix’s recommendations and listen to a playlist Spotify has generated based on our taste, we can expect the use of algorithms and AI to permeate more areas of our lives in 2018.

It is predicted that over 900,000 companies will be using AI by 2022 to help provide tailored services. For example, apps like Lola provide real-time access to personalised booking services for flights, hotels and car rentals. We can expect to see personal assistants making more of an impact on our shopping decisions whether it is Alexa, Google Assistant or apps like PlateJoy which offers cooking tips, menu planners and shopping lists based on collected data on your taste, health and activity levels.

Furthermore with the growing capability of AI to read images, Pinterest is already able to isolate different items in a photo, we can expect this new stream of data to provide more opportunity for tailored and targeted advertising. Apps like Instagram and Facebook will soon be able to “read” our images and provide tailored advertisements based on the clothes we wear or other items in our pictures.

With the growing amount of options available to us, technology is providing us with faster ways to navigate these options. The growing powers of AI to interpret visual data adds to the dizzying, minefield of data available about us and this will continue to allow companies to target and create tailored solutions to customers. 

2)  "De-Centralised"

By now you may be bored of hearing the words: bitcoin, cryptocurrency and blockchain. Whilst the ever polarising views on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies may suggest an uncertain future, one thing we can be certain about is that the blockchain technology which underpins it is here to stay.

What is Blockchain Technology?

To put it simply, blockchain technology allows people to trust and collaborate with each other, without a regulating central authority, by the means of a public ledger accessible to all but not controlled by any single member. In the case of cryptocurrencies, the traditional place of the bank has been replaced by the public ledger which is maintained by the computing power of “miners” whom are rewarded with bitcoins. This means that those using cryptocurrencies don’t have to use central authorities for transactions and can put their faith in a de-centralised ledger accessible to anyone as opposed to a regulating intermediary controlled by a few.

How will it develop in 2018?

We can expect the blockchain technology to be leveraged by a range of different industries and we can expect to continue to see companies disrupted by newer companies leveraging blockchain technology.

For example, despite the hopes of many Bitcoin advocates, it is likely that 2018 will see banks and other financial institutions leverage the blockchain technology rather than be disrupted by it. The blockchain ledger system could help financial services firms simplify their internal ledger systems, remove the need of reconciling records of each transaction with counterparty and thus provide a quicker, less error prone service. A new report from Santander InnoVentures claims that blockchain technologies could help banks save up to 20 billion per year by 2022.

Blockchain technology can also be used as cheaper, more secure way of maintaining public databases, whether this is for land registries or documenting ownership of luxury goods. Blockchain technology has the potential to disrupt and transform any institution which requires a “trusted intermediary”. Centralised bureaucracies such as banks, governments, clearing houses and ledger systems internal to businesses could all be due to change in 2018. 

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