As 2017 quickly draws to a close, the time has come to look back at everything that has happened during this year and see what we can expect in 2018 when it comes to digital technology and business growth. During 2017, we noticed that there was a lot of importance put on UX (user experience), smart devices, big data exploration, and change overall.

It’s expected that 2018 will continue to bring changes in the way business and technology interact with each other. Still, businesses are having to adapt to new technologies and use new systems properly to their advantage. However, they can sometimes find it hard to keep track of the changes happening and implement new technologies.

Keeping yourself updated can help you get a better understanding and be on point when it comes to implementing new solutions.

1. Machine Learning & AI

A Harvard Business Review study has shown that around 20% of executives use AI as one of the essential areas of their business. Still, the numbers show that the investment in AI during 2016 has been estimated to up to $40 billion. This tells us a lot. It shows that AI is gaining momentum and that development is on the way. More importantly, there are more and more businesses looking towards adapting AI and machine learning in order to improve their business operations. When executives learn more about AI, it will greatly change the way any industry looks. Additionally, this is how companies will turn towards a serious implementation of AI technology that could lead their business towards growth and improvement. In order to effectively implement AI, businesses will have to go through a digital transformation. Simply put, not all organizations will be able to implement such technologies, as they require adequate processes and proper systems.

2. IoT Will Still Grow

You might not think that the Internet of Things is that important or that it is a gimmick, but wherever I looked for insights and data on which technologies are going to be important in 2018, I kept finding information about IoT. Currently, there are over 8 billion of devices connected to the web and the increase in numbers in the past 2 years has been great. Still, it’s not just about expecting to have more IoT devices in the future, as there surely will be. It is also about what users do with the devices when they connect online and have access to all the vast data circulating on the internet.

Due to these reasons, it’s expected that we will see these three trends when it comes to IoT:

  • Improved analytics around IoT data
  • 5G cell processing
  • Edge computing

All of these things are driven by IoT. It will still be an important trend in 2018 as there are many IoT devices waiting to be released and added to households. Still, many remain skeptical about IoT in business. However, the fact that all devices, systems, machines or gadgets can be connected to the web, controlled and monitored means that we are experiencing a technological revolution. With the implementation of IoT devices in business and getting valuable data through these devices, it will be possible to power machine learning and AI services to get better research, analysis and decision making in business.

3. Communications Need To Be Intelligent

I’m not saying that businesses don’t know how to communicate with their customers, but since customers more and more want to stay online within their favourite social media channels, businesses need to find them there. This is why a lot of companies have invested in implementing chatbots. As Avi Ben Ezra of SnatchBot told Forbes, “there is a huge demand by people for a tool that allows them to communicate with organisations and businesses without having to leave their channels.”

Through chatbots partners, prospects and clients alike can communicate with a business in real-time. As Facebook Messenger users have reached a number of over 1.2 billion per month, it becomes obvious how much potential there is to address audiences this way.

A lot of companies that implemented chatbots looked to reduce their operational costs when it comes to sales, customer support, service and marketing, while at the same time improving their efficiency. These kinds of systems have a lot of different variations and they can be both platforms and ecosystems.

A lot of them are implemented on websites and managed through them. However, there are also those that are directly implemented on social media networks such as Facebook to communicate with people through messenger. No matter what the case, there are many different implementations and integrations for these systems and we can expect more of them in the future.

These are the three most anticipated digital tech trends that will help businesses get ahead in 2018. If you think that there is other technology to be considered as well, feel free to pitch in and tell us what you think.