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Though the trends for 2018 might feel a bit more like science fiction than reality, we think these four will surpass the hype to become the new normal in the same way smartphones changed communication over a decade ago.
Of course, artificial intelligence (AI) leads our list. How could it not? AI has been on everyone’s mind for a few years now, and has even made its way into a few companies, but it still hasn’t found wide-scale implementation. AI can do a lot for a business, even though it is still a developing technology, whether it’s used for customized student learning, business strategies, apps, analytics, health care, self-driving vehicles and, yes, robots. How realistic is it that organizations will take AI seriously? According to Gartner, 59 percent of companies are looking for a way to implement AI into their business strategy, while 40 percent have already adopted the technology. We’ll be watching earnestly to see how AI becomes part of a business’s variety of capabilities.
Internet of Things
Like AI, the popularity of Internet of Things (IoT) has been talked about for a while. However, as more devices are equipped with an IP address for internet connectivity, the opportunity to connect people to different devices continues to grow. Because of that, IoT is expected to be a game-changer in 2018 and beyond. The retail market for IoT-enabled devices will grow as demand for this technology continues to rise in industries like health care and education, but so will cybersecurity threats. More connected devices mean more opportunities for hackers to gain access to networks with important data. For IoT to grow successfully, new digital security measures will need to be put in place.
The classroom looks a lot different than it did a few years ago. From laptops to smartphones and tablets, mobile learning (m-learning) is changing education, like in the Forney Independent School District, where a secure, scalable Wi-Fi network is a must-have. With high-speed internet access available in most school districts, m-learning offers students the opportunity for a more personalized and interactive way to learn. Despite some challenges concerning whether or not using devices is good for students or distracting, m-learning does have its advantages. Students are more engaged with the subject matter, especially with learning modules that gamify the experience to increase productivity. M-learning has also shown an increase in social skills by promoting collaboration between students in a virtual environment.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
The discussion around augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) has grown almost as fast as the technology. But AR and VR are about more than just video games; they’re poised to become part of an increasing number of business capabilities. This year, Apple jumped onto the AR bandwagon with its iPhone 8 and iPhone X in an effort to set itself apart from other smartphones. Though excitement around this technology isn’t new, it could explain why VR, which is more expensive due to the cost of the technology, has had 52 percent venture capital deals while AR had 22 percent in 2017, according to CB Insights. Despite the lower percentage of AR deals, it is already widely in use from large retail companies like IKEA to advertising agencies using it in their global campaigns. We’re really excited to see how this trend develops. Who wouldn’t want the chance to see how furniture fits in your office before you buy it, or even swim with whales?
So, will any of these four trends become reality in 2018? While we wait to see, it’s never too early to find an internet service provider that offers a tailored network solution to help you easily implement these technologies, and those still to come.