It’s hard to believe but 2018 is here and well underway and while we don’t have a crystal ball, here at PAYFORT it’s clear that this year is going to be filled with plenty of technological promise. From subscription based vehicles and the new age of bots to smarter devices and augmented reality there’s no shortage of technologies poised to change the way we live.
Here’s a look at technology and trends you’ll want to keep your eye on in 2018.
1. IoT Growth Continues
One of the biggest mistakes people make in the modern technology landscape is under underestimating just how quickly growth can occur in today’s hyper connected world. While something like automobiles took time to catch on because would-be drivers had to wait for roads and gas stations to be built, in the digital world much of the necessary infrastructure is already in place.
One technology that’s quickly taking advantage of that infrastructure is the Internet of things (IoT), which involves adding smart sensors to connected devices so that users can do things like ask Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant to turn off the lights or order a pizza.
2017 gave us a taste of what the IoT can do, but in 2018 expect companies to begin leveraging this data to improve services and find new ways to meet customer needs. When manufacturers, retailers, regulators, and transportation companies start to access real-time data from sensors imbedded on products, trucks and ships, the entire distribution chain will benefit from the insight.
2. Cars Start to Become a Subscription Based Good
When it comes to driving a vehicle things are definitely changing. Companies are starting to experiment with simple monthly subscriptions that include insurance, maintenance, and eliminates the risk of buying a rapidly depreciating asset.
One particularly well-funded start-up is Fair, which launched in September 2017, and has raised upwards of $1B from companies like BMW and Mercedes-Benz, is betting big on the new model of car ‘ownership’. With Fair, drivers have all the benefits of personal transport without the long term commitment or risks.
For car manufactures this new way to reach customers is the best way to address the reality that many young people don’t actually care about owning a car — they merely want to use it and have someone else handle the headaches. It’s too early to tell whether subscriptions will be the future of cars, but expect 2018 to be a make or break year for this innovative business model.
3. Augmented reality Goes Mainstream
In 2016, the mobile game Pokémon Go unleashed a billion-dollar demand for augmented reality entertainment, and since then major brands have started to take notice. This new interest combined with a tidal wave of affordable augmented reality glasses means in 2018 you can expect our phones to remain in our pockets more and more and for Heads Up Displays (HUD) to start impacting how we work, shop, and play.
As augmented reality begins to take hold, a new world of experiences will start to open up. Already merchants are looking at ways to create innovative experiences that draw on the technology. Imagine mannequins that match your body type and can display virtually any product you want to see or celebrity spokesmen that appear to personally pitch a product.
With AR (Augmented reality), virtual pop-up will become a real possibility that brings new opportunities for merchants to create engaging shopping experiences anywhere with accessible bandwidth. For many, 2018 will be the start of living an augmented life.
4. 2018 Brings Smarter Bots
For decades people have been getting used to interacting with bots. Whenever we call to make airline reservations, confirm our bank account balances, or track a package we almost always start the call with some type of automated system. In 2018 however, the use of natural language bots will expand far beyond the mundane world of customer service and become a part of our daily routines.
With technology like Google Home and Amazon Alexa quickly becoming a staple of modern living, people are becoming much more comfortable with the concept of a ‘digital personal assistant’. In 2018, expect to see bots move away from simply responding to requests, to a point where they actively provide useful information to its owner.
Imagine a bot that can actually offer useful advice without being asked, a bot that whispers “don’t make that purchase or you will be over your credit limit” or “your parking meter expires in two minutes”, in 2018 this type of interaction will become much more common for anyone with a smartphone in their pocket.
What trends are you watching for 2018? Is there anything we missed that you would like to see included in our blog? Let us know in the comments below and if you’re looking for more trends, be sure to check out our State of Payments report!