Tech trends come and go each year, but there are certain topics that make an influence on our lives and stick around for the long haul. Anyone in tech – from a web developer, QA guru or social media manager – will recognize the importance of key trends and optimize them in their daily tasks.
Since The Austin Forum on Technology and Society recognizes the importance of keeping up-to-date with what’s hot in this ecosystem, it was no surprise that their event highlighting the top tech trends of 2018 and beyond was a sold-out affair. The event, which was held at the beautiful Austin Central Library, highlighted what we should all focus on as the year gets into full speed.
Jay Williams, Founder and CTO of Williams Technology Group, kicked off the event by highlighting how it now takes a few years for private companies to accomplish tasks that took decades for countries to once figure out since there are more funds, hardware, and software available.
Williams then presented these top trends to the audience:
- Bitcoin – When The Austin Forum hosted this event last year, Bitcoin was worth $1,000. We all know that price, and hype, has gone up substantially.
- Blockchain – Did you know there are 1,400 alternative currencies? These currencies don’t have caps and aren’t run by any government. This is big stuff.
- Artificial Intelligence – AI involves hardware (which is cool again) and software as they both help create the games and shows we love to interact with.
- Internet of Things (IoT) – While it may be hard for some of us to visualize how IoT works, we understand that it’s all about connectivity and solving problems.
- Energy – We don’t think about it, but energy is involved in everything we do. We can’t start our phones, laptops or plug in our IoT devices without energy.
- Logistics – With supply chains, we’re able to get what we want, when we want it. If you’ve ever ordered a package from Amazon, tech and logistics together should truly fascinate you.
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – If you manage a company that has European users or customers, the way you manage and protect their data will change come May 2018. Regardless of where your customers are, privacy is more important than ever.
- Security: Meltdown and Spectre – How often do you patch your machine? It will soon be important to do this more often in order to keep your computer running at optimal speeds.
Haydn Shaughnessy, an author and tech professional, then took the stage to highlight his “Four Changes in Business and Societal Opportunity” with a focus on platform scale and scope, shifts in geo-economic power, ecosystems and new ways of thinking, and empowerment and new ways of working. His rigorous presentation touched on many relevant items.
One point that really interested the BLNDED Media team was the idea of competition. When discussing platform scale in the past, many countries and companies felt as if they couldn’t compete due to the power behind some of the larger countries across the globe. Now thanks to the Internet and mobile phones, it’s easier to have a dog in the fight. The same thinking can be applied to smaller companies trying to compete with large local businesses. Thanks to the power of the Internet, all companies can compete on the same level.
Us techies have also been so focused on the software behind the apps and programs that we know and love, but we often forget about the hardware involved and how those devices change the way we function. Shaughnessy made a great, and timely, point to support this by mentioning drones. DJI, a tech company based in China, practically owns the drone industry. Just this week, we saw GoPro close their drone business for good and we should expect other drone companies to make similar moves. While software can ultimately make a product cool, having the means to produce and distribute hardware can make or break a company.
Another key item that technology is working to fix is the fact that people aren’t happy at work. We know that project tracking software like Jira doesn’t fix everything, as there are still so many people doing useless work each day. Shaughnessy said it best: Work should bring people together to discuss critical issues.
It’s safe to say that 2018 will be an awesome year for tech as we continue to expand the capabilities we’ve never had before.
Learn more about The Austin Forum and their monthly events by visiting austinforum.com.