What tech should you be looking out for in 2018?


Connor James Ibbetson, Journalist

New Year, New Tech. We take a look at the innovations in store for 2018.

2017 was the year that saw the rise of AR, full screen mobile phones, laptops thinner than the cardboard box they came in and the explosion and implosions of virtual currency. 2018 has just as many prizes in store for those who know where to look.

July 2017 saw the US house committee approve the self-driving act, which serves to allow companies to deploy up to 25,000 autonomous vehicles a year. This bill still needs to pass the senate, but 2018 could well see the nature of the car change forever.

Audi autonomous car A7

Audi’s autonomous A7 on the road Source: Photograph: Jim Fets

…and electric cars will follow

Right at the end of 2017, Tesla announced the world’s first fully electric truck, building on the successes of their other releases in the year. In 2018, Tesla will hopefully open up their insanely popular Model 3 to the general market, as they catch up with the pre-orders from the past two years.

Home tech steps up

Home tech like Google Home and Amazon Echo really took off during the past year and became almost a normal part of family life, but 2018 will hopefully see the home tech market as a whole step up the game now their foot is in the door. Currently the home tech assistants are pretty silent unless spoken to, but now they are open to third party developers, the potential for the smart speakers is as open as the door they’ve opened.

smart speakers echo assistants

Source: The Verge

Cryptocurrency will remain cryptic

The explosion of bitcoin took the planet by storm, and I’ll admit, I still quite can’t wrap my head around how a currency not based on a gold reserve is so valuable. However, predicting the future of any cryptocurrency is virtually impossible, as 2017 showed us. That doesn’t mean the market isn’t worth keeping a careful eye on in the coming months.

AR finds its place in the world

AR bloomed in 2017. The fact AR doesn’t require additional hardware like its big brother, VR, means there is a great deal of potential for AR to really grow into an everyday tool and not just sit in the niche of, ‘something cool’. Just what that might be, who knows? Virtual shops, gaming – the opportunities are endless.

Fintech continues to change the financial world

2017 also saw the standardisation of mobile payments and contactless cards really come into their own (isn’t typing in your pin such a chore now?). But expect even more changes as retailers begin to accept cryptocurrency as regular payment and biometric authorisation for payments begin to be developed, think classic spy-movie retinal scans to pay for your milk.

challenger banks monzo

Source: Student Money Saver

AI will alter your retail experience

Elon Musk warned that it is a “fundamental risk to the existence of human civilisation”, but companies seem to have different ideas about the threat of AI. Netflix and AirBnb already use it within their apps, but 2018’s AI will be more human taking the form of chatbots, or even friendly shop assistant robots.

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