It’s the end of the year and the thought of a festive break filled with food & drink, endless amounts of lie ins and great TV is becoming more and more tempting by the day.However, it’s important to look ahead and be aware of trends and changes to your industry that could have a huge impact on your business or career.

Technology has become a massive part of our professional and personal lives and each time a brand introduces a new feature that makes a transaction smoother or improves the way we communicate, it doesn’t take long for something bigger and better to come along.

With a new year ahead of us, we take a look at some of the trends that you’re likely to see in 2018.

Voice Activate Search

Do you remember a time when someone would tell you to talk to a machine and you would look at them like they were speaking to you in a foreign language? Fast forward to now and spoken interfaces are becoming a part of our daily lives.

Tractia estimate that there will be 1.8 billion people using voice digital assistants by 2021. Google Assistant, Siri and Alexa have already represented this trend, along with wireless headphones like AirPods which continue to improve connectivity.

The nature of an AI assistant will make brands think about how they target their customers and how they communicate with them in an effective way. Soon it will become a part of our usual routine, especially once you realise that it’s impossible to function without it.

Smarter Apps

Apps are already taking the technology world by storm and app development companies have seen a huge surge in business. In 2018, it’s predicted that every application will include AI of some kind. This kind of intelligence will create a new form of connection between people and systems; transforming the workplace structure and giving us the chance to connect like we’ve never connected before.

Features like voice recognition are already stored on our phones but in 2018, we could start to see a real advancement that could push digital boundaries.

Smart devices could be made smarter by adding an AI chip, like what Apple has done with the A11 Bionic on iPhone X. Samsung is set to follow suit in 2018 after having already started working on several types of chips that will have the ability to process vast amounts of data and ridding the need to communicate with cloud servers.

Advanced IoT Security

The Internet of Things is a concept that connects any device with an off switch to the internet. It’s a concept that has been discussed for decades with the first internet-connected toaster being unveiled at a conference in 1989.

It’s predicted that by 2025, an astonishing 75 billion devices will feature the IoT, but as more consumers are purchasing smart devices that keep them hooked onto the web, we may see changes even sooner.

Industries such as retail and healthcare will likely benefit from the impact of sensors and data driven by IoT as it enables them to market their products to customers more effectively. Hospitals can use networked gadgets to alert patients about prescriptions, health development and exercise, as well as providing a simple solution to paying for healthcare services.

Augmented Reality

The Pokémon Go hype already seems like it was years ago and now augmented reality has other things on its mind. In 2018 we could expect to see a stream of apps that feature AR, especially following Apple’s latest built-in support for augmenting whatever the phone’s camera captures.

This makes it much easier for thousands of iOS app developers to get within reach of it due to much of the complexity being removed for programmers.