Enterprise Technologies Poised for 2018 Breakthroughs

Oct 31, 2017 Ed Harrison

Enterprise technology month concludes on the Inklings blog today.

Well, with October nearly done, 2018 is within reach. We’ve enjoyed the opportunity to spend this month addressing “New Adventures in Enterprise Technology PR.” However, we can’t complete the adventure without looking to the futureand with that, a look at some of the emerging B2B technologies and trends that excite me most in the coming year.

With more than 20 years of enterprise tech PR experience, I have developed an eye for seeing which topics and technology may own the media spotlight in the coming months. That said, here are a handful of innovations poised for major breakthroughs in the year ahead. [Author’s note: feel free to ping me next December if I’m wrong.]

  • Blockchain for the People. OK, that might be a stretchit’s unlikely there will be much Blockchain-related giving around the holidays… or will there? I’ve seen MANY “Blockchain Primers” this year, from Fortune to CNBC, and 2018 should be the year where, 1it becomes demystified and emerges as a broadly understood term, like “SaaS” or “the cloud”, and, 2) it powers applications useful to a broader range of audiences. (As an aside, OZY has done the best job of breaking down Blockchain in an easily digestible and interactive comic book that explains how Blockchain could affect everything from voting and paying taxes to media consumption).
  • Simulation Technology Will Drive Meaningful Innovation. Simulation will create virtual worlds which enable tremendous innovation and savings in everything from product development and shelf placement in stores, to asset management and maintenance. Large-scale manufacturing lines can be simulated before they are built, so everything from part placement to assembly-line ergonomics can be optimized in advance. The concept of “digital twins”—creating an online, virtual facsimile of everything from a turbine to a pair of jeanswill be used to perfect product creation, operations and disposal.
  • It’s The Year of AI. For Reals. I feel like we’ve been talking about “the year of AI” since 2015 or so, but this year it truly seems poised to make advances… but in highly-specific ways. So is 2018 the year where it all comes together and we have to welcome our new robot overlords? Not quite yet. A recent Gartner article says nearly 60 percent of organizations are still determining their AI strategy, but my guess is that we’ll see specific applications of the technology with strong ROI in 2018.
  • And One Consumer Trend: The Power of “The Voice” as an Interface. I’ve focused on B2B this entire month, but I am also a consumer. I believe 2018 will mark the mainstream breakthrough of voice assistants. As Amazon’s Alexa continues to learn new tricks, it goes from 2017 birthday gift about which my family mercilessly mocked me (except when it provided my youngest son on-demand access to the Benny Hill theme, “Yakkety Sax” from Boots Randolph) to a useful way to control my Sonos music throughout my house, as well as my IoT-enabled thermostat.

Did I miss your favorite enterprise technology, or do you have any thoughts on 2018 trends? Drop me a line or connect with me on Twitter.

Topics: Technology, Enterprise Tech, 2018, Trends, Blockchain, AI
Ed Harrison

Ed Harrison is a senior vice president for InkHouse and leads the east coast's enterprise technology practice. He has led B2B tech PR programs for clients large and small since 1996.

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