5G to AR: What tech to watch in 2018

5G to AR: What tech to watch in 2018

2017 brought us blistering fast networks, inescapable digital assistants, which are, well everywhere, and coming into 2018 the rise of augmented reality (AR).

The promise of 5G and the popularity of ubiquitous digital assistants are already very familiar – but they really are only just getting started – so well worth keeping your eyes on as we move into 2018. Sure enough, these featured technologies won’t be the only innovations that will land on our doorstep in the coming months and you can bet there are some technologies under the radar awaiting to surface.

In this ever-evolving tech world, we can expect this. The freshest of developments will surely exploit advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), promising to allow tech we engage with on a daily basis to become that much more useful.


Covered a lot by NCN in 2017, 5G. Defined by Lindsay Notwell in our November issue as having the potential to be, “as transformative as electricity itself”, the hype will only get bigger as we can expect to begin to get a taste of 5G potential. A major early 5G test will be launched in February at the Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games, South Korea. Trials are also set to take place in the U.S. too, with Verizon announcing plans to offer 5G service in three to five U.S. markets in 2018, Sacramento being one of them.

But what should we expect when it does arrive? The broad consensus is that 5G will go beyond just the blazing fast phone in your pocket. It has the potential to influence everything from self-driving cars and the Internet of Things (IoT) to virtual reality and remote medicine.

The ubiquitous digital assistant

Most of us are already well acquainted with Amazon’s Alexa or the Google Assistant, Google Home speakers and maybe even third-party speakers making your home that much smarter. So, what can be expected from these chatty AI digital assistants moving into the new year? Well among other digital assistants – Microsoft Cortana, Apple’s Siri and Samsung’s Bixby – we should expect to hear their voices elsewhere, TV’s, fridges, smart watches, headphones, cars and even the workplace.

But how will they evolve so that they are not just reciting weather forecasts and playing music? Efforts to make them sound more human are underway, with developments for assistants to get to know us better – moods and accomplishments.

Gartner projects that the voice-enabled wireless speaker market will reach $2.1 billion by 2020, up from $360 million in 2015.

Augmented reality

Interest in virtual reality may have waned to some extent but augmented reality could pick up steam in 2018. Apple and Google have thrown their respective weighs around their ARKit and ARCore developer platforms. Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft are also banking on AR.

Augmented reality is set to pick up steam in 2018.
Augmented reality is set to pick up steam in 2018.


Rise of robotic companions

Even before The Jetsons, robots of all types have long fascinated people of all ages. And now we could be finally be at the dawn of welcoming them into our homes as companions.

Indeed, most robots used in homes today are either toys, or task-oriented—think Roomba and other robotic vacuum cleaners.

A breed of social robots along the lines Kuri from Mayfield Robotics, Buddy from Blue Frog Robotics and Jibo from a company of the same name might change the game – snapping family shots, reminding of an event or otherwise.

Nonetheless, it isn’t a stretch to think some digital assistants might lend their brainpower and personalities to a robotic creature.

Pushing computing to the edge 

You don’t have to follow tech closely to recognise the profound impact that cloud computing has had on society during this past decade. Under cloud computing, computers have largely been centralised in the Internet or what is referred to as the cloud. But the proliferation of IoT, connected sensors, autonomous cars Etc. has really been a driving a hot topic among technologists and featured more often than not in NCN over the past few months.

Biometric security

More recently Apple made a bold move, when ditching the Touch ID fingerprint scanner on the iPhone X in favour of facial recognition through Face ID. It’s unclear if Touch ID also falls by the wayside on all future iPhone models, but I wouldn’t be shocked were that to be the case.


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