The New Year is here and is already shaping up to be a transformative year in the tech world. Here are five things to be on the lookout for in the next 12 months.
1. The Demise of ICOs
Cryptocurrency became one of the biggest buzzwords of 2017. As interest in the blockchain-fueled tech exploded, investors found their opportunities in ICOs, or initial coin offerings. Similar to initial public offerings in that they generate capital for a company to grow and expand, these ICOs were far more specialized and a lot less regulated than IPOs.
As the SEC ramps up their scrutiny, launching an ICO will be much harder with regulatory enforcement and decreased interest from investors leading to other more traditional forms of investment in blockchain technologies.
2. Serious AR Dev and Hardware
It’s been a while since Pokemon Go made its splash in the world as the first major augmented reality game to hit the mobile market. It’s not that AR has fallen off the radar since, it’s just that it spent most of 2017 going through pretty serious development in both software and hardware.
The highly secretive but much anticipated Magic Leap has announced plans to release the first public iteration of their AR smart glasses to developers. This signals the imminent release of their platform to the general public after nearly two billion dollars of R&D.
3. Specialized Tech Hiring
The Internet no longer lives in Internet Explorer, and users are increasingly diverse in their choice of mobile device, platform and browser. As new technologies like blockchain and augmented reality develop, it’s impossible to be a general purpose web programmer anymore. It’s just as important for companies to staff as specifically a possible as it is for developers to keep current on the languages that are most in demand. Where being fluent in Python was once enough to guarantee a job, there was a nearly 20 percent decline in search volume for Python skills in 2017 while React saw an increase of almost 230 percent.
It’s not just coding languages that will drive demand for specialized tech hiring. As development jobs grow to include more than websites and apps, finding talent that is well versed in complicated tech like blockchain or augmented reality will require specialized hiring searches. Whether that comes from a staffing agency that specializes in tech hiring or role-specific job websites, the companies that are able to secure the top-talent in these competitive fields will be at a strong advantage.
4. Blockchain Moves Beyond Bitcoin
Most people heard of bitcoin before they heard of blockchain, the dispersed ledger technology that allows cryptocurrencies like bitcoin to exist. When bitcoin exploded in value in 2017, the media attention attracted a ton of investors hoping to cash in on the quick money.
It’s just that currencies are not the only application of blockchain. Startups to established companies are betting that decentralized systems will be able to disrupt nearly every industry from banking to microgrids to food safety. With the amount of venture capital flowing into these businesses, expect to see the early maturation of these potential disruptors by mid-2018.
5. Digital Centralization
It’s not hard to find a way to automate a house or stream a movie to your TV. It does get a bit harder to figure out which app to use for what function. Now that all the major tech companies have their own version of an intelligent personal assistant, finding a way to coordinate all these devices across different brands is going to be the challenge to solve.
With so many small startup players in the field, these devices are communicating with a host of different programming languages. Look for an app that will be able to bring all these platforms together in a seamless UX by late 2018.
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