2017 was a massive year for the technology and IT sector. Apps became more sophisticated, the Internet of Things became even more pervasive, and artificial intelligence dominated tech discussions.

But 2018 is expected to be an even bigger year for the tech industry.

Here are some of the top tech trends to watch out for this year:

Cybersecurity

Business owners are becoming increasingly focused on securing their data- and they’re right to be wary. In 2017 we saw a number of massive data breaches and threats, and 2018 will be all about protecting business data and customer information from cybercriminals.

Businesses will be implementing AI and machine learning technology, purchasing IoT devices that can defend themselves, and hiring employees with cybersecurity skills.

Diversity

The tech industry has long paid lip service when it comes to diversity and tolerance. But 2018 will be all about making diversity a priority through every level of tech organisations.
Australian tech companies are leading the way, implementing specific initiatives to attract females and minorities. Business owners are realising that diverse workforces with employees from different backgrounds lead to more innovative thinking and better problem-solving.

Top tech trends to watch out for in 2018

Artificial Intelligence

The results are clear: Businesses deploying artificial intelligence enjoy greater cost-efficiency and increased productivity. But Australian businesses have a long way to go- especially if they want to keep up with global competitors.
In 2018, we’ll see an increased demand for AI talent, AI-powered sales and marketing, and AI reducing inherent biases in recruitment and promotions.

Sustainability

2017 saw many tech companies draw their line in the sand- continuing to support the Paris Agreement even as the United States withdrew. In 2018, we can expect to see more companies targeting millennials through their commitments to sustainability.

Consumers value sustainable brands, and they’re willing to pay more for sustainability. Sustainable companies also make more money, which means it simply makes economic sense to launch sustainability initiatives.

Privacy and Surveillance

2017 was a big year for data privacy and surveillance. In Europe, the GDPR took effect in May which will be a massive blow to companies holding data about European consumers due to the expense. Meanwhile, in the United States, the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program was extended.

There’s no doubt that businesses (particularly in the tech industry) are holding record amounts of data about their customers. In Australia, telcos and ISPS are recording data from conversations, including location information and holding it for up to two years so government agencies can access it without a warrant. In 2018, companies will need to strike the balance between keeping consumer data private and complying with new regulations.

Rural Markets

There has long been a digital divide between rural and urban areas around the world. Those living in cities have easy access to the internet, which they can use to connect with others, pay their bills, and get the resources they need. But people living in rural and remote areas are increasingly disadvantaged due to a lack of internet access.
We’re expecting rural markets to become better connected in 2018 and in the future, so the substantial social and economic ramifications can be rectified.

Globalisation

No longer are all the IT leaders based in the United States. Now, Chinese tech companies are giving the Americans a run for their money, and consumers are demanding that their data is stored locally.
Small businesses and startups can grow faster than ever before thanks to the internet. And organisations are using the cloud to store data, and thousands of dedicated tools for collaboration. In 2018, we may see more companies using technology like virtual reality, and we’re sure to see increased globalisation as tech hubs launch in places other than Silicone Valley.

These are just a few of the top tech trends we should all be watching out for in 2018. We’re expecting it to be an exciting year full of innovation.