Research firm Juniper Research dusted off its crystal ball this month and released what it’s predicting to be the top 10 tech trends of 2018. While some of these predictions may be more applicable to retailers across the pond, we suspect there are a few U.S. retailers will welcome.
1. Amazon & Facebook Lead OTT Bids For Major Sporting Rights
While over-the-top (OTT) sports coverage has been limited to streaming games that are also simulcast by broadcasters, recent bids by the two companies for rights to pro soccer indicate this likely won’t be the case much longer.
“Amazon’s key card here is Amazon Prime,” according to Juniper in its report. “Not only would it gain revenues from new Amazon Prime customers … but additionally revenues derived from retail sales by those customers via the Prime channel. This significantly reduces the number of new customers it would require to cover the costs of a rights package.”
Noted the research firm: “A successful Amazon bid would be a game changer, and would almost certainly encourage it, and its VoD competitors, to mount further bids. Ultimately this would set them up to bid for the biggest prizes of all, the rights to major US sporting events, which are next up for grabs from 2020 onwards.”
2. Apple, Facebook & Google Bring Social Payments To The Masses
Consumers have become increasingly more trusting of social media and messaging payment services, and launches from the tech trio will accelerate adoption in 2018. The total number of mobile P2P transactions will approach 90 billion in 2018, predicted Juniper, valued at nearly $590 billion.
3. AI & Blockchain To Power Numerous Fintech & Insurance Solutions
The research firm expects blockchain — a digital public ledger of digital currency like bitcoin — will transcend traditional banking applications into such areas as money transferring and digital ID verification.
4. Edge Computing To Fast Track The IoT
Edge computing, a method of data processing, will work in tandem with Cloud computing to hasten IoT’s presence in all avenues of technology.
5. Facial Recognition Applications Surge
It’s not just the iPhone X: We can expect to see the technology used in marketing campaigns, enabling brands to provide recommendations to shoppers.
Added Juniper: “We also think that we will start to see more applications of facial recognition to enable invisible payments, such as those employed in Amazon Go, to reduce the level of in-store friction still further.”
6. The Rise Of Robo-Advisors & App-Based Investments
Digital-minded millennials will be more likely to participate in fintech in 2018, spurred on by artificial intelligence. “The use of the smartphone app as a medium,” said Juniper, “combined with the rise of digital-only challenger banks will attract users traditionally discouraged by financial services.”
7. Machine Learning Coming To Verify Your Identity
Using ML tech to verify customers’ identifies will advance in 2018, said Juniper, especially in the U.K. where changing regulations are hastening adoption.
8. Chinese Cards & Wallets Achieve Scale in Western Markets
High spend from the tourist trade is motivating Chinese payment services to partner with retailers, point-of-sale and transfer providers in the United States and Europe, said Juniper.
9. Smart Toys Educating the Masses
Tech toys will finally receive their due, supported by product launches from major companies like Lego and Anki.
10. Wireless Charging Market Moves Up a Gear
The Qi wireless-charging format received a major shot in the arm over the AirFuel Alliance this year, thanks in no small part to Apple’s inclusion of Qi in the iPhone 8 and X. While AirFuel is expected to power larger devices vs. Qi-powered smartphones and tablets, Juniper said this may not be the case for very long.