As we wind down 2017, what can we look forward to in 2018?

What are the new products, technologies or trends that might shape the year ahead? Of course, it’s impossible to be sure, but we think there are a few key events that might shape the next twelve months in the IT channel.

In no particular order…

Blockchain – no longer just the technology that runs cryptocurrencies, many organisations and startups are finding interesting ways to use blockchain to improve security and prevent fraud. Blockchain may start appearing in the software that organisations use for accounting, HR management, ERP and more.

Oculus Go – the popular virtual reality (VR) company is due to release a new product that will give people a quick-and-easy way to enjoy the sensory delights of VR. While current VR products rely on the user’s existing smartphone or high-powered PC, the Oculus Go is a standalone product, so people can simply buy one device, switch it on, and immerse themselves in new worlds. This could be the product that finally brings VR to the masses.

Robotics – we could start to see more widespread adoption of robotic assistants in workplaces. Robots could soon be helping greet guests, take orders, load trucks, improve security, make deliveries and more.

MiFID ii – the next wave of this legislation forces some firms to keep records of telephone calls. Companies that are subject to MiFID will now need to record telephone calls, and keep these records for 5 years. While many firms will have made provisions for this new requirement, there may be some firms that still need to invest in the technology and services to manage this requirement.

GDPR – the new General Data Protection Regulations come into force in May. Companies will then have more obligations regarding how they manage, store and report on the data they hold. Organisations that have not made adequate preparations may still need to upgrade their security systems – and hardware – to ensure they are doing everything possible to keep data safe.

AI – while artificial intelligence (AI) has been popping up in a wide variety of places already, 2018 could be the year that we see AI taking root in a range of business services. For example, AI could be used to improve decision making, project planning, recruitment and purchasing. In fact, there aren’t many areas of business that AI could not augment and support. Any process that involves decision making and analysis can be boosted with the assistance of a digital brain.

Are there any changes on the horizon that you’re looking forward to? Or anything that you think will shape the IT channel in 2018?