2018 Tech Predictions From Industry Leaders
Innovation moves at the speed of imagination in tech, leading us to look ever forward to the trends and technologies that will shape our future. As we move into a new year, it is only fitting that we contemplate the direction of the industry, and begin to project the path that it will take and the areas that will bear the most exciting results. We asked top industry experts their thoughts, predictions, and aspirations for 2018. The answers covered a wide range of topics, from machine learning and DataOps to thoughts about investor backed companies and the effects of the repeal of net neutrality. However, they all seem to share an overall optimism for the state of tech in 2018.
Mona DeFrawi - CEO & Founder, Radivision
“I predict that we'll be surprised with more growth from more venture-backed companies in 2018. Silicon Valley learned in 2017 that singular focus on growth and ‘moving fast and breaking things’ can create costly dysfunction and devaluation. As companies and investors have become enlightened to invest in healthier, more inclusive and diverse cultures, the productivity increases, higher employee retention, and more comprehensive decision-making will result in better performance and ROI.”
Michelle Ufford - Manager, Data Engineering Innovation, Netflix
"In 2018, big data will continue to mature at a blazing pace, with reliability becoming a key area of focus. DataOps will emerge as a top initiative as AI and machine learning projects shift from 'proof of concept' to 'enterprise critical.' Traditional EDW topics--such as data quality, data management, and workflow orchestration--will be reintroduced and reimagined as part of the evolving big data paradigm."
Lily Chang - Vice President, Strategic Transformation, JV, VMware
“2018 will drive the era of ‘clouds everywhere,’ impacting every generation, every walk of life, across all of society. AI, automation and platforms that accelerate game-changing human/machine interactions will drive innovative products, services and more. Smart IoT, and datafacation will become the buzzwords in 2018, as technology infrastructure evolves to support any application, on any device, across any cloud.”
Sudha Mahajan - Director of Product Management, eBay
"In 2018, connected internet will see explosive growth (From pure mobile internet) with more devices entering your home. This includes industries like FinTech, Entertainment, Communication and Gaming. While in advertising we expect the Google and Facebook duopoly to continue their dominance (and early expansions to smart devices); many other industries will be trying their luck with monetization on mobile. Mobile commerce will see a boost- with most global growth coming from Asian countries."
Michelle Bonat - CEO, Data Simply
"2018 is the year of Applied AI. The honeymoon for naively celebrating the cure-all promises of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies is over. Successful AI efforts will be the ones that can move from the lab to the boardroom - and generate tangible value for the business. Some areas for these innovations to prove themselves are financial services, where investing can be personalized with your values and beliefs; in medicine, for more proactive healthcare that predicts areas of concern based on your medical records; and in retail, to create more informed consumer buying decisions beyond simple price, quality, and like-type recommender information."
Kelly Abuelsaad - Software Engineer, Watson Cloud Platform, IBM
"In 2018, we’ll see more innovators embedding AI into existing and new applications. Specifically, we'll continue to see companies building with conversational AI - moving away from chat bots and moving towards intelligent conversational agents that can address tasks like customer service, employee communications and more to assist users and complement our human thinking. This rapid adoption of AI is fueled by the growing sophistication of the technology, its increasing user-friendliness, and it's global availability on the cloud. Tools like IBM Watson are built and delivered on the cloud, providing an easy on-ramp for developers to build AI into nearly everything digital."
Dory Weiss - VP of Engineering, nCino
“I think the most important and lasting changes to the tech landscape in 2018 are going to be the way that the technologies we've been excited about for the past few years--analytics, AI and machine learning, IoT--continue to mature. For instance, in the financial industry where I work, there's a wealth of consumer data that banks could leverage to help make safer lending decisions and better serve their customers. I think we'll see those technologies filter into our daily lives in deeper and more useful ways, and we'll see some of the flashier but less useful applications of IoT fade as it's seen as less of a "fad" and more of a foundational tech.“
“I think the biggest change in 2018 could be the impact of the repeal of Net Neutrality. If the landscape of how people purchase and consume the internet changes, that will have substantial ripples for digital and cloud companies.”
Brittani Smalls - Accounting and Compliance Manager, Women Who Code
“There is a growing trend of technology being used to help individuals overcome their physical and/or cognitive limits and improve their lifestyle, as well as many efforts to bring cost effective assistive technology into the market. The future, and my hopes and predictions for 2018, is about finding technology that assists people in communicating more clearly about what they need, and also continued research to help those not directly affected listen better to those experience and create change.”
Lauren Schulte - CEO & Founder at The FLEX Company
“Women have realized that many of the products we use today were passed down by our grandmothers, and these products aren't healthy or sustainable. In 2018, more women will launch online consumer product businesses than ever before. Not only are women fully capable of founding tech companies, investors are eager to back us. Recent findings from the Brookings Institution show that there are more women working jobs that require technical skills than men, and First Round Capital found that female CEOs outperformed their male counterparts 63% in terms of returning value to investors. “
A Prediction From Me
One trend of interest in the tech nonprofit world, is the growing popularity and market power of bitcoin. With the dramatic increase in the price of bitcoin (2000% increase since the beginning of the year), there are now individuals holding meaningful amounts of cryptoassets who are looking to give back. Donors like the Pineapple Fund are already pledging BTC contributions to charities and causes.
As we move into 2018, Women Who Code will continue to support and grow its 100,000 member community of talented technical women around the world, through our leadership, career, and technical programs, which grow and reshape to meet the needs of the industry. We produced over 1,500 free technical events this year and look to work more directly with companies in 2018 to help them better retain, promote, and hire talented women. By ensuring that the best in the industry are able to achieve their goals, we will help to close the market’s labor shortage and build more effective teams.