As 2018 begins and CES is in full force, we’re all wondering how the upcoming year of consumer tech will wow us all. According to recent research from Juniper, here are the Top 10 Trends to keep top of mind as we head into 2018.


  1. Amazon and Facebook lead the bidding war to stream major sporting events

The ability to deliver premium content is the goal of any video service, and who better to serve it up than two of the five top tech giants? As the auction for the English Premier League (which includes Manchester United) begins in early 2018, what better time to submit a competitive bid, particularly since both companies have already begun to offer sporting content to viewers. To put the value of this deal into context, NBC has pays $950 million per NFL season (including the playoffs) and FOX pays $500 million per MLB season.


  1. Social Payments are Coming to the Masses

Key launches from companies such as Apple and Facebook offer increased competition by way of low (or no) transaction fees. Apple Pay Cash is currently rolling out in the US, and Facebook is likely to launch their eMoney business into additional markets outside of the US in 2018. The total number of mobile transactions is likely to reach 90 billion in 2018, and the number of users is predicted to exceed 1.5 billion.


  1. AI and Blockchain to Impact Areas outside of Banking

Though blockchain technology has been limited to banking and insurance, it continues to mature and future deployments in 2018 look promising. Solutions to come potentially include money transfers and smart contracts, with 76% of people indicating blockchain will be useful to them.


  1. Edge Computing Will Fast Track IoT Usage and Adoption

This technology will enable faster speeds and lower latency, ultimately offering a faster delivery of IoT services. Given the fast-track growth of IoT devices in the home, both operators and customers will benefit. From 2017 to 2018, the number of connected IoT units is expected to grow by 4.2 billion.


  1. Increase in Facial Recognition Programs

As seen from the iPhone X, FaceID is here. The technology is primed to deliver solutions from frictionless authentication to improved brand interaction, and entities within the telecommunications, government and retail environments are all entering the ring. Technology providers, customers and retailers will all benefit, primarily due to the enhanced security offered. For marketers seeking to engage with customers at a deeper level, facial recognition technology offers the potential for customization as we have never seen before.


  1. Emergence of Digital Advisors

Robo-advisors rely on technology to provide financial advice 24/7. This may be just the ticket for millennials looking to delve into savings solutions in the upcoming year, and overall increased consumer awareness of the technology is imminent. This offers a major time-saver for advisory firms looking to serve the 30 million predicted userbase in 2018.


  1. Machine Learning Able to Verify Identity

Underpinning digital identity, this technology continues to mature with the ability to verify identification, which is now a largely manual process. This will particularly serve as a financial aid to institutions who invest heavily in compliance costs, such as banks. In turn, customers can come to expect quicker service from start to end of a given transaction.


  1. Chinese Traveler Spend is On the Rise

The number of Chinese tourists numbered 135 million in 2016, spending $261 billion outside of China. In addition, approximately 450 million people use Alipay, a third-party mobile platform established in China, and which has already migrated to Europe. It may spread to additional markets in the near future, which would offer additional revenue streams for the US.


  1. Smart Toys Offer Educational Benefits

Given emerging interest and availability of smart toys that offer coding education to children, large companies such as Lego and Hasbro have already jumped at the opportunity. 2018 offers an opportunity to generate both wider appeal and need amongst consumers. Not only do manufacturers stand to benefit, but the education system, which will help to boost the level of incoming students. In 2017, the sales revenue for smart toy hardware and app content reached $4.97 billion, which is likely to continue to rise over the upcoming year.


  1. Wireless Charging Continues an Upward Trajectory

Qi, the inductive power transfer from the Wireless Power Consortium, is now supported by Apple as of its 2017 launch event. This now offers other operators the opportunity to build platforms which support the technology. Wireless charging will likely reach 700 million smartphones in 2018, to be used across public, commercial, automotive and consumer channels.


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