Tech trends for 2018

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Goodbye to car ownership and hello to more chips for AI also expected in the coming year, New York-based data company CB Insights says in report

The disappearance of car ownership as we heard about it, a focus on the elderly and pets, AI are among the top trends the tech communities will see in the coming year, CB Insights published it in the report.

Subscription cars: Charging a monthly fee for unlimited access to a car is taking hold. A startup doing this is Los Angeles-based Fair, set up by veterans of the car industry, which launched in September 2017 and has raised more than $1 billion from investors including BMW’s venture arm and Sherpa Capital. Large auto manufacturers are also riding the subscription wave.

“These programs are bets that a business model can be built around the fact that many consumers don’t care about actually owning a car — they merely want to use it and have someone else handle the headaches. In 2018, Volvo will deliver its first subscription cars and Fair has officially partnered with 100 dealers. It will be a make or break year for this business model,” the CB Insights report said.

The global race for AI chip dominance: As the use of artificial intelligence explodes, from facial recognition to detection of diseases in medical images, the race is on to create the chips on which the processors will run.

Cybersecurity concerns will continue to dominate: “We‘re starting to see an interesting mindset crop up: cyber-safety begins with the individual,” the report said. “A particularly vulnerable gate are the mobile devices of individuals. Companies are cropping up that focus on securing these devices from risky apps and bad behaviour.

Fitness without gyms: Connected hardware such as internet-connected bikes, fitness trackers and cameras to live stream workouts to friends or fitness instructors are enabling users to get their workout without having to go to the gym.

Smart pills for better diagnostics and treatment: Pills will be fitted with sensors to give off signals when they are ingested in order to keep tabs on patient use or provide data on the patient.

“Smart pills are attractive for a few reasons: they’re less invasive than traditional procedures, easily scalable, and don’t require the constant presence of different healthcare providers. Regulators have been slow to approve these pills, but we expect to see more uptake in coming years,” the report said.

Pet care: Samsung released its Dream Doghouse back in 2015, equipped with an automated dog feeder, a Samsung tablet, a treadmill lined with fake grass, and a hydrotherapy pool. Pets and their owners “have a lot of technology to look forward to,” the report said, including smart kennels, wearables for health tracking, and genome analysis.

Physical retail on the move: “Much of it has moved online. In the next iteration, physical retail is becoming decentralized, moving away from conventional stores or malls and into new niches. Look for new retail concepts in co-working spaces, in your Uber, in unmanned pop-up stores and vending machines.”

3D printing: From shoes to metals, the dream of 3D printing “is getting closer to reality,” the report said.

Eldercare: “As people age, they may lose partners, see loved ones move far away, or become isolated due to limited mobility. Increased loneliness can then lead to depression and other negative mental and physical health conditions. Technology is aiming to improve elders’ quality of life through a number of new products and services,” the report said.

Real estate and property development: Tech giants are expanding into real estate as well. Tech giants like Google and Apple are setting up homes for employees: in July 2017, Google spent some $30 million buying 300 pre-fabricated homes for its employees with plans to use these in Mountain View.

That same month, Facebook unveiled plans to expand its corporate campus at Menlo Park, California, and will set up 1,500 units of housing. The “mixed-use village” will have transportation and amenities like a grocery store and a drugstore. And while the majority of housing would be for Facebook employees, there will be a portion open to the community, the CB Insights report said, with some of these offerings priced below market rate.