12 technologies that will disrupt business in 2018

From artificial intelligence to augmented reality, these dozen disruptive technologies and trends will begin driving how business gets done at forward-thinking organizations this year.

In 2018, disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and computer vision are maturing, going from game-changing ideas to foundational tools for business. This year, we’ll see these and other technologies drive how business gets done and what new products will launch in the near future.

To get a sense of what’s ahead for this year, we looked at the technologies experts say are most likely to affect a wide variety of organizations as they undergo digital transformations. Pros in these fields gave us their top picks for what should be on your radar, as well as some insight into the implications of adopting these new technologies.

Smart health tech

Last month, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase announced a joint venture with a focus on using technology to offer their employees and their families “simplified, high-quality and transparent healthcare at a reasonable cost.” Health insurance stocks dropped on the news, as industry watchers theorized how new technology might broadly affect health care.

Some analysts see gains already being made in preventative care. In 2018 Tech Market research firm ABI forecasts that businesses will widely adopt remote patient monitoring, with 18 million wearables incorporated into corporate wellness programs. The firm predicts that number to jump to 44 million by 2021.

Video, videoconferencing, and VR

In a survey of nearly 300 companies to determine what makes a great employee experience, researchers at MIT found a surprise at the top of the list: video. Investments in video technology lead to innovation, as well as improved collaboration and productivity, researchers found.

“We see firms investing significantly in interactive video technologies particularly as they spread the use of agile methodology beyond their software development teams to the rest of the business,” says Kristine Dery, a research scientist at MIT’s Sloan Center for Information Systems Research. “This highly interactive agile method of project delivery — with daily stand-ups —  requires teams to either be face to face, or to have the technologies that replicate those more intimate situations as closely as possible.”

Dery predicts that video tech will continue to simulate and improve face-to-face communication with new features, like virtual reality (VR) and other immersive tech (see below), especially as organizations work to fill the skills gap with distributed teams.

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