Enterprise Nation

Zoe Hominick


2018 futurist forecast: Three technology trends to exploit this year

Zoe Hominick, business lead, marketing and consumer at O2, summarises a top futurist's predictions of the three technology trends to use to your business' advantage in 2018.

At the end of 2016, we worked with Dr. Graeme Codrington, author, researcher, and expert on the future of work, to help identify the disruptive technology trends set to hit UK organisations in 2017.

His words struck a chord with many of us so we invited him back, along with some of the UK's top business decision-makers, to debate one single issue: What's next?

Here's a summary of Dr. Codrington’s three technology trends for 2018:

1. Mobile today or fail tomorrow

We have witnessed the rise of mobile marketing over the past two or three years, but 2018 will be the year when mobile-first is no longer a trend but a necessity.

Research by PayPal suggests that consumer spend using mobile devices has doubled from £13.5bn to £27bn in 2017, and will account for two-thirds of UK e-commerce purchases by 2020. Yet UK small businesses are missing out because only 18% have a website that is mobile friendly.

So, if you haven't done it already, this is the year to update or replace your website and marketing systems, and embrace mobile-first technology business-wide.

"Within two years, if you are not mobile-first (which naturally implies cloud-first) you might be too far behind the curve to catch up."

Is yours a mobile-first business, or is there more that you need to do? The new year is a great time to audit your tech inventory and review your needs for the year ahead, and there are some special seasonal offers.

2. Think with an API mentality

Increasingly businesses are giving third parties access to intelligence derived from the data they own, without supplying the data itself.

For example, if you bank online then your bank has proved your identity, and authorised secure payments and transfers, using biometric fingerprint technology on your smartphone belonging to Samsung or Apple.

Whilst application programming interfaces (APIs) have been in use for many years, 2018 will see increasingly creative examples of partnerships and synergies that will improve the usability of products and services for the end user; all using intelligence that already exists.

The futurist forecast suggests that machine learning, teamed with improved data processing power and methodologies, means that there are massive insights and innovations that we haven’t even begun to explore.

The role for businesses of all sizes in 2018 is to consider the value of the marketing intelligence that it owns, and to start trying to identify where potential cross-overs, partnerships, and synergies might exist.

3. Look east

Last year, China's mobile payments hit $5.5 trillion, roughly 50 times the size of America’s $112 billion market, according to consulting firm iResearch.

In Chinese cities, it is already routine to pay for lunch, groceries and bicycle rentals using a phone. So ingrained is the mobile payment culture that even busking musicians use QR codes to receive tips directly to their virtual accounts.

"We're looking in the wrong places for innovative ideas. China is moving 100 times faster than America."

With growth on this scale, we should be looking for inspiration at the real global Chinese giants such as WeChat and Alibaba.


Do you agree with the 2018 futurist forecast? One thing you can't argue with is that the technology sector shows no sign of standing still.

AI and natural language processing are in our homes, we’re investing in driverless vehicle technology, and we've welcomed Bitcoin and blockchain into our vocabulary.

It's essential to keep asking the same question, says Graeme Codrington: "What are the innovations, already present, and in their infancy, which might explode by 2020?”

The futurist forecast concludes that to thrive in 2018 and beyond, UK businesses should be driving experimentation, and adopting the new technologies as they emerge. Does that sound like your business?

Is yours a mobile-first business, or is there more that you need to do? The new year is a great time to audit your tech inventory and review your needs for the year ahead, so here are some special seasonal offers from O2 Business.  

Business Stages:
Starting a business and Growing a business
IT & web