Creative Tech trends in 2018

In light of creative tech giant Canva officially achieving ‘Unicorn’ status, we thought we’d ask some of Australia’s leading tech experts about what trends they expect to see in 2018. Collated are some predictions from this year’s esteemed Creative3 speakers.

Interactive Storytelling

I believe interactive storytelling for entertainment and brand management will gain some significant commercial success in 2018. Conversation designers and audio experience engineers will leverage the massive wave of smart home device uptakes. This will give brands the opportunity to talk to customers in their own voice.

Researchers, journalists, and industry experts agree that voice is the most natural interface for many human-computer interactions — including entertainment. The hardware is rapidly improving from home devices (Amazon Echo and Google Home) to in-ear computers (Apple AirPods and Google Pixel Buds) in both convenience and voice recognition capabilities.

  • Zach Johnson, Founder, and CEO of Xandra

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is really going to start popping up everywhere. iPhone X and the TrueDepth™ camera system are breakthrough technologies. So much so, it’s taking some time for folks to work out what to do with them.

The MeasureKit app for iOS now creates an STL (3D printer file) from a scan of your face. In less than a second. Of anyone’s face! What does this mean, and where this is going? Well, very early days yet. But it seems to be a game changer.

  • Mark Pesce, Futurist & host of The Next Billion Seconds podcast

Augmented reality (AR) is one area that holds much promise for 2018 on a number of creative and technology-driven fronts — ranging from entertainment, industry and consumer-focused products.

Niantic’s forthcoming Harry Potter AR experience will largely drive the market for consumer-focused AR games and activities. This combines the power of location and lessons learned from the deployment of Pokemon Go.

This rise of augmented reality as a creative tech mover and shaker for 2018 is in large part thanks to Google and Apple in terms of their ARCore and ARKit platform releases. These platforms enable creators such as myself to easily make content for a variety of settings and use-cases — all accessible via a smartphone.

  • Margaret Wallace, games and digital media innovator and consultant.

Social Robots

I believe social robots for families will be embraced, and embedded AI will be the creative tech trend for 2018! The real feature will be the apps that are being developed worldwide and by Exaptec — apps for robots are as important as apps for smartphones. I’ll be at CES this year in Las Vegas and am expecting a lot of new social robots to be unveiled.

The Jibo social robot was on the front cover of the Time Magazine and I think this is the start of the social/family/person robot revolution to come! Other social robots to look out for is Buddy, Kuri, and Zenbo that will be emerging in 2018.

  • Nicci Rossouw, CEO Exaptec

Virtual Assistants

A creative tech trend that I think will definitely boom in 2018 is the virtual assistant. Whilst they have technically been around for a few years now, it has only been recently that they’ve seen mass adoption and serious advances in intelligence and usability.

Many commercial virtual assistants have been more of a hindrance than a help. Whether it be their problems identifying pronunciation, their lack of collaboration with other apps or the awkwardness you feel talking to your device around other people, the assistants weren’t too popular. However, recently with the releases of devices such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home, companies working in AI have shown just how far their technology has come. They’ve also invested heavily in fantastic advertising to show just how their products can be used.

  • Scott Millar, Founder, and CEO of BOP Industries

Innovation within traditional industries

Further expansion of technology solutions for mature market segments. For example, using simulation in the medical drug industry to target physical testing scenarios that increase the success rate of drug treatments (Atomwise). Construction is also ripe for the plucking in both hardware and software solutions.

In current segments, I believe smartwatches will continue to grow and we’ll see the hybrid blends take off (Nokia, Fossil) more and more. Augmented Reality is growing and we’ll continue to see strides in that space. Content is key and that’ll continue to grow in both Virtual Reality and AR. Gaming will likely drive that growth. Medical therapy using VR has potential too.

  • Steve Johns, Senior Product Design Manager with FORM Athletica.

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