2018 Trends – data is key

Trends Data

Every January we like to sit down and discuss what we believe to be the big business trends for the coming year. This year, data and its evolution sat at the heart of our discussions, hardly surprising with GDPR coming into effect in May. At a macro level, we noted three areas which will continue to grow and develop in the marketing and business spheres. 

The Internet of Things (IoT)

A trend and umbrella term as big as ‘The Internet of Things’ was always going to move from 2017 to 2018. In fact, with the IHS predicting that the number of connected IoT devices worldwide will jump 12% on average annually, from nearly 27 billion in 2017 to 125 billion in 2030, it is likely the IoT will be a trending for the foreseeable future.

Within the IoT space over the next 12 months security and privacy will remain a key concern and as the space evolves, the threats against hardware, networks and systems will evolve also. In 2016, the ICO reported that six in ten IoT devices did not tell customers how their personal data would be used: with a focus on GDPR a stat that will impact the growth and development of IoT.


The latter half of 2017 saw a huge push for automated Artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine learning (ML) tools, with it going to be a continuing trend in 2018. It’s easier and faster than ever to create custom AI systems that are truly data driven. This means that anyone can become a AI and ML expert, with the pre-requisite of knowing how to code. It’s no longer only for the big corporations, it’s a wonder why every company isn’t incorporating it into their business model. Technology needs to be at the core of company culture, not an afterthought; businesses must embrace AI and automation, or risk being left behind. Companies such as Deloitte will be doubling ML usage by end of 2018. A prediction from Gartner suggest by 2019 start-ups will overtake Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft in driving the AI economy with disruptive business solutions.

Artificial Intelligence 

2017 witnessed the rapid growth of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and this is unlikely to change in 2018 with continuous predictions AI will change the world. With an increased focus on the data-driven, reliable, manageable and quantifiable results, the world changing ideas are likely to be grounded into actionable reality.

2018 should see a quieter and bigger movement on AI, as Tools and frameworks are integrated into the business and personal sphere. Computers are becoming more adept and managing and processing large amounts of data and lesser human interaction will be required to manage the mundane and repetitive tasks, this will continue to grow on scale. Technologies which use large amounts of data in an instant are now part of our everyday lives, especially those with the new Apple X, as it uses a recognition system which uses a combination of light projectors and sensors to take multiple images of facial features. Apple says these technologies work together to build a ‘detailed depth map to your face to recognise you in an instant’ – a technology which is set to grow.

We think a lot of money will be poured into AI projects over the next year and unfortunately, a lot of these projects will fail as pioneers will move into new and largely untested areas of technology. It will be the projects that take the calm, clear strategy approach that will be most likely to succeed.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

After several years of debate, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is almost upon us as the deadline of 25th May comes into view. Designed to give consumers more control and transparency about how their data is processed and shared, GDPR will supersede the Data Protection Act from 1998 and will bring additional responsibilities to both controllers and processors of personal data. There are still a number of areas to be clarified regarding interpretations around issues such as on Consent, Data Profiling and Legitimate Interest but thankfully, there are several helpful and reliable sources providing regular updates, webinars and conferences to help businesses ensure they are working towards being compliant with the new laws. Some of these are detailed below:





One of the key messages is that 25th May is not the end game; it’s the start. Working towards being compliant with GDPR is an ongoing process which will involve making continual improvements to your business, how you treat personal data and how you relay what you are doing to those affected. The issue of potential fines has been regularly bandied around (€20m or 4% of global turnover) and while important to be aware of this, companies should treat this as an opportunity to improve their business rather than a threat. One thing is for sure; this will continue to be a hot topic well beyond May as the real implications of the new regulation are illustrated in practice.

So there you have it, our themes for 2018! If you have any questions, drop us a line as we love discussing all things data drive in more depth.

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