By Viraj Mehta

The past year has proven to be fantastic for tech enthusiasts and consumers alike. The technological world has progressed far this year, and for good measure! Cutting edge research has led to improvements in breakthrough fields such as Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things. This has led to significant roles of data and analytics, driving forward business and the whole world. 2018 has proven how important technology truly is to the world.

Firstly, data science has made leaps and bounds. Companies have started to incorporate new Chief Data Officers into their management, changing their approach to innovation and data management and allows companies to take information technology more seriously. According to Gartner, a research firm, by 2019, CDO positions will be present in 90% of large businesses. Data science has great prospects, as it becomes quintessential, especially with cybersecurity and data privacy issues. In 2018, there were numerous data leaks and privacy issues with big multinational companies such as Facebook as well as Verizon and Uber the previous year. Similarly, there have been cybersecurity issues, even with the UK after a series of political affairs with Russia. 2018 has shown some flaws in the system of data security, but the foremost regulation on privacy was GDPR, a mainstream law enforced in the European Union where companies had to become more open about their privacy policies or face a hefty fine. This was a big step forward in terms of security, as it makes all of our lives easier and safer if we know we are not living in a surveillance state or that companies are spying on us and misusing our details.

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After this was a continuation of the blockchain revolution which started last year. Blockchain is a revolutionary decentralised technology that uses ledgers to exchange data on cryptocurrencies and public transactions. This year has marked the applications of blockchain as companies are starting to use it, especially disruptive digital business as it is nearly impossible to forge any digital transactions. This new tech is spreading to government, healthcare, manufacturing, and intellectual property management, not just the financial industry that saw the hype last year.

Next, the internet of things has improved as companies roll out more and more smart devices, paving the way to a smart future. These intelligent devices used in everyday life now can interact with you and perform a variety of tasks, all thanks to a virtual assistant such as Microsoft Cortana, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple Siri. These have been spreading to all parts of life. Now you can integrate Alexa into your car too and your kettle and even your microwave! This can bring amazing new technology right to your front doorstep, creating smart homes and even smart cities!

Finally, artificial intelligence and deep learning has grown rapidly and advanced, enhanced by hardware developments. NVidia, a popular graphics card manufacturer, have released a whole stream of GPUs focused on AI and machine learning, such as their new flagship Quadro GV100, which costs a whopping £9000. This helps simplify learning for developers as they can perform tasks much quicker. On the CPU side, Intel recently launched their new 9th generation of CPUs alongside a 28 core Xeon, a workstation product which can also accelerate AI frameworks and improve workloads. This all improves efficiency and quickens the pace at which deep learning is moving.

Overall, technology has really evolved during the course of 2018, as there have been revolutions in all fields, from AI and deep learning to blockchain to data security. Numerous others include the Cloud, as well as consumer smartphone technology, most notably the two iconic flagships of 2018 – the Note 9 and iPhone XS Max. 2018 has had a lot in store for us, and as we reflect on the year in tech, we look to the future and see what 2019 has to offer.