Trends in Tech: 2018 Mid-Year Review

It may be difficult to believe that the first half of the year has already passed. However, in business as in life, the mid-year point is a good time to take stock of where we are. In doing so, it is often possible to better understand where we might be going.

With these thoughts in mind, a few developments stand out when it comes to consumer tech as of mid-2018.

Delivery drones are already in use. The past couple of years have seen much talk of Amazon launching drone-based deliveries. However, some may not be aware that this technology is already in play in Africa. More specifically, in Tanzania, drone-delivery startup Zipline has established a network to facilitate blood transfusions in remote clinics. The success of the project suggests that widespread commercial applications of this technology may be nearly at our doorstep—literally.

VR continues pushing into the mainstream. It doesn’t get much more mainstream than a Hollywood movie directed by Steven Spielberg. The fact that Ready Player One’s plot centers around virtual reality demonstrates the inroads this tech is making in public awareness. (So, too, does the film’s box office success.) Meanwhile, augmented reality and virtual reality startups raised a record $3.6 billion to end Q1 2018. On the level of affordable consumer goods, you can already see this trend playing out in the form of products like the EVO Next Virtual Reality Headset.

Budget phones are getting better. The reporting on this year’s Mobile World Congress noted promising developments for smartphones with lower price tags. As more and more tech from high-end models trickles into their budget-friendly counterparts—including sleeker, nearly bezel-free designs and more efficient overall operation—consumers can only stand to win. Consider, for example, a model like the SIMPLE Mobile LG Rebel 2 LTE Smartphone, which retails for less than $80.

Tech companies are exerting bigger effects on the stock market. The technology sector represents nearly 25% of the S&P’s weighting. In March, a data breach shook the market’s confidence in Facebook (whose stock fell 20%). This in turn heavily contributed to a much wider downturn. In other words, tech-related bad news can and will ripple through the market in scary ways (which is not to say that good news won’t exert the opposite effect).

Self-driving cars will not be arriving as soon as we thought. The earlier part of the year saw a heavily publicized fatality at the hands of an autonomous automobile, resulting in a negative PR blast for what had previously been seen as an unstoppable force in technology. However, this is not entirely bad news, as it suggests the extent to which aftermarket accessories for existing cars will remain a viable source of potential sales for some time.

The “Tech”away

Drones, Facebook, VR and driverless cars have been prominent in the headlines. This will probably continue for the rest of the year. Keep up with these and other relevant developments following Petra Blog on petra.com!

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