Data is a key theme

The 2018 business trends

We look at the most likely business trends of 2018. There are many buzzwords and new technologies to consider, but the overwhelming theme is data, the gathering of data and the protection of any data you hold and process.

Companies want to understand customers, improve service, develop products and sell more products to current and prospective customers. It’s no surprise then that the business trends for 2018 focus on the technologies that allow for the collection and processing of data.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

In September 2016, the ICO reported that six in ten IoT devices did not tell customers how their personal data would be used. This included health watches, electricity monitors and internet connected thermostats.

An IHS survey estimates there are over 25m connected “things” or devices world-wide. So the IoT is already all around us, perhaps most commonly known as a heating app solution for the home, gathering data on gas and electricity usage while allowing users to control temperature and plug sockets remotely.

These applications are far-reaching. In the agricultural sector, there are solutions that offer sensor data, monitoring moisture levels in soil, weather and crop conditions. In the medical and lifestyle sector, sensors are being fitted to prescription bottles, collecting patient data on medication regimens. There are also Smart Cities, with Barcelona being the first to embrace IoT by monitoring and collecting data on traffic and connected cars.

IoT is expected to gather momentum as businesses look for innovative ways to offer connected devices that are useful to the consumer, but allow the business to gather data. This will enable businesses to use the insight provided by the data to understand customer behaviour in more detail. It will impact every industry by transforming the way businesses operate across the board.

It is predicted that the use of “things” will grow to 125bn by 2030. However, as the use of connected devices grows, so does the need to be compliant with data protection regulations. IoT device and app manufacturers need to audit current approaches to data, identify areas of non-compliance and put in place plans to address the gaps.

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