Welcome to 2018!
There’s nothing like the start of a new year to get you feeling motivated! While 2017 was a busy and brilliant year for us, 2018 is already set to be even better.
As an organisation passionate about the future of tech, we couldn’t resist predicting what’s in store for the sector in 2018.
However, we didn’t want to do it alone. We asked some of our community members what they're most excited about in 2018. As well as some predictions on the hottest tech topics and gadgets, our network is also excited about London’s jam-packed calendar of tech events, and the growing partnership between the UK and China.
Here’s what our founder and CEO, John Zai, said about 2018:
“At Cocoon Networks we are very excited about the developments and changes 2018 has in store for the technology sector. We of course hope to see China-UK connections continue to evolve! The UK has an incredible wealth of talent and China has the investment landscape and domestic market that can enable young companies to scale up at a greater pace. We are determined to make these connections happen.”
Now in its third year, Cocoon Network’s UK-China Hi! Technology Festival will be returning 12-15 June. Like last year, the event will be an official part of London Tech Week. However, with four full days of events, the 2018 festival will be better than ever.
Yating Yuan, our head of events and community said:
“The theme of this year’s festival is ‘Be part of the future: gathering the power of innovation’. With the aim to connect tech entrepreneurs, investors, industry leaders and professionals from China and the UK, there will be several event formats focused on tech’s latest hot topics. Be prepared to be excited!”
The team is still finalising details for this year’s festival, but check out this blog post on last year’s festival for a taste of what to expect!
Of course, the UK-China Hi! Technology Festival is not the only reason we’re excited for London Tech Week. Though much of the schedule is yet to be announced, the city-wide celebration of tech is always a great week. In particular, we’ll be sure to check out KNect365’s AI Summit, and the high-tech powerboat racing world championship at the Royal Victoria Docks. Keep your eyes peeled for lineup events as they’re announced, and remember to book your tickets - many free events ‘sell out’ very quickly!
Don’t forget to check out the busy schedule of events we’re hosting at Cocoon Networks, too!
Following on from the exciting iPhone X launch last September, experts predict that Apple will continue the trend with more innovative product launches in 2018. According to KGI Securities analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will launch an updated iPhone X, as well as bringing features of the iPhone X to the new iPhone 8 or 8.S. We have a while to wait though, as Apple typically only launches new iPhones in September.
Always keen to keep up with Apple, Samsung will launch new products in 2018. The Samsung Galaxy S9 is due to be revealed at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, next month.
One Cocoon Networks member who’s particularly excited about tech kit released in 2018 is Thomas Gere of the Realities Centre. His team are looking forward to seeing what Magic Leap can do in the Augmented/Mixed Reality spaces, as well as the VR HTC Vive Pro which was revealed at CES in January. According to Thomas, the HTC Vive is:
“Higher resolution, lighter, with integrated headphones and dual camera; this is the leader in China and in corporates, and our strategic partner, so this is a big news for B2B users and gamers. They are also launching a standalone version called the Focus, which doesn’t need a computer: this has very big potential for B2C uses.”
Technology is such a fast-moving sector, it can be difficult to predict how things will play out in the upcoming year. However, we do have some ideas.
When we asked our network of members to predict the hottest tech topics in 2018, one area that popped up multiple times was artificial intelligence.
Rashid Mansoor, Founder and CIO of algorithm platform Hadean, shared some great insight on how he predicts AI will develop in 2018. Here’s what he had to say:
“Artificial Intelligence will move on to its next big challenge - that of producing human-like "artificial intuition”….In order to succeed in AI, and in particular in real-time environments, it will increasingly become important to simulate real-time worlds that are as big and complex as the real-world.
“For example, the Agent Smith AI in The Matrix is intelligent because it is designed for and learned from a complex, enormous world. The number of things a programmer would have to teach an AI manually is too many. It is easier to create complex worlds and let the agents compete with one another and learn from their interactions in that world. Cracking the problem of complex universe simulations to build and train better AI is an important problem to building real-world AI, and it’s one Hadean has been focused on cracking.”
Sarah Haywood of Medcity also has an opinion on how AI will develop in the health-tech space in 2018:
“I continue to be enthused by the opportunities for AI/Machine learning and big data to change the way we understand health and think about how healthcare can be delivered. We are very excited about genomics - we are going to be shining a spot light on the way in which genomic medicine is developing across the Golden Triangle of Cambridge-London-Oxford over the first part of 2018. Genomics England is forging ahead with its 100' genome project and there will be a really interesting genomics project launching in East London this year.”
Andy Wiggans of BrightTALK had the following prediction for tech in 2018:
“We believe that future business professionals will use learning machines to work more effectively as they navigate their careers, taking greater ownership of their network, profile and skills to deliver career success in a dynamic labour market.”
UK-China business predictions
There’s one prediction for 2018 that’s a no-brainer: the UK will start to really feel the impact of its vote to leave the European Union.
Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates, had the following to say about Brexit:
“Britain’s tech sector is establishing itself as a leading global tech hub and continues to reach new heights year-on-year, however, 2018 will continue to pose significant challenges as Brexit still breeds unwanted uncertainty. Access to talent and capital remain a big concern for UK tech firms – whilst recent negotiations have shown some promising signs, the British government must ensure that we communicate a message of a Britain that is open for business, and one that welcomes overseas talent and investment. “
According to research from YouGov, the majority of people polled (47%) now believe it was wrong for the UK to vote to leave the EU. However, every change brings opportunities as well as struggles. Many experts predict that Brexit will free up trade opportunities between the UK and the rest of the world - particularly China. Speaking at a CNBC event last year, Li Ruogu, former chairman of the Export-Import Bank of China, said Brexit will “pave a new path for free trade between China and the UK… China and U.K. trade may get freer, especially in financial services”.
Another event we predict will have a big impact on UK-China relations is Theresa May’s predicted visit to China in February 2018. The Prime Minister is expected to visit Beijing with a delegation of UK business leaders to promote UK international trade after Brexit.
Government officials say details of the China trip are provisional, and subject to change. Regardless of whether this specific trip goes ahead, we predict plenty of exciting opportunities for UK-China collaborations in 2018.
Let’s finish with this great quote from Russ Shaw, Founder of Tech London Advocates:
“As London continues to carve out a unique place within the global tech ecosystem, I’m looking forward to the greater collaboration amongst tech hubs from around the world, especially tech hubs across China such as Shanghai, and the growth and innovation that will come as a result. In addition, I’m excited to see the progress that will be made in the effort to tackle issues of diversity and inclusion within the sector. Whilst there are some excellent existing initiatives in the UK and tech companies are steadily making progress, 2018 can be the year where globally the industry takes further steps towards realising the business potential of a fully inclusive workforce.”
We can’t wait to see just what 2018 has in store! Do you have a tech prediction for the New Year? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn!