A new year has started and with that comes the anticipation of new tech and a reflection of all those gadgets that made our lives more comfortable and more enjoyable. Here is a quick rundown of those tech gadgets and other technological advances you couldn’t do without last year.

2018 was the year of enhanced mobile phone camera lenses and sophisticated photography capabilities. We are way beyond the selfie stick now as the cameras in mobile phones are making giant leaps forward, offering multiple lenses in combination with purposely built software. Every new smartphone now offers some form of portrait mode, post editing possibilities, including changes in aperture and HDR options. Modern phones can not only take stunning photos, but they also make it easier for the end user as well.

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2018 was also the year where advances were made on tech that makes our lives safer. From tech that helps people with diabetes monitor their glucose levels, to make the use of dash cams more commonplace. See the best dash cam 2018 for some standout options. Facial recognition has come a long way, even touted to be used to combat human trafficking.

It wasn’t the year of VR or AR yet. Instead, we saw fin-tech taking a high flight, with financial services going app based. You know you can bank outside the typical brick & mortar financial institutions. Moreover, these companies offer compelling and sophisticated ways to organize and analyze your money and new ways to invest. It was also the year of chatbots, offering consumers almost real-time interaction experiences, any time anywhere. Most companies are responding to the call from an ever younger becoming target audience and their expectations on how companies should interact with them. And you can’t really say chatbot without mentioning AI. It seems that each year, machines are becoming smarter and smarter. Point and case is image recognition capability, which is becoming increasingly better at recognizing what’s in a picture.

2018 was also the year where we all came crashed back to earth from cryptocurrency highs. The blockchain is still a promising advancement, but we have now learned that it still needs to drive true added value, and FOMO is not a good indicator of value.

Previously mentioned face recognition also comes with a darker side. China is reportedly working to supercharge its national CCTV network with facial recognition to create something that is reminiscent of Big Brother practices. Also in the news, drones and the legislative grey area surrounding them. Recently drones near a UK airport grounded all planes, causing severe delays to people traveling.

What’s in store for 2019? It seems that engineers will determine the fate of big tech companies such as Facebook as it struggles with its public responsibility following the data scandals. Despite this, AI will continue to change the way we collect and use data. Wearable tech could make another leap forward seeing as smart watches have made another leap. More than ever, we are confronted with questions about data security. If 2019 is anything like the year just gone, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

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