With the world’s largest tech trade show – CES – behind us, we asked TechRadar’s Gareth Beavis what the rest of 2018 might hold. From smart speakers to sleep sensors, he says integration’s key…

TechRadar's Gareth Beavis

TechRadar’s Gareth Beavis knows his stuff when it comes to tech.

When it comes to sorting game-changer from gimmick, Gareth Beavis knows his stuff. That’s why he’s Global Phones, Wearables and Tablets Editor at the largest UK-based consumer technology news and reviews site, TechRadar.

We asked Gareth to help decipher which tech will shape the year ahead. He says it’s not just the tech, but how it connects that will truly change our lives…

The year we finally ‘get’ AI

While artificial intelligence, or AI, isn’t a new concept, Gareth believes 2018 will see the technology become even more useful and relevant to our daily lives:

“CES provides a good barometer of what people are interested in,” he explains. “And right now, the main things coming through are all underpinned by AI.

Buddy the Robot makes its debut at CES 2018

“I think the idea that machines are learning and working out how to predict what you actually need to know is going to be the most interesting area of development for 2018. I know it’s something that’s been spoken about a lot over the past few years, but I think this is the year that people will finally understand what AI actually is and how it can work for them.

“For instance, things like sleep sensors (such as the Nokia Sleep) are becoming pretty big. Over the course of the next year, we expect this kind of technology to become more intuitive and start interacting with you in a way that actually tells you how to sleep better, even while you’re sleeping!”

Becoming master of our gadgets

Continuing the theme of AI, Gareth says 2018 will also be the year consumers become ‘master of their own gadgets’. This is largely thanks to integration of digital assistants in and around our homes:

“We’re seeing a lot of advances in Home Kit from Apple, Bixby is a big play from Samsung, and Alexa is going absolutely bananas this year,” Gareth says.

“As all these things start to become more unified and actually talk to one another, it’s going to make tangential gadgets a lot more useful.”

“Things like Apple Watch are now so much more integrated with Home Kit, and Home Kit is becoming much more prevalent. Bluetooth speakers that you’d buy anyway will now come with Google Assistant built in, so suddenly you’ll have this thing in your home that can actually do something quite useful.

“People will no longer be upgrading technology for the sake of it. It’ll instead enable them to draw things together in ways they didn’t realise were possible, and help them become a master of their own gadgets.”

Don’t toss your TV just yet

While AI and digital assistants will be big this year, Gareth says modular TVs and 8K make less sense for the average Joe.

“Something like The Wall from Samsung really is designed for a business audience. We’re not going to see modular TVs in the home any time soon. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense to make your TV bigger when the technology won’t improve.”

This kind of modular display is also likely to be expensive to manufacture, and Gareth says that, while consumer-focused 8K TVs are more probable, they are still a long way off.

“There’s always the trend towards a new format, and I think it’s going to be interesting to see whether we’ve reached saturation point in terms of how much resolution we can actually pack into our televisions. I think people need to understand that in the short term 8K will be more about streaming for larger screens and cinema. I wouldn’t let it change your mind about buying anything today.”

So there you have it, Gareth’s take on what might be around the corner. But why wait when you can start today and join the AI evolution? In great news for Vodafone UK customers, Google Home and Google Home Mini smart speakers, Google WiFi, and Google Chromecast TV and Chromecast Ultra are now available in-store.

Oh, and don’t forget: you can even ask Alexa for information on your Vodafone bill.

Discover more wacky gadgets… Read our round-up of the weirdest tech from CES 2018.

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