As we close in on the final few days of the year and look ahead to the clean slate that 2019 represents, I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on 2018 – specifically, what tech innovations and predictions held true, which fell a bit flat and which were entirely unexpected.

If we examine Gartner’s Top Predictions for 2018 and beyond, IoT and cryptocurrencies rise to the top.

IoT in Everything. By 2020, IoT technology will be in 95% of electronics for new product designs. With the continuous technology evolution surrounding IoT, it has become increasingly possible to add IoT features to a product at minimal cost. While many smart devices provide tremendous value to our everyday lives (think: smart home security systems, thermostats and more), we also have devices primarily for convenience such as, smart regenerators, toasters and water bottles.

But with technology progress, comes technology vulnerabilities – more “smart” things are opening us up to more security vulnerabilities. Should we slow down? If you’re answering that question through the lens of a cybersecurity expert, the answer most definitely will be yes. It is still early days but IoT connected everything will radically change our world and the way we live.

Assume IoT Security Vulnerabilities. Through 2022, half of all security budgets for IoT will go to fault remediation, recalls and safety failures rather than protection. In the rush to make everything “smart”, suppliers haven’t taken a chance to step back and address the inherent security challenges that come with connecting something to the internet. With so many interconnected devices, it can be hard to determine the security risks and exposure for IoT. I’m sure no one could have anticipated that a pacemaker would become an alluring target for hackers.

Legitimized cryptocurrencies. By 2020, the banking industry will derive $1B of business value from the use of blockchain-based cryptocurrencies. While a recent survey indicates that 18% of U.S. respondents own bitcoin or some other type of cryptocurrency, Coinbase’s own CEO has said that it will take some time before we’re buying Starbucks with crypto. The fact of the matter is, with so many cryptocurrencies and the legalities still being worked out, we will all still be using credit cards in the near-term. Of course, no doubt in my mind that that cryptocurrencies will continue to mature and reach critical growth by 2020.

A look back on 2018: What was hype and what was, perhaps, underrated

Looking back at 2018, something that no one could have predicted? Cambridge Analytica and the fallout. By definition, this wasn’t a data breach per se, rather a gross misuse of data access by a third-party. In the end, Facebook failed to comply with the most fundamental data protection principle, Facebook was not upfront about what they were doing with people’s data.

Progress that we’re pleased to see is the momentum surrounding data privacy and specifically GDPR. While GDPR itself was far from a surprise, thanks to the generous compliance deadline and messaging on what compliance means, we anticipate additional laws following suit. California was first to jump on the bandwagon with its Consumer Privacy Act. Perhaps we can expect more new laws to crop up in the wake of GDPR, maybe even a national standard in the United States.

It’s important to note that there is always unpredictably. Even as we prepare to release our own set of predictions, the pace of innovation and disruption can be slowed by a host of issues. The only prediction you can be 100% assured of is that the future will look very different from today.

Please feel free to leave me a comment below. You can also find me at @CindyProvin