Convergence is central to many 2018 tech trends

buildings converge

The advantage to being a blogger with a “diverse” background is the ability to be somewhat schizophrenic in one’s writing.  As you may have sensed, my current professional career ranges from healthcare technology, enterprise IT, smart cites, global branding, international media, higher education, cross cultural business, and snowboard instruction.

While many “predictions articles” focus on one industry, I find myself constrained by such a notion. Plus, there are so many commonalities across many industries that it may be therapeutic for technology practitioners to know that they’re not alone in their challenges. More important, there are so many intersections between these industries that some trends are actually related to how new opportunities in traditional business converge with those in hype-curve sectors.

This leads to my first trending observation for 2018, which is related to the nexus of smart cities and smart healthcare.  Urban development and healthcare strategy share many of the same challenges. Perhaps the greatest is how both are addressing the large aging population found in densely populated areas. In addition to how healthcare providers accommodate the rapid increase in the aging urban population, city governments must explore ways of providing “taxpayer value” to seniors with a wide variety of needs related to transportation to get to providers, reliable internet access for increased care delivery through telemedicine, and wellness programs that help the urban elderly stay healthy. For example, what are cities doing to decrease loneliness, a cause of death equal to diabetes among the elderly?

One of the most interesting trends in this area is how ride share companies like Uber and Lyft are partnering with healthcare providers to enable elderly patients that do not own smart phones the ability to get transportation to and from hospitals using land lines.

Ironically, the convergence of artificial intelligence and higher education is being realized by university professors. learning platforms like Blackboard are now embedding machine learning algorithms into courseware. These algorithms study the online course work and the required texts and continuously suggest additional materials that would compliment the curriculum or the student’s learning style.

One of the more interesting areas of convergence is the unlikely connection of social media with supply chain now known as social supply chain. Many supply chain pioneers saw social media as a natural predictor of production or manufacturing needs. But now as more sophisticated analytic tools are being developed, more reliable predictions can be made based on social media trending and listening tools. In addition to listening directly to customers’ social media posts about certain product groups, consumer and B2B companies are setting up social media communities within their own ecosystems to better predict what the market is saying about buying patterns so as to avoid back orders or worse, unsold products lingering on the shelves.  Many of us have experienced the feeding frenzies caused by social media posts as well as the whole new profession of social influencers.

Last and probably most interesting is the growing intersection of voice enabled devices with almost every business that interacts directly with their customers and employees. As I’ve written in previous blogs, the healthcare sector is a natural fit, given remote care and battling loneliness among the aged who have an inability to use typical smart phones and tablets to communicate. Alexa for Business is now being sold as a voice enabled conference call system and contacts manager. In addition the travel and hospitality business is now enabling hotel rooms with voice enabled technology to control everything from lights, music, temperature, and more recently permitting guests to order room service.


How technology could help battle the loneliness that comes with aging

How healthcare convergence is changing the role of pharma

Clinical and IT collaboration drive value-based care


  1. This is a great post, thanks for sharing! It’s an exciting time for healthcare.

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