Hector the Connector's Tech, & Internet Marketing predictions for 2018 and Beyond

By Hector Cisneros

I have been writing prediction articles for several years now and what is surprising is how fast things are evolving. My earlier articles would prognosticate about things two to three years out, and most would come to pass as predicted. Today, new ideas spread so quickly, and the product development cycle is becoming so short that making even short-range predictions are getting a little tricky. Nevertheless, I have spotted several trends in A.I., Cyber Security, Next Gen Tech, IoT, Internet Marketing, Web TV, Social Media and Fake News that will evolve like gangbusters over the next 18 months. So, gaze into my crystal ball as I reveal what’s coming next from the ever-evolving cyberspace of the World Wide Web.




As each year progresses, I pay close attention to important trends that will affect all of our lives. These include; A.I. (Artificial intelligence), automation in the field of management, marketing and manufacturing, IoT (Internet of Things), cyber security, new technological developments, tech gadgets, Web TV, social media and how we consume the news.  Last year I made several big predictions about how big hacks would take place and how A.I. algorithm usage in programmatic marketing would cause major problems for its vendors and subscribers. Just as I predicted we had the Equifax breach affecting 143 million Americans, and we had Facebook's marketing algorithms misused by Russians, as well as Google YouTube marketing Algorithms abused by hate groups and more. It was easy for me to predict these trends because they have been continuing to pop up and grow for many years.
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The internet provides us with many wondrous tools for learning, sharing, finding, scheduling, and acquiring just about anything. But like any tool, it is a double edge sword. Any tool that can be used for good can also be misused, sometimes even for nefarious purposes. A.I. and IoT technologies provide great examples. Both of these technologies allow us to do more in less time and with less effort. It’s much faster to ask Alexa to set a timer or reorder something, then it is to stop and set a timer versus stopping what you’re doing and going online and placing a re-order. It’s great to remotely set the temperature of the house or ask your TV remote to show you all the adventure shows than it is to type on the remote to look things up.
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However, these same technologies can make it easier for cybercriminals to do things faster as well. All they have to do is get you to give them your username and passcodes. And believe it or not, this is happening at the highest rate ever!

AI Predictions - My A.I. predictions for the coming 18 months is that Amazon and Google will furiously be duking it out with Alexa and the Google Home Assistant while other seemingly sleeping giants like Microsoft, IBM, Facebook, and Apple try to leapfrog them with an explosion of A.I. tech. Some of these new products will be in the arena of Cyber Security A.I. and others will be using A.I. in other new high-tech devices. Our government in partnership with private industry is aggressively developing A.I. for weapons use,
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especially for Drone and missile control. A.I. will make further penetration into communications, remote control of utilities, automobile navigation and self-driving cars, trucks, and ships. The great danger here is that few if any of these devices are designed to have anti-malware installed on them. None have built-in A.I. anti-malware monitoring, detection, and elimination tools. This means that a hacker only has to get past one line of defense and the IoT A.I. is at their mercy. You’re at their mercy! I foresee a big backlash coming once enough people or a high profile widely used IoT product is hacked causing widespread mayhem and financial losses.

Marketing Trends - Companies will continue to use programmatic partially because they have short memories and partially because it’s becoming the only game in town. The reality is that any advertisement run on the internet is a selection where you ask a company whose technology is akin to the “magic used by the wizard in Wizard of OZ”,
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since you can’t see what they are doing. You have to take it on faith that the user clicks and stats they provide are real, (even though many studies show that anywhere from 30 to 60 percent of clicks are from bots). At the very least the advertising buys have to be cost-effective. Even with a high bot click rate, it’s still possible to make money using pay per click advertising. Most companies will not notice  if you are losing 33 cents on the dollar with their PPC advertising if they are still receiving enough sales for your other 70 cents of that dollar spent. The fact is there is no easy way to verify that a visitor clicked or viewed your ad. You just have to make sure your ROI is adequate.  PPC marketing will continue to grow until there is a major breach of one of these platforms causing businesses to lose faith in them. I also predict that the aggregate of Social Media PPC will grow to the point it equals Googles AdWords sales. I believe that more companies will begin to engage in sponsored event marketing. That is, they will start to rely on more organic ways of getting people to visit their content instead of buying PPC.

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Online TV Trends - WebTV will become the de facto TV medium within the next 18 months. The technology is there now to cut the cord, save money and have greater choice. More importantly, by cutting the cable TV cord, you will be better able to turn on and off subscriptions without penalties. That is what I did this year so that I could watch the new CBS Star Trek Discovery series. No longer will you have to sign an annual subscription. Sign up, binge your favorite series and then un-subscribe. Communities with strong internet infrastructure (i.e., community-wide fiber) will see a cord cutting mass exodus because WebTV needs a strong internet service.

Along these same lines, we will see a new WebTV rating system emerge. This is because all internet services can be closely tracked and can provide great web traffic statistics. Currently, we are seeing some social
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media engagement of shows with users having online chat groups when watching shows like Games of Throne, but this is only the first wave. I foresee the coming of mass live voting by viewers in the near future. Currently, online providers like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and others only allow you to like or dislike the shows. This will change when one of the big broadcast network signs a deal with one of the large social media players, allowing their subscribers to simultaneously watch and vote on the WebTV show while it’s on live or streamed. This will quickly relegate B grade shows to the back of the heap and make show sponsoring more viable. 

What I don’t see going away is the view on demand without commercials.
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There will be lots of subscription WebTV channels like “CBS All Access” that include commercials for their lower subscription rates. But once a person has experienced TV content without commercials, it’s hard to go back. On top of that, “On Demand” is very addicting and has create a new TV phenomenon. This is evidenced by the trend of binge-watching of the whole series by millions of people. No, this genie is out of the bottle, and the networks can’t put it back in. Having said all this, the near future will see WebTV subscriptions take off and grow to a rate that exceeds the current cable TV subscriptions.

Internet Politics, News and Social Trends - The government will soon produce some new regulations to deal with some of the fake news issues seen in social media and the web in general. However, it is very hard to control all of the web. Ask the Chinees government! They can’t stop
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censored content from leaking past their routers and firewalls. But Fake News will not go away anytime soon. In fact, many of the players will double down as the war between President Trump advocates and anti-Trumpers escalates. The social networks will be front and center in this new media battle as the big social media sites set their sights on becoming prime news media players. In Fact, I believe that Fake News will become the dominant weapon in all future battles. Unverified news has been the norm already, and there are no consequences for publishing fake news. The next election will include “all the fake news that you care to read”. It will become necessary to fact check everything that hits the web if you're going to be an informed citizen.

Beyond the fake new cycles, we will continue to see foreign nations trying to influence elections. Election meddling and influencing is not new, but
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using the internet is cheap, relatively easy to setup and a powerful medium to use to get your message out, even if it is a lie. Facebook, Twitter, and Google will be answering to Congress as the government probes them and develops rules to reel in their power. Yet I believe Twitter will come on strong as candidates adopt Twitter as their go to launching platform. The last two presidents have used Twitter extensively, and President Trump has shown the established news media that he doesn’t have to follow their rules by using Twitter to post directly to the people. Plus they recently expanded the message size which will also provide more flexibility.

In my opinion, I believe this makes Twitter a great takeover candidate. It is starting to show signs that it can make money and now it has shown that it has real political clout. The real question is who it will be? IBM, or
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Microsoft maybe? Speaking of Microsoft, they are whipping LinkedIn into shape after their purchase last year. LinkedIn will continue its growth and dominance in the business social network and job search community. Facebook, on the other hand, will continue to aggressively press into the news and content broadcasting arena (aka Web TV). The only real question in my mind is whether they branch into hardware development as Google and Amazon have done.

Next Gen Tech Tools and Toys - Speaking of hardware, the coming year will see the release of many next-generation tech tools and toys. However, the first item worth mentioning is a game changer for many industries. It's battery technology. That’s right, the not so glamorous field of battery tech. In a recent article on Pocket-Iint, it talks about future battery tech that is coming out that is more powerful, lasts longer has a
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longer shelf life, will charge faster and is much cheaper than current lithium battery technology. Think of the implications for your smartphones, computers, smartwatches and activity trackers (digital devices in general). Think of the implications for saving money on electricity in many parts of the country. The biggest problems with many alternative energy sources is that they do not produce constant energy (as with solar and wind). The missing link that will make green energy a viable revolution is great battery technology. Many new battery technologies are here, and it's just a matter of which ones become dominant. The near future will see quick charging long lasting batteries being released on your cool tech devices and soon they will become viable powerplants to produce energy in your home.

But what about the newest cool tech? New Bluetooth devices will be all the rage. There are Bluetooth shower heads, shower speakers, kitchen
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appliances, remote cameras and tons of other IoT devices. Great strides are being made by adding a high IPX rating (water and dust proofing) to devices. Now what we need is a rating system for how long digital devices last. In my opinion, the best devices will provide a 3 to 5 years useful life because they can be upgraded several times via the internet. A.I. personal assistants like the Amazon Echo and Google Assistant may fit this category, so hopefully, it will be easier to get your money’s worth on these types of items. Just remember that these IoT devices need to be upgraded and also secured with firewalls and other security measures.

Speaking of Security -  I foresee a new wave of anti-malware software and devices being created to plug the security holes created by IoT systems. There are new types of A.I security devices hitting the market right now. Take the DoJo device listed on Bullguard.com. It professes to
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make it easy to secure your IoT devices because the DoJo devices uses A.I. to learn the normal usage pattern of your devices. It then warns you if something is out of the ordinary. It even allows you to disable the misbehaving device, allowing you to take back control. Another growing technological change that will be pushed by baby boomers is the need for a full-size tablet with built-in cell phone service, eliminating the need for a separate smartphone. Boomers are already using Phablets more than any demographic. What is driving this Boomer trend is the need to easily read and type information on their digital devices. Another cool device along this vain are bracelet sized activity/health trackers with much larger screens and much longer battery life.

If you have been following my predictions for the last six years, you would know that my predictive batting average has been between 95 and 98 percent. I get the time frames a little wrong sometimes, but my predictions are usually spot on. If you’re into investing, my predictions can be a great starting point for finding and vetting companies. My predictions can also help you protect your assets and loved ones as well. Take advantage of the leg up on coming tech trends. It can make and save you money. If you like this article make sure you share it with your friends and like us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

That's my opinion; I look forward to reading yours.
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This article provides predictions for the coming year and beyond about developments in Artificial Intelligence, Cyber Security, Next Gen Tech, IoT, Internet Marketing, Web TV, Social Media and Fake News. The impact of these developments will be significant. Specific trends are listed, and time frames are given. Other article Links and resources are provided to further help the reader research this subject.  

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Hector Cisneros is COO and Director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web to Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.” 

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