In a Wednesday report, Forrester revealed the top 12 emerging tech trends that business leaders should consider adopting in 2018.

To keep ahead of competition, the report noted that CIOs should keep emerging tech in mind when making key business decisions.

SEE: Digital transformation: A guide for CXOs (Tech Pro Research)

According to the report, implementing new technology is the no. 1 action businesses are taking to change their models. Similarly, being up on emerging tech remains a priority for hiring and retaining the best employees.

The report noted that Forrester created the list based on the technology’s newness, connectedness, and it’s particular type of technological innovation. Here are the top 12 emerging technology trends to look out for in 2018.

1. Computer vision

Computer vision is a type of artificial intelligence (AI) technology that can analyze an image (or other content) and determine its subject matter, according to the report. Businesses can utilize this AI feature for a more in-depth understanding of what their customers are looking for.

2. Deep learning

Deep learning is a form of machine learning that can predict outcomes, learn, and identify patterns in unstructured data. The report noted that while deep learning is in its early days for business use, it can be expected to aid with predictive analytics including fraud detection, customer churn analysis, and purchase propensity modeling.

SEE: A guide to data center automation (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

3. Natural language generation

Natural language generation implements machine learning, rules, and templates through AI to understand and imitate language verbally and through text, the report stated. Businesses have begun implementing it into their workdays to automate the creation of important documents or other text-based tasks.

4. Businesswide networking fabric

The report noted that businesswide networking fabric gives businesses the opportunity to weave network hardware, software, and other services that interconnect users, data, and applications together based on business policies.

5. Distributed ledger technology

Distributed ledger technology, like blockchain, is a software architecture for collaboration based on shared and distributed data across organization boundaries, the report stated. Some businesses, the report noted, are working on making the transition from legacy environments to DLT-based solutions.

SEE: How blockchain will disrupt business (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

6. Edge computing

The report stated that edge computing gives businesses the option to distribute application data and services where they can best optimize outcomes in a growing set of connected assets. Edge computing converges hardware and software onto smaller servers and devices, creating a more connected work environment.

7. Quantum computing

Businesses are turning to quantum computing to solve the issues that no human can solve. The business use cases depend on the industry, but the report stated that quantum computing could potentially be used for optimizing risk portfolios, setting prices, and building more advanced machine learning applications.

8. Serverless computing

According to the report, serverless computing removes developers from the cloud infrastructure and supports the deployment of business logic. This gives businesses a better software development experience and lower costs.

9. Additive manufacturing

Additive manufacturing creates products designed with software and fabricated by 3D-printing machines, the report stated. Businesses can take advantage of the technology to bring physical products to the forefront faster with rapid prototyping or small scale manufacturing.

10. Augmented, virtual, and mixed reality

Immersive technology allows users to experience virtual overlays with real world objects. AR, VR, and MR have been dominating the consumer market by making it easier for companies to visualize and better market their products to a wider audience.

11. Digital twin

The report defines a digital twin as a model that uses both physical and digital data to represent a single thing’s state and performance in its field. This could potentially drive business value forward for product owners and operators.

12. Nanotechnology

According to the report, nanotechnology deals with matter within the dimensions of 1-100 nanometers. This could enable new technologies in scientific fields including biology and chemistry.

The report noted that businesses that prioritize emerging tech into their strategies “sit at the top of the business world.”

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • To stay ahead of competitors, business leaders should implement new forms of technology into their strategies, especially emerging tech.
  • AI tools like deep learning, computer vision, and natural language generation are some of the leading next-gen tech that will be used in business.