2018's Top Tech Buzzwords Unraveled

By Tami Iseli in Development
·5 min read

Love it or loathe it, techspeak is an unavoidable aspect of existence in the modern world. But don’t worry, help is at hand—from blockchain to JAMstack, we’ve got your back...

Sick of being bamboozled by buzzwords in meetings dominated by tech-heads? As a marketer in a digital agency, I feel your pain. Well, nod along vacantly no more, my friend. I’ve tapped into the heart of the Inner Geekdom within my agency to unearth and unravel some of the top techie buzzwords for 2018. (You can thank me later.)

Ok, let’s jump into it with what is arguably the most overused, overhyped, and underexplained buzzword of the year so far...

Blockchain

If you want to sound like you’re ‘in the know’ on digital currencies, you just drop a reference to blockchain, right? Well, sort of. While it’s true that blockchain is the technology underpinning Bitcoin and its cryptocurrency cousins, it has the potential for much broader application. Basically, it’s a coding breakthrough that allows an indelible record to be created that can’t be deleted or tampered with. It creates a public ledger of transactions that does away with the need for any kind of central recordkeeping. While digital currencies are currently occupying the lion’s share of the blockchain limelight, the race is on to find the next killer application. 

–Ops

It started with DevOps, but in 2018, it’s become a bit of a case of ‘Here an Ops, there an Ops, everywhere an OpsOps’. Find a business function and add an ‘Ops’—CloudOps, ChatOps, BizOps, SocialOps… So what does all this ‘Ops’ business actually mean? It’s really just a way to make it sound like you’ve got some kind of modern, newfangled approach to an old problem. In the DevOps world, this means adopting a more collaborative ‘agile’ approach where developers and operations teams work together to resolve minor issues along the way, rather than waiting until they blow up into a major catastrophe, post-deployment. 

XR

Unless you’ve been hiding out in your own alternate reality, you’re probably already familiar with the concept of VR (Virtual Reality). Well now it’s time to get your head around XR (Extended Reality)—an umbrella term for VR, AR (Augmented Reality), and MR (Mixed Reality). Here’s a quick ‘XR 101’: VR is where the user wears a headset (think Oculus Rift or Google Cardboard) and is fully immersed in the virtual world (i.e., you can’t see your hands). By contrast, AR is an overlay of computer generated content on the real world—for example, an empty living room overlaid with virtual images of furniture. With MR, the AR experience is taken a step further. Here, virtual objects actually interact with real-world objects—for example, you could drop a virtual ball on a table and have it bounce off and roll onto the floor.

Headless CMS

A headless (or ‘decoupled’) content management system allows you to deliver content across multiple channels, as content is stored in a channel-agnostic form. So, for example, a single piece of product information could be delivered to your website, to an in-store kiosk, and to a customer’s smartwatch, all without any duplication of effort. A headless CMS separates the management of content from the platform—e.g., website, app, smartwatch, or another Internet-enabled device—that displays it. The term ‘headless’ refers to the decoupling of the ‘head’ (i.e., the content delivery platform) from the ‘body’ (the content repository). For more on Headless CMS, see our blog post ‘What is Kentico Cloud – and why should I care?'

JAMstack

JAMstack might sound like something you’d order from the Pancake Parlor, but in the context of digital development, it refers to a combination of technologies that allow you to build an app that is purely front end (i.e., running completely in the visitor's browser, rather than in code on a web server somewhere). ‘JAM’ is an acronym that encompasses the tools used to create the app – JavaScript, APIs, and prebuilt Markup (HTML and CSS). JAMstack experiences still need to be delivered via a back end (server), but the app itself runs pretty much completely in the front end. This ‘decoupling’ of the front and back end means you’re more likely to get better performance because users taking actions on your site, like logging in or searching, are not going to create any more work for the server. 

Progressive Web Apps 

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are basically like web apps on steroids. Their superpower is their ability to adapt to the capabilities of the user’s browser. Rather than simply failing to operate on an old browser, they will still work with a basic feature set on all browsers or devices, but will support more advanced features where available on the device that’s loading the app. For example, a PWA may receive push notifications or continue working when the user’s signal drops out. An example of a PWA is mobile.twitter.com.

AMP

AMP stands for ‘Accelerated Mobile Pages Project’. It’s a technology that was launched by Google with the aim of improving the loading speed of web content, particularly on mobile devices. Implementing AMP pages is a good way to improve search rankings (as page speed influences SEO). The downside is that AMP works by restricting what you can do with a web page (to keep pages small). The situation is reversed with email where email clients are already very restrictive about the use of HTML. The big news for 2018 is that Gmail is about to become the first email client to support AMP, meaning that email (or at least for now, Gmail) is about to get a whole lot more dynamic and interactive. Using AMP, email marketers will be able to create emails that allow users to do things like RSVP to an event, respond to a survey, or fill out a form directly from the email itself. 

Serverless Computing

Serverless computing is a form of cloud computing that avoids the problem of paying for underutilised server resources. The term itself is a misnomer. Serverless computing still requires servers. It’s just that now, with cloud computing services such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, and Google Cloud Platform, the client just installs their app in the service provider’s platform, and lets the provider worry about the server hardware that’s running in the background. The cloud computing service responds as service requests come in, and then shuts down, and the client is billed only for the resources used. 

So there you have it, the top tech buzzwords for 2018, brought to you by the team here at Luminary. We hope it has you nodding in the right direction, in all the right places. If there’s anything we missed, or you’d like to throw in your own two cents’ worth, we’d love to hear from you!

This article was written by Tami Iseli, who is the Content Strategist at Luminary. Luminary is the new rebranded name of Get Started, and the home of our beloved MVP, Andy Thompson. Their new site was built on our headless CMS, Kentico Cloud. You can read more about their rebranding experience here.

By Tami Iseli in Development
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