Jan 08, 2019 By Team YoungWonks *
Which are the top 10 technology trends in 2021? This blog takes a close look at what will matter in the technology sector in the coming year. The world of technology is ever-evolving and with technologies fighting each other for supremacy, many have already affirmed their disruptive potential. These then are the technologies that promise high impact on today’s environment and thus already have or are likely to have a wide user base in the year ahead. Keeping this in mind, here are the top 10 technology trends for 2021 in alphabetical order:
1. AI engineering
With Artificial Intelligence (AI) permeating more aspects of our lives, the coming year will see it gain more prominence than ever. And given how several companies today face roadblocks in their AI projects due to governance, scalability and maintainability, there is a greater need now for a robust AI engineering approach which in turn can lead to driver scalability, enhanced performance, increased reliability and better interpretability of AI models. Such an approach will see AI engineering come under the purview of DevOps, that set of practices that combines software development and IT operations even as it shortens the systems development life cycle and provides continuous delivery with high software quality. The resulting responsible AI, will be equipped to deal with trust, transparency, ethics, fairness, interpretability and compliance issues.
Sidenote: Ethical AI
Earlier, companies working with AI and Machine Learning (ML) may have not paid much attention to their ethical impact but today there is greater awareness about responsible AI and the need for it. As shared in one of our previous blogs about AI (embed this link here https://www.youngwonks.com/blog/Machine-Learning-and-Artificial-Intelligence---An-Introduction-For-Absolute-Beginners), AI unaffected by ethics can pose larger problems for the whole of humanity. The creation of Open AI, a non-profit artificial intelligence research company that aims to promote and develop friendly AI in order to benefit humanity, has now paved the way for organizations to embrace AI in a responsible fashion. The coming year will see firms work with those focusing on data ethics.
2. Cybersecurity mesh
With the remote workforce and cloud computing here to stay, cybersecurity mesh technology has become highly relevant. Cybersecurity mesh basically lets the identity of a person or thing define the security perimeter. This will ensure that secure access to any digital asset, irrespective of the location of the asset or the person. It is being said that by 2025, cybersecurity mesh shall support more than 50 percent of digital access control requests. The big advantage of this technology is that it allows individuals to put the security divider around people as opposed to the whole organization. Thus cybersecurity mesh will ensure the security of company assets outside the organization’s edge by covering people working remotely.
3. Distributed cloud
A distributed cloud is a cloud computing platform that has been assembled from a distributed set of machines in different locations, but all connected to a single network or hub service. So the originating public cloud provider is responsible for the operation, governance, updates to and evolution of the cloud services on offer. While there are typically two types of distributed clouds - public-resource computing and volunteer cloud - it is public-resource computing that has a more promising future. This is because volunteer cloud depends on the availability of the volunteered resources. Public-resource computing is expected to catch on in 2020 and usher in a new era in cloud computing.
4. Driver-monitoring systems
After focusing on applications outside the vehicle, automotive safety technology is now training its sights on in-vehicle applications, including driver-monitoring systems (DMS), which are essentially vehicle safety systems that work with the help of sensors reading the driver’s surrounding environment. DMS performs several functions at the same time, be it real-time detection/notification, driver capability assessment, or takeover of driving controls when necessary. The integration of AI into automotive technology will indeed aid automotive safety, going much beyond entertainment and user assistance functions. In the future, DMS will also stress on the advancement of more accurate camera systems, making it crucial in the improvement of autonomous driving systems (ADS).
Hyperautomation is where many machine learning (ML), packaged software and automation tools come together to deliver work. Hyperautomation obviously involves automation in a comprehensive manner, including stages such as discovery, analysis, design, measurement, monitoring and reassessment. It covers automation mechanisms and how they can be used together. One of these mechanisms is robotic process automation (RPA), which is the automation of clerical processes that show rigid patterns and limited boundary conditions like loan processing and quote-to-cash.
Hyperautomation was a key technology trend in 2020 too and the Coronavirus pandemic has only made firms accelerate their automation plans, especially with regard to their back-office processes. Hyperautomation in 2021 will move towards an intelligent mix of robotic and digital automation with the help of AI and low-code tools. Such a move will help organizations get more proficient even as they maintain and extend their scope of operations.
6. Hyperlocal business operations
A hyperlocal business model is one where on-demand needs of customers are met through local offline shops typically through a digital platform. The COVID19 lockdown has only translated into a greater need for home delivery of grocery, medicine, laundry service, etc. In the coming decade, large companies shall improve their capacity to work hyperlocally, by developing and growing a network spanning new geographic locales. An efficient hyperlocal business operation will thus strategically distribute customer engagement and business tasks frameworks to significant topographies while enjoying the benefits of centralized technology management.
7. Overall experience
It refers to customer experience, employee and user experience enhancing which can drastically influence business outcomes. All of these experiences can be improved today with technology, especially in light of the developments due to the current pandemic: right from distributed customers and remote work to virtual and mobile business. Gartner for instance shares an instance of a telecommunications company that brought about changes in these sectors so as to offer greater satisfaction and safety. Their report states how the company deployed an appointment system via an existing app and when customers came within 75 feet of the store at the appointed hour, they were intimated on two fronts, firstly with a notification to guide them through the check-in process and secondly, with an alert letting them know how long it would be before they could safely enter the store and maintain social distance. Additionally, employees could use their own tablets to co-browse customers’ devices without having to physically touch the hardware. Thus the experience for customers and employees was safer and at the same time, more seamless.
8. Privacy-enhancing computation
With people continuing to work remotely, soaring popularity of privacy-enhancing computation is being projected in the coming year. Typically, such computation focuses on three technologies that protect data while it is being used. The first one works on offering a trusted environment in which sensitive data can be analyzed and processed. The second analyzes and processes the data in a decentralized fashion, while the third encrypts data and algorithms before analytics or processing. Gartner says that this trend will let organizations the world collaborate safely on research and with competitors too without compromising on confidentiality. Privacy-enhancing computation will thus allow companies to juggle both the need to share data and the need to maintain privacy or security.
9. Remote operations
Remote or anywhere operations is a model that has shot into prominence due to the Covid-19 crisis, and it is not likely to go away even after the pandemic is over. If anything, more companies are looking to switch to remote work enabling employees to cut through geographical restrictions as they work together. So the anywhere operations shall help companies - including those which currently do not have an online presence - follow a digital first, remote first model. In other words, digital would become the default for business at all times and even physical spaces shall be digitally enhanced; case in point contactless check-out at a physical store.
10. Quantum computing
Quantum computing is where certain algebraic methods - typically the same methods or those in parallel to the ones that are applied in quantum mechanics (which in turn deals with the physical properties of nature at the scale of atoms and subatomic particles) - are used to develop algorithms for computations. It essentially refers to computing that uses elements from theoretical physics to provide order of magnitude performance increase. So quantum computers are very good at simulating systems with greater accuracy and in a shorter period of time.
Quantum computing is thus said to have helped in the administration of COVID-19 especially with regards to dealing with the spread, search for potential vaccines, and the advancement of therapeutics. All of which has only made us more curious about its known and hitherto untapped applications, making it a trend to watch out for next year.
*Contributors: Written by Vidya Prabhu; Image by: Leonel Cruz