New year, new trends. 2020 has taken its toll but it taught us that adaptability has become a key virtue, both in the industry and at home in our private lives. The main office was quickly relocated to the office room at home, events were shifted from analogue venues to the digital space, and working from home suddenly became the new standard way of working.
The Covid-19 pandemic acted as a catalyst for technological progress and made people focus on essential technologies. Video conferencing service provider Zoom, for example, recently had hundreds of millions instances of people joining video conferences per day, in stark contrast to the 10 million instances for the whole month of December in 2019.
What Are The Next Technology Trends?
This leads to the question which visionary ideas and technologies are on the horizon, ready to take over our “new” work experience and our increasingly digitalized private life. Leading figures from Forbes Magazine, the investment banking advisory company Cowen, and the corporate service provider Deloitte have made their prognoses – we give you the gist of their analysis of the 5 Tech Trends for 2021.
Trend 1: Digital Health & Portable Technologies
The publich health sector usually is slow in adapting to new conditions and trends. Compared to other sectors, the health sector is often late in using new technologies. Even if some developments pre-date the pandemic, Covid-19 has sparked a new push for the digital transformation of public health. Before, adapting to new technologies was more of an optional route, now it’s a necessity.
The WHO recently talked about the future of the sector and which developments are needed to transform public health within the next five years. The organization called on the responsible parties to accelerate the development of affordable and scalable health solutions. Telehealth, artificial intelligence, robotics and big data analytics have been named as key technologies. Generally, there is a trend towards public health care becoming more personalized.
Trend 2: Edge Computing
Cloud computing is old news. The newest development that is modernizing storage and network infrastructure is called Edge Computing. Edge computing sees computation being decentralized and shifted closer to the source where the respective data is being generated. Initially, this type of architecture was met with the same skepticism that cloud computing had to deal with; investors were reluctant to invest. Nowadays, the numbers speak for themselves: Cloud computing covers 40% of the server market, and edge computing is seeing more acceptance. Leading experts even predict that edge computing is becoming an indispensable technology for the IoT of the future.
Various factors are driving this development. Mainly, the increasing data load generated by the IoT creates a certain pressure for the development of new technologies which are able to process data faster and more precisely – something which edge computing is able to do. Consequently, market value rises with the increasing amount of data. And the data load is going to rise exponentially, as experts all agree, in the next few years, In 2025, the amount of new data is predicted to exceed 164 zettabytes.
In addition to the quickly increasing amount of data, the relevance of real-time data increases as well. The combination of massive amounts of data and speed requires innovative technologies that can keep up with the increasing requirements. This factor contributes to the increasing relevance of edge computing in 2021
Trend 3: Supply Chain Optimization
The Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent run on food and supplies showed us that the world is getting more dependent on connectivity and global supply chains. A survey conducted by Procurious among supply chain experts showed 97% of all participants stating that their companies are undergoing optimization processes caused by the circumstances of the pandemic. In the same survey, 73% of the participants indicated that their companies are going to make larger changes to the departments supply chain management and acquisition.
Industry experts predict that manufacturers and distributors are going to drastically optimize their supply chain ecosystems within the next 18 to 24 months by focusing on resilience and risk. On top, supply chain is going to transform from a purely back office cost center into a process that increases value. This trend is going to gain momentum in the next months requiring new technologies and disruptions in this segment.
Many companies are going to start gathering and evaluating data on a larger scale so that they can optimize their complete supply ecosystem. Using robots, drones, and other technologies to make the supply chain more efficient and safe, is another way to speed up the optimization process.
The list of promising tools and technologies is likely going to grow in 2021. Many companies are continuously working on optimizing their supply chains and transforming them from a cost center into a real value driver. Tools and technologies which seemed irrelevant for the sector just a few years ago are now crucial for this process. Disruptions in the supply chain technology are on the rise.
Trend 4: Robotics & Automation
The pandemic has sped up digital transformation on an unprecedented scale. This has a large impact on the deployment of new technologies such as robotics and automation. Experts predict that the demand in that sector is going to rise dramatically.
The implementation of supply chain and warehousing automation is going to increase since automation technologies are able to both increase and decrease costs in this area. The use of autonomous robots could add value by decreasing direct and indirect costs and increasing turnover potential. Automated robots could also decrease personnel costs and increase productivity by working 24/7.
Tools and automation processes from the manufacturing sector are going to spill over into other economic sectors which are undergoing a digital transformation process as well. There are going to be new areas of application for robotics technology, e.g. in agriculture, the retail sector, or in the public health system.
Trend 5: MLOps – Industrialized AI
Machine learning is more and more becoming the driving force for modernized business performance. Forrester Research has reported that, globally, more than 50% of all companies using data and analytics technologies have implemented some sort of AI solution or are currently in the process of implementing.
However, a survey among 750 company executives showed that many companies are currently investing a lot of time into implementing AI solutions before a newly developed machine learning model is being put to use in production. The prolongued implementation process represents a huge obstacle.
Machine Learning Operations – MLOps – offer a solution for this problem. This technology creates structured processes for developing and running machine learning solutions. MLOps aims to unify the deployment cycles for machine learning and the deployment of software applications. Thie agile and resource-efficient approach supports the technical integration of ML solutions. Among data scientists, ML engineers, and AI enthusiasts this up and coming technology is gaining more and more traction.
NOW IT'S YOUR TURN
Some of our teams in the Lab and the Accelerator are already working tirelessly on and with the new trend technologies. If you also want to be on the cutting edge of technological trends, we are the people who can help you with that.