New and emerging technologies have the capacity to change our lives.  In 2020, technology trends including the Internet of Things, virtual reality, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence have been shaping the IT landscape. Most of them have been around for some time but are still gaining traction over the years. 2020’s Covid-19 pandemic has helped us cope with uncertainty. It has also shown us the importance of technologies. 

2021 will mark the start of a decade that will require CIOs to both respond to digital acceleration and proactively manage uncertainty. Additionally, remote work and automation will flourish in 2021, among other interesting trends. In the coming decade, more technology will ease our work. 

Read on to find out 12 emerging tech trends for 2021.  

1. AI Advancement 

AI is now an integral part of technology. It’s four times more useful than the Internet, according to some international investors. Also, it has the potential to be used in all fields where automation is possible.

It is present in home appliances, on phones, in hospitals, agriculture, military, government, and the list goes on. AI has also become the basis for tons of technological innovations such as face recognition, data processing, speech recognition, etc. Furthermore, the technology can also be used for business front such as AI-powered customer service.

The AI market will grow to a $190 billion industry by 2025 with global spending on cognitive and AI systems reaching over $57 billion in 2021.  With AI spreading its wings across sectors, new jobs will be created in development, programming, testing, support, and maintenance, to name a few.  Smart computers that predict human behavior, robotic assistance, and medical devices are examples of AI technology we’ll see in 2021. 

AI in healthcare 

Over the next year, we will see the accelerated adoption of AI across many areas of healthcare. By applying machine learning to real-time global data sets, healthcare professionals can more accurately track contact between staff and infected patients, enable accurate diagnoses, utilize predictive analytics to track personal protective equipment (PPE), optimize workforce allocations, and develop more effective and lasting vaccinations.

2. Internet of Behaviors (IoB)

IoB is an upcoming trend that you’ll hear more of in 2021. Companies and businesses are taking advantage of technology to monitor consumer and customer behaviors. Some of the effective technological tools here include location tracking, big data, and facial recognition. According to a prediction by Gartner, more than half of the global population will be under an IoB tool by 2025.

3. Hybrid Cloud

Most businesses are moving towards the hybrid cloud model because it is convenient. It helps businesses to strike a balance for their distinct cloud infrastructural needs.

Most of the major public cloud providers have started focusing on the hybrid cloud. Some of them include Amazon Web Services(AWS), Google Cloud, Azure, Oracle, and IBM. All of this aims at dealing with different customer challenges – privacy, data management, security, and compliance. 

4. 5G

All that talk and hype around 5G will become real in 2021. The need for a reliable and fast connection became urgent only a few months earlier. The deployment of this technology will be important for different tools like IoT. About 51% of companies using IoT have noted an improved insight into customer needs, behaviors, and preferences. The value of 5G, therefore, will skyrocket in 2021.

Paired with AI and computing, 5G will upgrade a user’s digital experience like never before. 5G networks are the next big thing in mobile internet connectivity. The step up to 5G will be more of a game-changer. 5G is, in theory, a hundred times faster than the current 4G technology. After almost a decade of development, it has finally become a reality in some areas. It offers an unprecedented transmission speed that far surpasses its predecessor, 4G, and is actually faster than virtually any home broadband available.

Furthermore, IoT gadgets will be able to interconnect more smoothly. Also, things that require complex operations are now achievable. This includes drones, autonomous cars, and smart cities.

5G services are expected to launch worldwide in 2021 with more than 50 operators offering services in about 30 countries by the end of 2021, making it a new technology trend you must watch out for, and also save a spot in.

5. Democratization of Expertise

According to tech reports, Democratization aims at providing people with access to technical expertise such as ML or Application Development, or business domain expertise such as sales process or economic analysis. This is via a radically simplified experience, without requiring extensive and costly training. Gartner predicts that throughout 2023, four key aspects of the democratization trend will evolve. Democratization of: 

  • data and analytics tools targeting data scientists;
  • development with the help of AI tools;
  • design with the automation of additional application development; and
  • knowledge to empower professionals with specialized skills beyond their own expertise and training.

6. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

In 2021, AR/ VR will be even more popular. Businesses are largely investing in this technology to promote their companies and offer better services for clients. For example, due to the pandemic, many sports clubs are using AR to simulate their audience in the arenas. Moreover, the most popular application of VR is in the gaming industry, with PlayStation VR and Facebook’s Oculus leading the market.

Aside from games, VR is also used in other forms of entertainment. Examples of this include virtual museums, galleries, discovery centers, and theaters. The hospitality industry also uses VR for entertainment and concierge services to give customers a great experience. Another widespread application of Virtual Reality is training and simulation. This is done in various fields such as in medicine for surgery and in aviation for flight simulation. There is VR software, such as VirtualShip, to train the US Army, Coast Guard, and Navy.

The AR technology has also been of great help to different sectors. In navigation systems, AR is used to show routes over a real-time view of the road. Some neurosurgeons use this technology to project a 3D image of a brain to aid them in surgery. Furthermore, in the military, pilots wear AR helmets to see vital statuses such as their speed and altitude.

In the retail sector, consumers welcome AR because of its numerous real-world applications. For example, IKEA has an app that will let you see how furniture would look like in your room. You can do this by first scanning or taking a picture of your place and then add the furniture’s image. 

ALSO READ: Amazon Zoox Launches Driverless Taxi for the Future

7. Chatbots

Due to the growth of ML, chatbots have become extremely popular for small businesses and huge enterprises alike. Combine that with natural language processing (NLP) and we got ourselves a more responsive, more intelligent, and more human conversational agent. Typically, customer service portals leverage Chatbot technology. 

Chatbots today are more AI-driven and are becoming human-like. They’re now more suited to chat with customers as a representative of the company. Smart speakers, which deliver voice experience, are also becoming a norm.  More businesses are adopting Chatbots.  According to IBM, there are 265 billion customer requests recorded that businesses spent $1.3 trillion to deal with. A chatbot is a big help in cutting some of those expenditures.

8. Cloud-Native Technologies & Edge Computing

From 2021 and over the next five years, Cloud-native technologies such as container platforms and serverless computing will see a new era of distributed enterprise software providers from Cloud to Edge. 

Over the next three to five years, firms will shift their cloud strategy to include more edge services from more vendors, challenging public cloud vendor market dominance. Edge computing will increase as the use of the Internet of Things (IoT) devices increases. By 2022, the global edge computing market is expected to reach $6.72 billion. And this new technology trend is only meant to grow and nothing less, creating various jobs. 

9. Futuristic Blockchain

According to Gartner, Blockchain has the potential to reshape industries by enabling trust, providing transparency, and enabling value exchange across business ecosystems, potentially lowering costs, reducing transaction settlement times, and improving cash flow. 

Another area in which blockchain has potential is identity management. Smart contracts can be programmed into the blockchain where events can trigger actions.

The emergence of this technology, however, does not signal the end of cryptocurrencies. In fact, Bitcoin is still a big thing and there are other cryptocurrencies to watch out for. This includes Tether, Ripple, and Ethereum who are all making their way to improve upon Bitcoin.

Several industries are involving and implementing blockchain, and as the use of blockchain technology increases, so too does the demand for skilled professionals. 

10. Neuromorphic Computing

New computing technologies, such as neuromorphic computing — a computer that thinks and acts more like the human brain, will cause a huge wave. As these new technologies mature, they will become increasingly available and more affordable for businesses to begin experimentation. By 2025, traditional computing technologies will hit a digital wall, forcing the shift to new computing paradigms such as neuromorphic computing.

11. Quantum Computing

Quantum computing has helped in the management of COVID-19 in terms of managing the spread, looking for possible vaccines, and development of therapeutics. As people continue to realize the power of quantum computing, we are more likely to witness its application in many industries in 2021 and beyond.

Intelligent computing can help with large amounts of user data, analytics, and other types of information in every field. For example, the health care system can benefit from this. This technology can help with quicker and more precise study of genomes, treatments, and experiments.

Quantum computers are now a multitude times faster than regular computers and huge brands like Splunk, Honeywell, Microsoft, AWS, Google, and many others are now implementing innovations in the field of Quantum Computing. The revenues for the global quantum computing market are projected to surpass $2.5 billion by 2029. 

12. DNA Storage

By 2024, 30% of digital businesses will mandate DNA storage trials, addressing the exponential growth of data poised to overwhelm existing storage technology.

People are collecting exponential amounts of data, more than ever. Increasingly, the main challenge is not collecting the data — it’s storing it long term in a safe way. 

DNA storage enables the storage of binary digital data in the double helix, taking binary coding and turning it into coding that fits in the human DNA strand. It would mean a year’s worth of human knowledge could be stored in a gram of synthetic DNA for thousands of years. 

Digital data (i.e., music, video, statistics) would be encoded in the nucleic acid base pairs of synthetic DNA strands. 

Conclusion

These are a few of the technology trends to watch in 2021.  Some 2021 innovations are genuinely groundbreaking: flying cars, Mars examinations, and artificial kidneys. Others are vital devices and software we need for work and home: VR, cybersecurity, and AI. Nevertheless, 2021 brings useful technology to revolutionize all fields.

According to IDC, by 2023, 75% of large companies will commit to providing “technical parity” to a workforce that is “hybrid by design rather than by circumstance”. People will increasingly work in a mixture of locations, all connected by technology. In its 2021 predictions, IDC also said working from home will become institutionalized. Business models that embrace this culture will thrive, attract the best talent, and technologies that enable it will continue to scale in 2021 and beyond.