The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated enterprises’ digital transformation across all industries. This year, businesses had to think of innovative solutions to survive the shift to remote work and operations.
Such unforeseen challenges influence consumer behavior and expectations, pushing enterprises to adopt technology to keep afloat. But the thing is, technology adoption isn’t enough to stand out; you need to stay ahead of the game.
Increased adoption in IT automation and SMS service for security were some of the tech trends in 2020. Take a look at the technology trends for 2021 to pivot or boost your strategies and thrive in your space.
Technology Trends for 2021 You Need to Watch Out For
1. Deployment of mainstream 5G
The increasing variety of more complex IoT devices raises the demand for faster internet connectivity. 5G offers lower latency and higher bandwidth alternatives to existing networks.
This means more devices can be connected with more capabilities such as artificial intelligence, edge computing, and automation. Major telecom networks are preparing for the 5G revolution, with some allocating heftier budgets in 2021.
2. Practical deployment of Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the way we go about our daily lives, from work, business, travel, and lifestyle. And it is seen to drive digital transformation, data-driven automation, and customer-facing innovation even beyond 2021.
Advanced principal technologies and the proliferation of devices help fuel the growth of IoT technologies. One of its practical applications is fleet management, where sensors can help improve the vehicles’ interconnectivity with their managers.
3. Increased demand for edge computing processing power
IoT has driven data growth multifold. Most devices coming into the market are capable of gathering and sending data to the cloud.
Edge computing improves network performance by reducing inactivity. Forrester predicts that in 2021, AI and 5G will push edge computing “from science project to real value.”
4. Increase in usage and adoption of mobile wallets
Contact restrictions due to the pandemic increased the demand for online transactions, subsequently raising the adoption and usage of e-wallets. According to Mastercard Impact Study 2020, the Philippines (36%) ranks second to Malaysia (40%) in mobile wallet usage in Southeast Asia.
The rapid changes in economic and social conditions and technological landscape drive a real revolution in the payment processing sector. Digital payments through e-wallets are likely to stay in a post-pandemic world.
5. Breakout moment in Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Over the last few years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies have enabled various tools, platforms, and applications. In 2021, AI is seen to drive more radical changes in innovations and business models.
For instance, AI is expected to manage customer interactions in real-time. Marketers will also find AI helpful in targeting new markets across digital platforms, including social media.
6. Adoption of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in enterprises
Due to lockdowns’ economic and financial implications, companies are looking for ways to maintain or increase efficiency while reducing cost. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) will free employees from mundane, repetitive tasks.
As a result, employees can redirect their efforts to more meaningful tasks that require crucial human interaction. The pandemic has shown that RPA can weather challenging situations, indicating that it’s here to stay to help businesses survive uncertainties.
7. Practical use of blockchain technology
Blockchain technology has grown quickly over the last two years. The IDC earlier predicted that blockchain will have a major impact by 2021.
It said that first, blockchain-enabled in-industry value chains will extend their digital platforms to their entire omni-experience ecosystems. Second, IDC predicts that about 30% of global retailers and manufacturers will “build digital trust through blockchain services that enable collaborative supply chains and allow consumers to access product histories.”
8. Commercialization of quantum computing usage
This year, quantum computing has helped deal with COVID-19, particularly in the search for potential vaccines. As data increases, quantum computing will play a pivotal role in huge industries, such as healthcare and energy.
IBM’s Jai Singh Arun predicts it will radically change how we solve real-world problems by “reimagining a new digital world.” As people understand its power, we’ll likely see quantum computing applications in several ventures from 2021 and beyond.
9. Shift to virtual health consultations
The COVID-19 crisis discouraged in-person meetings across all industries, and the health sector is not an exemption. Today, people are limiting hospital visits over fears of catching the disease.
The high infection risk in hospitals pushes the health sector to move routine and minor consultations online. This will likely be the norm in 2021 until a potent vaccine becomes available.
10. Efficient crop growth technology
The global digital agriculture market size is seen to reach $6.2 billion by 2021. The increasing agricultural food product demand, concerns in food safety, and consumer preference changes are some of the market drivers.
To match the supply with the demand, firms develop technologies to efficiently and effectively produce more crops. Various apps will allow farmers to monitor their crops daily, and less expensive drones will be helpful in delivery.
While the future is uncertain, one thing remains for sure: businesses need to keep evolving to survive trying times. These technology trends for 2021 will help us understand how we can make relevant decisions for the changing world.
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