Let’s face it. 2020 could have been better. Despite a global pandemic and tech companies being hamstrung by paralyzed supply chains, innovation is never out of style. And 2021 holds great promise for new tech in a few different sectors.
1. Robots and AI
AI is everywhere. Whether it’s building a knowledge base for your virtual assistant or identifying population health trends, it’s only becoming more prevalent. And 2021 is definitely going to be a good year for trends in AI and robotics. Here are some examples of what’s on the horizon:
- Moxi: a smart hospital droid who is helping hospitals with tasks as diverse as triage/taking vitals to organizing EHRs. We joke that “the robot will see you now,” but robotics in healthcare are only growing and improving, which may make this closer to the mark than we thought.
- Autonomous cars: driverless technology has been around for well over a decade and TESLA isn’t the only option before you. Self-driving (or almost self-driving) cars are going to be available in all of their 2021-edition glory from makers like Cadillac, Nissan, BMW and Infiniti.
- New AI for Work: one of the most relevant innovations in AI is going to relate to your work from home life. Holographic meeting, gamification of strategic planning, boardroom simulations and more are emerging as platforms adapt to the reality of a remote workforce.
2. 5G and Upgraded Connectivity
As Verizon unleashes its much-anticipated 5G technology in even more locations, new possibilities are released. With more bandwidth, things like AR and VR fueled tech, cloud based gaming and even telemedicine will get a boost. Realtime, on-demand and uninterrupted connections will transform the way we use technology on the go. After all, when you can stream, send or sell from any location, there is no downtime.
Here’s what’s coming:
- Experts expect that there will be 600 million 5G smartphones in use in 2021
- By 2022, about half of all smartphones will have 5G
- Cisco reported that broadband speeds will double and Wi-Fi and mobile speeds will triple by 2023
- Cisco further predicts that global average download speeds on a fixed broadband connection will get to 110.4 Mbps by 2023
While 5G was deployed in 2020, many analysts see 2021 being the year it really takes off.
3. Internet of Behavior
IoB ecosystems are the future. The trending Internet of Behavior is predicted to digitally track (and influence) user behavior for 40% of the world’s population by 2023. If the Internet of Things (IoT) was all about interconnectivity, IoB uses behavioral science, data and tech to drive consumer behavior. While some people think this sounds a little too much like coercion, others acknowledge that IoB driven systems can create custom web experiences that reduce time and maximize productivity.
The IoB translates the nameless and faceless entities of the internet into a people-centric environment. The data is already there (what you do and how you behave online). In an IoB context, all of that info shapes the experience you have online. For better or worse, IoB is poised to scale considerably in 2021.
4. Cybersecurity Mesh
COVID-19 meant that thousands of people were working from home and shopping online. A hacker’s paradise. And hack, they did. 2020 was a rough year for cyberattacks, seeing some of the most epic trojans, malware episodes and series upon series of damaging viruses. Experts were quick to respond.
Cybersecurity innovators are approaching safety in an architectural way. A cybersecurity mesh establishes a perimeter, which can protect networks and the individuals who use them. Perimeter protection is the first stage, after which there may need to be a “walled city.”
If this sounds a little knights-in-shining-armor, the concept isn’t too far off. Creating these infrastructures to protect sensitive data may be the simple (but genius) way to better monitor networks and keep hackers out.
5. Hyper Automation
Anything with the word “hyper” sounds awesome, right? Hyperspeed, hypermobility, hyper child. Scratch that last. Fact is, hyper automation actually trended in 2020 and isn’t slowing down. The vast quantity of information on the internet is undercutting the productivity and effectiveness of many information-driven businesses. For instance, conducting competitive intelligence is virtually impossible without automations.
Everything from project management to playing the stock market has enhanced degrees of automation. But standard automation isn’t enough to keep up with the rate of change on the internet. Which is why hyper automation is a thing.
Basically, accelerated digital businesses need agile and lightning fast processes to stay in the game. Here are some examples of what hyper automation actually uses:
- Robotic process automation (RPA) to replace manual effort (by humans)
- Machine learning (ML), in which data compounds to create new responses or generate new outcomes
- Artificial intelligence (AI), which is replacing a lot of processes using advanced technologies
When combined, these cutting edge technologies create uniquely powerful systems that can implement processes and achieve outcomes… in record time.
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