With each passing year, technological innovations seem to occur more and more rapidly. As the COVID-19 pandemic has collectively turned our way of life on its head, technology has been forced to evolve and adapt at speeds we’ve never experienced.
In order to survive, businesses are doing what they can to acclimate under new and changing conditions, whether that be shifting to a remote workforce, utilizing new technologies, or diversifying into new offerings.
Adapting under such difficult circumstances isn’t easy. However, there is a silver lining in that challenges like this one can be a breeding ground for innovation. As we move into the new year, we’re taking a look at the technology trends and industries that may enable us to better adapt to our shifting environment in the coming year and beyond.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence (AI) is certainly not a new emerging tech trend, but it is one that still is in its early stages. AI has been a buzzy topic for a while, and the market is anticipated to reach $190.61 billion USD by 2025. The 2018 report by MarketsandMarkets attributed market growth drivers to growing big data, increased adoption of cloud-based apps and services, and increased demand for intelligent virtual assistants. Since this report was produced, we have seen increased capability and use cases for AI, ranging from healthcare to social media. As AI continues to advance and mature, it is expected to further weave itself into how we live and work.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) of common, repetitive tasks and processes is another trend that will continue to grow into the new year as the technology evolves. RPA has been used to automate physical tasks such as warehouse picking, cleaning, deliveries, etc. Now, the technology has grown in breadth from simple tasks to include the automation of entire business processes, such as replying to emails or processing transactions. In the wake of COVID-19, RPA can also offer a means by which to efficiently reduce human contact, thus potentially lessening the spread of the virus.
Edge computing isn’t a new trend, but it has been accelerated in recent years due to the growth of cloud computing and machine learning. Edge computing is designed to help solve the latency issue caused by cloud computing by getting data closer to where computing needs to happen.
Edge computing reduces the amount of data that needs to be sent over the network, which means more privacy and less lag time for critical, time-sensitive data.
While much of the adoption of edge computing has been with IoT systems in industries like manufacturing, it is expected to continue to become more commonly used as devices such as drones, robots, and autonomous vehicles continue to become more widely adopted. By 2025, it’s estimated that the global edge computing market will grow to $15.7 billion USD.
Internet of Behaviors (IoB)
Internet of Behaviors (IoB) is a somewhat controversial tech trend that is just beginning to emerge. IoB describes how organizations are using technology to track human behaviors and then process those behaviors as data that be later used by larger organizations to influence behavior. This data can be pulled from sources such as customer data, government agencies, social media, use of facial recognition in the public domain, location tracking, etc. Of course, there are ethical implications that will need to be addressed with this technology as it matures, and as privacy becomes more of a concern for consumers.
One industry that has been forced to accelerate significantly over the last year is digital healthcare. The pandemic has accelerated the need for accessible, scalable, and sustainable digital healthcare solutions as we collectively try to get the spread of the virus under control. In the coming year, solutions like telemedicine, big data analytics, smart devices, AI, and machine learning will all likely play larger roles in how we receive healthcare.
Remote Work Infrastructure
Working remotely has experienced increased adoption over the past few years, but due to the pandemic, has become the new normal. With this sharp increase in remote workers, many companies will need to find long-term solutions for the challenges presented by working from home, whether it be through automation, new HR technology, or investment in tools that make remote work easier for employees.
What trends and emerging trends are you looking forward to seeing grow the most in the coming year? Head over to our Twitter to let us know.
This material is for informational purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the industries mentioned. It is not intended as a recommendation nor an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any particular security. An industry’s past performance is not a guarantee or predictor of future growth.