5 disruptive tech trends ready for business in 2021

As we roll toward 2021, here are five emerging technologies that may capture the attention of businesses in the new year.
20 November 2020

Budgets might have been shored up amid market uncertainty this year, but businesses have rarely valued information technology more.

From cloud computing and advanced cybersecurity to e-commerce platforms and loT in logistics, technology has played a significant role in mitigating the damage caused by a global pandemic. As a result, digital transformation strategies that may have been parked were quickly shifted into gear — it’s said that DX initiatives slated to take several years were compressed into a few short months.

As we roll toward 2021, here are five emerging technologies that may capture the attention of businesses in the new year.

Intelligent automation

A combination of machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), and robotic process automation (RPA) will form the essential ingredients of what Gartner has coined ‘hyper-automation’, or what the IDC called Intelligent Process Automation.

Intelligent automation (let’s just call it that, for now) encapsulates a powerful set of digital technologies that aim to transform organizations across every industry.

Often referred to as the next major phase of digital transformation, it will bring a new wave of automated business processes to provide superior customer experiences while reducing operational expenses and augmenting profitability.

Cloud innovation

Whether public, private, or hybrid, cloud has proven a game-changer for business continuity. Globally distributed businesses will increasingly rely on the cloud to support their operations and workforce, the greater part of which is working from home.

Cloud-enabled solutions will range from the on-premise public cloud, Internet of Things (IoT) edge cloud, 5G mobile edge cloud, and the global network edge cloud. According to McKinsey, cloud spend is expected to grow at more than six times the rate of general IT spending through 2020 and is expected to continue growing next year.

Cybersecurity will define the business

Greater reliance on the cloud and a continued shift to distributed work will exacerbate cybersecurity threats — there will be a bigger attack surface than ever before, with multiple new points of entry.

At risk of massive fines and loss of customer trust, advanced cybersecurity will be the top priority for prudent businesses. The cybersecurity tool and solution marketplace will answer with increasingly competitive and dynamic products. Given that the cybersecurity industry is facing a widening skills gap, we can reasonably expect investments in ‘intelligent’ cybersecurity systems to be the next best course of action.

Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS)

The massive shift to the cloud has made XaaS emerge a top tech trend for 2021. As-a-service model has the potential to drastically cut costs and simplify tech deployments.

Considered to be the pillars of cloud computing, services like Software-as-a-service (SaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) mean reduced on-premise costs and more value-added projects for the business.

The fundamental benefits of the ‘as a service’ model mean a shift from capital to operational expenditure, access to the latest technology, and scalability. Adapting to XaaS also translates to faster implementation turnaround time for new applications and business processes; and higher ROI margins.

Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) 

An interconnected world means that the Internet of Things (IoT) devices surround us in our everyday lives. Though IoT connects devices to the internet, it is artificial intelligence that gives them a mind of their own. The added intelligence in connected devices creates opportunities to improve a system’s efficiency, productivity, and reliability. Statistics showed 90% of organizations using AI for IoT operations are experiencing a greater and faster impact than expected.

AI-powered IoT (AIoT) devices will expedite the pace of industrial automation flagging predictive maintenance measures for the manufacturing and logistics industries. Its growth will be further accelerated in 2021 with the rollout of 5G.