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Trends in tech change quickly, and it can be difficult to pinpoint what will fade out in a few months and what will become a game-changer for businesses or consumers. However, the unique circumstances of 2020—which saw businesses, schools, shopping and other activities move largely online—resulted in the emergence and accelerated adoption of several tech tools and systems.
But which of these 2020 tech trends are destined to stick around and perhaps be refined in 2021? Below, 13 industry leaders from Forbes Technology Council share their predictions for the technologies that will continue to dominate in the months to come.
Automate, automate, automate! Anything that can be automated should be. To reach the speed you need, your IT operations must be agile—automation is crucial because it allows you to move faster. Imagine if you had the software and a ready-to-go, programmable infrastructure that helped you easily create new services. What if you could launch them in a fraction of the time and cost it takes now? – Ghufran Shah, Metsi Technologies Ltd.
The single biggest trend that emerged in 2020 is the rise and acceptance of video telepresence. The rapid adoption of telepresence has and will continue to transform the way we interact with people on a day-to-day basis, from remote services to virtual offices. The possibilities, including remote education and telehealth, will continue to become increasingly immersive through augmented and virtual realities and new sensors that will further digitize the physical world throughout 2021 and beyond. – Mahesh Saptharishi, Motorola Solutions
The telehealth sector saw its biggest boom by far in 2020. On average, physicians have seen approximately 100 times more patients than they would have normally because of this technology. We are also now seeing more “virtual operating room” solutions than ever before. This technology is very different from FaceTime and will continue to evolve just as electronic medical records did. – Donny Patel, Baxter International Inc.
The cloud has become pivotal for organizations quickly moving to remote work. But to sustain a high level of privacy and security in the cloud, organizations will continue to adopt a DataSecOps approach. This will help IT and data scientists collaborate to ensure security is an integrated, assumed component of an organization’s IT architecture and protect data throughout the data analytics pipeline. – Ameesh Divatia, Baffle, Inc.
5. Artificial Intelligence And Machine Learning
The growing use of AI and ML was a major trend in 2020. The pandemic has taught us how to leverage digital systems and complement them with human interactions. Healthcare, education, finance, logistics and supply chains would all benefit from AI. We also see the rise in cybersecurity solutions as businesses start to understand the need to protect their data as their network becomes highly interconnected. – Kumar Ritesh, CYFIRMA
6. MLOps Platforms
In 2020 we have seen an increase in the need for machine learning operation platforms as companies struggle to operationalize and run ML in production. MLOps platforms are designed to bridge the current gap of DevOps for ML, solving model deployment monitoring and governance challenges. In 2021 we should expect to see wider adoption of such platforms, thus accelerating the time to value for machine learning. – Meeta Dash, Verta.ai
7. Quantum Computing For Cyber Warfare
Quantum computing will be refined and become a cyber-warfare tactic in 2021. Due to this, new cryptographic ciphers will emerge. Transport Layer Security 1.2 is no longer secure, so browsers need to update to TLS 1.3 to protect against hackers. Big players such as Google and Microsoft will make updates to their browsers, algorithms and servers—those that don’t will be susceptible to cyberattacks. – Gaurav Banga, Balbix
8. Robotic Deliveries
The concept of robotic delivery emerged in 2020. Due to the pandemic, many people do not have a way to safely procure necessities from stores themselves. However, with self-driving vehicles facilitating the transportation of goods, consumers can order essential items such as groceries from the convenience of their home. – Ashwini Choudhary, Recogni
Platform-as-a-service has enabled businesses to rapidly move online and adapt to the new norm of “remote everything.” Whether it is digital payments, mobile communication, online delivery or cloud hosting, essential PaaS products will continue to enable the new way businesses operate online. With scale, PaaS offerings will be more affordable, empowering more businesses. – Ahmad (Al) Fares, Celitech – Cellular Data Platform
Low-code/no-code really accelerated in 2020 as the tools got better and became more widely known. When the lockdown started, we were all told, “You need to digitally transform.” Low-code/no-code tools enabled smaller companies to do a lot without having to bring in an entire technical team. As we continue opening up, these tools will continue to provide high value. – David Moise, Decide Consulting
11. Drag-And-Drop Website Building
In 2021, we will see more drag-and-drop website plugins that make building a site easy for new entrepreneurs and digital veterans alike. More businesses are using technology that was previously out of their league in terms of their tech knowledge. This advancement will open the doors to some exciting technologies for people interested in starting an online business. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
12. Tech Tools For Remote Work
In 2020, we saw an unprecedented move toward remote work and distributed teams. This in turn led to improved tools and processes to accommodate and manage these newly remote workforces. This collection of tools, technologies and processes will continue to evolve and improve going into 2021. Teleconferencing tools in particular will add features and improve performance to meet the challenge. – Saryu Nayyar, Gurucul
13. Cloud Workplaces
Virtual communication will give way to the cloud workplace. In 2020, our ways of working didn’t change very much—they were just replicated on Zoom and Slack. With more workplaces going to a hybrid of in-person and remote in 2021, we have the opportunity to more intelligently rethink how we work together—how we can be more productive and collaborative across times and geographies. – Jennifer Smith, Scribe by Cursive