If we have learned one thing from 2020, it’s the essential role technology plays in our daily lives. The changing world has forced the majority of activities to be shifted online and the Covid-19 pandemic drastically fast-tracked this. As a society, we have created tools and resources that make our lives easier. Industries ranging from manufacturing to healthcare have been affected by digitization. This has broadened the market and the need for innovation. The Global Big Data Analytics Market was valued at USD 37.34 billion as of 2018 and it is expected to reach USD 105.08 billion by 2027. What does the future of technology in the workplace look like? Here is a shortlist of exciting emerging technologies in 2021;
1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
We have discussed the influence artificial intelligence has had on our lives, and how it is going to affect a variety of industries. In the future, we can expect this impact and the AI sector as a whole to grow exponentially. The CIO of JP Morgan & Chase Co, Rohan Amin, said “in 2021, we will see more refined uses of machine learning and artificial intelligence across industries, including financial services. There will be more noteworthy incorporation of AI and/or ML models and abilities into numerous business operations and processes to drive improved insights and better serve clients.”
Businesses are encouraged to incorporate AI software into existing programs and devices soon. For example, AI technologies have been embedded into cloud applications to maintain and access data faster. Many industries are embracing this in 2021. Financial planning and forecasting have been made easier through this process. As we find more applicable ways to use AI technologies, investments will continue to rise, “worldwide spending on artificial intelligence systems will be nearly $98 billion in 2023.” AI and ML are becoming more mainstream as we continue to learn about the benefits and new ways to use them.
We have discussed what automation is, but in 2021 we will see the emergence of hyper-automation – that automates automation. Essentially, “hyper-automation expands the capabilities of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) with AI, analytics, process mining, and other advanced technologies.” Hyperautomation has the opportunity to benefit businesses in many aspects; performance, engagement, efficiency, and more. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and a variety of other tools are used in this process to analyze data and make decisions.
Businesses are using hyper-automation to maximize ROI. Complex work can be automated by creating a digital workforce that completes jobs. Jobs like processing accounts payable, managing orders, or other document processing can be done through hyper-automation.
3. Virtual and Augmented Reality
During the pandemic, it is important to stimulate normality – especially in your work life. At the beginning of the crisis, virtual meetings became extremely popular. Since then, there has been a pivot towards virtual and augmented reality alternatives. In 2020, spending on VR and AR devices increased by nearly 50% from 2019 (USD 12 billion).
The education industry specifically has embraced virtual and augmented reality. Many schools have used VR headsets for classes like welding and automotive, which required hands-on teaching. VR headsets and other devices will likely be used post-pandemic because the in depth-experience “yields a 75% learning retention rate, higher than almost any other form of training”. Compare that to lectures and reading that only have a 5% – 10% retention rate.
Working remotely has affected nearly everyone – even healthcare. VR and AR solutions apply to the healthcare industry as well. As of 2019, “the global AR and VR digital healthcare market was estimated at $960 million” and by 2026 will reach over $7 billion.
AR is being used to improve healthcare professionals’ accuracy when finding a vein. The AccuVein Vein Finder is a portable device that finds a vein on the first try 98% of the time. In the upcoming years, many other jobs in the healthcare industry will be affected by both VR and AR.
In the next year, we can expect the fifth generation of cellular networks to expand exponentially. 5G has been growing since 2019 intending to provide better communication through phones. The pandemic has forced more people to use and rely on their phones – opening the market for 5G phones. When you’re stuck at home, trying to attend video meetings, investing in your phone is a priority to some individuals. By the end of 2020, 559 5G devices were announced with 60% of them expected to be commercially available. Recent trends show that by 2025, an estimated 49% of Canadians will adopt a 5G connection.
5G has a large bandwidth, meaning that it can be used on more devices and can reach 10 gigabits per second. Compared to 4G, it is up to 100 times faster, for example, “downloading a high-definition film over a 4G network can take 50 minutes on average – on 5G, it takes just nine.” Furthermore, a connection will be enhanced – even in crowded and busy areas where lots of devices are connected to 5G.
Not only will 5G enhance our social lives, but it will also affect many industries and society as a whole. Specifically, 5G will soon be used widely on production lines seen in the manufacturing industry. The cellular network allows for more flexibility in warehouses and to build smart factories. More broadly, 5G can help advance society through optimizing cross-sector innovation and building networks.
5. Blockchain Technology
Lastly, the pandemic has fast-tracked the growth and expansion of the blockchain market. By 2025, blockchain is expected to grow from $3 billion to $39.7 billion. Day-to-day business is relying more and more on blockchain-based technologies as they continue to grow in popularity and use. Blockchain technology can be used for much more than crypto-currency. It can be used to track the supply chain or even voting. Blockchains’ extreme visibility allows for enhanced security and easy traceability.
Technology is endlessly changing the way we live. Staying modern in an ever-changing world is extremely important in staying relevant and efficient. In the next year, we can expect major growth in AI & ML, hyper-automation, VR & AR, 5G, and blockchain.
Sangwa Solutions can provide you with a quote if you are looking to update your software, platforms, or devices. Talk to an expert today or read more about custom solutions here.