2020 has been a year that has revolutionized all of humanity and that has pushed us to question the established systems. Technology had and will continue to play a fundamental role in business change, enabling new business models. Redesigning everything from how we approach our business strategy, modernizing the way we work, to the evolution of supply chains towards systems that add more value.
What will we see in 2021?
We already have new data optimization techniques in place that drive machine learning and we can see how the demand for virtual trust will continue to revolutionize the cybersecurity architecture for data protection. We will see how the line between the physical and virtual worlds rapidly disappear, but at the same time, we will continue to seek more humane experiences that reinforce global equity initiatives.
The acceleration of digital transformation will continue its course, in 2021 we will see advances and changes in technologies and business innovations. Which possibly without the pandemic situation would not have seen the light until a couple of years further and today they are present and developing rapidly.
2021 Goal: Human and technological conjugation
2021 trends have a technological component, focused on creating human needs and society backbone. This conjugation is the centre of all the developments and the opportunity to reap the learning that 2020 has left us.
TREND 1: Contactless-tech. Contactless deliveries and shipments will continue.
The new normal brings contactless logistics operations, forcing companies to implement alternative processes. People will continue needing to minimize physical contact, so new business models and redesign of shipping solutions will keep seeing the light in 2021.
Startups like DoorDash, Postmates, and Instacart are examples of new models adapting to the post-Covid consumer needs.
The Meituan application was the first company to implement the use of autonomous vehicles in Wuhan. By doing so, they were able to satisfy food order deliveries during the pandemic. This technology, although it was in the testing phase since 2019, was accelerated last year and is now a service that is constantly improving.
Robotics and artificial intelligence will be two technologies that will be very present as tools that are used to generate shipping and delivery solutions that meet the expectations of consumers and the environment.
TREND 2: IoB Internet of Behaviour
IoB is based on the use of data to trigger changes in behaviour. With an increase in technologies that accumulate the “digital dust” of daily life (data that spans both the digital and physical worlds), this information can be used to influence behaviours through feedback loops.
For example, for commercial vehicles, driving behaviours can be monitored virtually, from sudden braking to aggressive cornering. Transportation companies can use this knowledge to improve driver performance as well as safety measures.
IoB can collect, combine, and process data from many sources, such as business data, government agency data, social media, facial recognition, and locations. Therefore, this technology has great ethical and social implications according to the objectives and results of each application, which must be treated to ensure the balance and homogeneous benefit of its application. Keep in mind that each country’s privacy laws will have a great impact on the application, adoption, and growth of the IoB.
TREND 3: Increased momentum of 5G, new applications, and infrastructure.
Without a doubt, the demand for faster internet, better-connected homes and organizations, smart cities, and autonomous mobility are some of the driving needs for the advancement of 5G technology. In 2021 we will see new infrastructures and application or service development updates from both large corporations and new ventures.
Many telcos are on the way to offering 5G, Australia has been a forerunner by launching it before the pandemic. Verizon announced a major expansion of the 5G network in October 2020, which will reach more than 20 million people. China is another country that has focused its efforts on expanding the network quickly. However, Ericsson leads the application of 5G globally.
The startup world is not lagging, proposing new applications and business models using this technology. Some global examples:
Novalume, help municipalities to manage the street lighting network and smart city data through sensors.
Nido Robotics uses drones to explore the seabed. Through 5G networks, these drones help to navigate better and use IoT to communicate with devices on board the ship.
South Korea’s Seadronix uses 5G to help power autonomous ships. 5G networks allow devices to work together in real-time and help vessels travel unmanned.
5G technology development and the beginnings of 6G will drive smart city projects globally and support the autonomous mobility sector in 2021. It will be something remarkably interesting during the year, of which we must not lose track.
TREND 4: AI, robotics, IoT, and industrial automation are growing rapidly.
In 2021 we expect to see high demand and rapid growth for artificial intelligence and industrial automation technology. As production and supply chains become fully functional again, a labour shortage is anticipated that could cause a serious problem. Automation, powered by artificial intelligence, robotics, and the Internet of Things, will be a key alternative solution to adapt to the times.
Increased demand for ethical AI: In the past, there have been cases where companies adopting machine learning and other AI technologies paid little attention to their ethical impact. However, today, consumers and employees expect that the adoption of this and other technologies will be sustainable and responsible. Over the next few years, companies will choose to do business with partners who are committed to data ethics and adopt responsible information management practices. Companies that can generate a competitive model but that is aligned with the values of the company and the people.
More about Robotics: https://ignasisayol.com/en/the-age-of-robots-here-and-now/
TREND 5. Use Acceleration of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technologies.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have grown significantly in 2020. These immersive technologies can now be part of everyday life, from entertainment to business. The arrival of COVID-19 has driven the adoption of this technology as companies turned to a remote work model, where this technology could be a tool for collaboration and communication.
AR and VR are technologies that have the potential to transform all business sectors. Its applications in the form of AR avatars, AR navigation, remote assistance, AI integration with AR and VR, AR and VR in mobility, AR in the cloud, eye tracking, and facial expression recognition will have great traction in 2021. Hand in hand with the 5G network growth and applications, the adoption of AR and VR will accelerate considerably.
These technologies will play an important role in shaping our world soon, not only because of their various applications, they will be the first steps to endless developments of virtualized technologies.
2021 will mark the beginning of a decade that will require a response to digital acceleration and proactively managing uncertainty. If the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic has helped one thing, it is to familiarize ourselves with uncertainty. Also, to focus on developing businesses that add value and are sustainable in the long term. Questioning is undoubtedly important. Change must be in accordance with the present that we live in, with flexibility and projection towards the future.
After a complex 2020, a challenging 2021 awaits us where we will continue to live with uncertainty. That should not be a barrier to develop our digital transformation projects and the implementation of new business models that are more adapted to this new normality, which is evolutionary and changing.