A new year means new technology and advancements. With a seemingly endless amount of technology and innovations being created daily, it can be challenging for businesses to pinpoint which technologies are worth the investment. In 2020, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in immense disruption for organizations, influencing technology adoption and requiring agile strategies. Global research and advisory firm, Gartner, recently released their predictions for the upcoming year’s top tech trends that CIOs and executives need to consider. Many of these trends highlight how organizations can maintain continuity amid changing or unforeseen conditions moving forward. Gartner’s tech trends for 2021 are as follows…
- Internet of Behaviors (IoB)
- Total Experience
- Privacy-Enhancing computation
- Distributed cloud
- Anywhere Operations
- Cybersecurity mesh
- Intelligent composable business
- AI engineering
Continue reading to explore each trend and find out their benefits.
1) Internet of Behaviors:
The Internet of Behaviors, also referred to as IoB, utilizes collected user data to influence behaviors. This data is mined from various sources, including actions on a company’s website, social media profiles, computer vision, sensors or RFID tags, and more.
An example of this is setting up computer vision on work devices. Computer vision can analyze employees’ faces and detect if they are wearing a face mask. If they are not wearing a face mask, it can remind the employee and alert this information to other stakeholders in the company.
Accordingly, there are ethical implications with the IoB as it collects data on users and attempts to change their behaviors. The data collected can also have varying levels of intrusiveness due to the technology being able to capture a wide variety of personal information. Laws on the IoB vary widely, which will play a critical role in adopting and advancing this tech trend.
2) Total Experience:
Total experience links the customer, user, and employee experiences together using multi-experience. Multi-experience utilizes various technologies to engage and interact with consumers. Therefore, total experience focuses on leveraging different technologies to create a more seamless process for customers, users, and employees.
Gartner’s tech trends report provided an example of a telecommunications company improving its total experience by interlinking both customer and employee in-store experiences to enforce social distancing guidelines. Specifically, the telecommunications company leveraged its consumer-facing app for scheduling appointments, geo-tracking, and push notifications to manage the customer’s in-store experience in a safe, orderly way. Simultaneously, employees in the store leveraged digital kiosks to service the customer as well as personal tablets to co-browse customers’ devices, thus avoiding the need to touch consumers’ devices.
So instead of perfecting the customer, user, and employee experiences independently, they should be thought of as one experience and flow harmoniously into each other. Meanwhile, integrating various technology solutions into these experiences will help automate tasks, improve efficiencies, guide customers and staff, maintain social distancing guidelines, engage customers, and more.
3) Privacy-enhancing computation
Privacy-enhancing computation aims to protect personal information in the following ways:
- Provide a safe environment for sensitive data to be processed and analyzed.
- Perform processing and analytics in a decentralized manner.
- Transform data and algorithms before processing or analytics.
Privacy enhancing computation is becoming increasingly important because as teams become more geographically widespread and more people require access to sensitive information, the demand for digital and online protection also grows. Privacy enhancing computation also allows for better collaboration while not compromising security.
4) Distributed cloud
The purpose of distributed cloud is to have cloud providers implement their services near their customers. Perks of having cloud services physically closer to customers include reducing low-latency, decreasing data costs, and complying with laws that require data to remain in a specified geographical location. Additionally, businesses are not accountable for managing their cloud when using distributed cloud, which can be an expensive and elaborate responsibility.
5) Anywhere Operations
Anywhere operations is an IT model that allows businesses to operate…from anywhere. This means employees can work remotely and companies can operate from nearly anywhere in the world, and still complete their tasks. However, this does not mean that employees and businesses must always be remote.
Anywhere operations require businesses to become digital-centric. This means digital processes and operations should be the default for organizations. Therefore, business is less likely to be interrupted due to things such as social distancing guidelines and inclement weather. Lastly, physical stores still have a place in business, but the stores should adopt digital processes like contactless payment. Anywhere operations minimizes downturns in business due to foreseen and unforeseen circumstances (such as COVID-19).
6) Cybersecurity mesh
An increase in remote workers equates to more opportunities for online security to be compromised. Cybersecurity mesh allows users to safely access digital information, files, and assets securely from anywhere geographically.
To create a cybersecurity mesh, companies need to take security measures outside of the ‘normal’, physical location where information was originally intended to be accessed…which in most cases is the company office(s). To do so, businesses should implement scalable cloud models that set user identity as the security parameter. This way, employees can securely access company information and assets anywhere around the globe without worrying about data leaks.
7) Intelligent Composable Business
Successful businesses can quickly adapt their processes, operations, and model based on data. Therefore, intelligent composable business means as technology continues to transform, it is vital that companies:
- Have greater access to all pertinent information.
- Gather more insightful findings from the information.
- Adapt their model based on their findings.
Furthermore, autonomy will be essential in helping companies quickly adapt so outdated processes do not delay businesses. Find out more information on automation by reading trend nine below.
8) AI Engineering
Gartner’s findings reveal that only 53% of artificial intelligence projects make it from prototype to production. Therefore, many AI projects appear to lack resources, scalability, and internal company support.
That’s where AI engineering comes into the equation. The foundation of AI engineering is made of three pillars – DataOps, ModelOps, and DevOps. Thus, AI engineering is essentially lifecycle management for artificial intelligence projects. More planning, strategy, team-members, financial backing, etc., increases the likelihood of AI projects making it to production. Therefore, giving the AI projects a chance to make a profit. Also, it’s important to note that once an AI project does come to production, it is easier for the product to evolve as new technology and findings are revealed.
As Gartner’s top tech trend of 2020, hyperautomation landed another spot on this year’s list. Hyperautomation is automating anything in a business that can be automated. If processes are left un-automated, companies are likely operating less efficiently than they could be and are therefore missing out on profit. Working at less than optimal efficiency also makes organizations more susceptible to falling behind competitors.
Businesses in all industries can implement these tech trends, not just companies in the technology sector. Furthermore, companies can cherry-pick which trends they wish to implement in their business. However, it is essential to note that technology tends to be more efficient and successful when combined with other technologies.
Which tech trends do you think will be the most vital during 2021? Let us know in the comments below. Interested in learning more about how technology can help your business? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a consultation to learn how we can help.