Emerging Technologies for Rapid Digital Transformation: Going Forward in 2021

It appears that the world of technology finally manages to catch up with the needs of consumers. It’s also becoming clear that we live in exponential times. 

That’s to say that emerging technology development accelerates at a rate quicker compared to previous years. We witness data points in tech media, showing us that there’s a high watermark for technological innovation on a daily basis. 

With this, however, come certain challenges. Companies need a constant effort, striving to adopt the trends in order to stay at least on pace with the curve. 

Back in 2017, a survey by ZDnet revealed the technologies that enterprises are focused on and the results were somewhat interesting. 

Business intelligence, analytics, and big data were clearly the trends dominating the field of emerging technology development

With this in mind, let’s have a look at some of the trends that are currently prevalent and expected to continue strongly in 2021. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence is a hot topic thrown around like candy through various digital transformation consulting seminars and not without a good reason. The technology has a multitude of applications and we’re seeing a great deal of focus oriented towards it in 2020 – something that’s expected to continue with full force going forward. 

AI is already used in its simplest forms to enhance customer experience through various applications such as chatbots. However, it can also be implemented to analyze interactions and determine underlying connections to provide proper insights. It can help to predict the demand for different services such as hospitals, enabling authorities to make more informed decisions and allocate their resources accordingly. This is particularly evident and necessary in the current environment of a looming global pandemic induced by the novel coronavirus COVID-19. 

Machine learning is somewhat of a subset of AI and it’s also being deployed in various industries. Not only that it creates a huge demand for knowledgeable professionals, but there are also predictions that the field of AI, automation, and machine learning would comprise 9% of the new jobs in the US by the year 2025.

RPA – Robotic Process Automation

Much like ML and AI, RPA is another emerging technology development trend that automates jobs otherwise handled by people. 

RPA takes advantage of software to automate various business processes. These include but are not limited to data handling and analytics, data entry, processing transactions, interpreting applications, and even replying to messages. In a nutshell – RPA is used to automate repetitive tasks. 

Of course, there are both benefits and drawbacks to it. While it’s forecasted that the technology is likely to take away around 230 million jobs in the US alone, it eliminates the human error factor which is quite considerable.

Edge Computing

Cloud computing, as evident from the survey shared above, is no longer a hot trend, even though it’s in huge demand. 

The quantity of data that organizations have to deal with continues to increase. This caused the realization that cloud computing comes with a set of disadvantages. This is where edge computing comes into the picture as part of the transformational emerging technology development trends.

Edge computing is oriented towards solving shortcomings by bypassing the latency that’s caused by cloud computing. Instead, it focuses on getting data to the data center for processing. In other words, it can exist “on the edge.” This is to say that it’s closer to where the computing needs tend to happen. 

For this reason, exactly, edge computing can be used to quickly process data that is time-sensitive and yet in remote locations where the connectivity is limited or tampered with. It’s expected that the global edge computing market will reach almost $7 billion in the next two years.

Quantum Computing

This is another trend that will only keep on being developed. It’s regarded as the next remarkable technology, presenting a form of computing that uses quantum phenomena such as quantum entanglement and superposition.

We can also see it being used in preventing the further spread of the coronavirus and to develop potential vaccines. This is mainly because of its ability to monitor, query, analyze, and act on information, regardless of where this data comes from. 

Quantum computing is also largely used in finance where hedge funds and traders would use quantum-based algorithms to identify optimal entry and exit points predominantly based on technical analysis. 

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

Going forward in 2021, we can expect both AR and VR to continue their further integration into our lives. 

They tend to work adjacent to other emerging technologies from the hereby list, but they do have tremendous potential in plenty of fields, including entertainment, education, marketing, training, and especially in rehabilitation. 

It could be used to train doctors to prepare for certain surgeries, it could also provide the opportunity for a museum to deeply showcase an experience and majorly expand its service offering – the examples are numerous. 

The global AR and VR market is widely expected to reach $210 billion by 2022 which is only two years from now, showcasing the tremendous room to grow.

Looking Forward

There are other trends that are likely to continually innovate in the field of digital transformation innovation. These include, but are not limited to the blockchain, the internet of things, 5G, cybersecurity, and so forth. 

However, the ones we’ve listed tend to have a predominant impact on a broader field. In any case, it’s particularly interesting to see how technology will continue reshaping industries as we know them. 

If technology has advanced so much in the past 60 years alone, do we dare to imagine what will be in another 60?