By Hannah Massen
Savvy small business owners and forward-thinking companies alike are turning technology into a competitive advantage – which means that keeping up with the latest tech trends is no longer optional.
Because digital infrastructure is now considered essential infrastructure, 2021 is the time to leverage technology to make better business decisions, streamline your workflow, and deliver superior services. Whether you’re fluent in Java or still struggle with your iPhone (no judgment there), getting comfortable with complex systems should be at the top of your resolutions list.
Here’s a breakdown of the biggest tech trends that will be dominating headlines – and boardrooms – this year.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence, the simulation of the human intelligence process by machines, might seem like something out of a dystopian novel. But if you’ve ever taken an Uber, asked Siri a question, or set up a spam filter on your email, you’ve already used it. Some businesses are already using AI for customer service calls or as a fraud detection mechanism, but this year, AI may provide more executives with sophisticated, data-driven models to guide their business decisions.
5G technology is a thing of both the present and the future. The next generation of technology will use millimeter waves for inter-device communication and is capable of overcoming current bandwidth constraints by increasing Internet traffic and reducing latency down to a millisecond. It also has the potential to power artificial intelligence, voice command technologies, and real-time data analytics. Faster internet speeds, increased traffic, and seamless tech integration are just a few business benefits you can expect to see in the coming months.
As the quantity of data we’re dealing with continues to increase, we’ve realized the shortcomings of cloud computing in situations where data needs to be transferred between devices quickly. Edge computing is designed to help solve some of those problems as a way to bypass the latency caused by cloud computing. This new technology keeps data “on the edge,” closer to where computing needs to happen and can be used to process time-sensitive data just about anywhere. By 2022, the global edge computing market is expected to reach $6.72 billion and create jobs for software engineers and IT professionals.
Augmented reality (AR)
You may have worn a virtual reality headset and seen a 360-view of the pyramids, the Amazon, or a naval ship. But augmented reality doesn’t just immerse users in an environment – it enhances their environment. Using AR, businesses will give their customers a whole new way to interact with their brand. Whether customers can give a photo of themselves a realistic “makeover” or see a 3D model when they hover a device over a 2D sheet of paper, AR offers endless opportunities for engagement.
Internet of things (IoT)
More and more “things” are being built with WiFi connectivity, meaning they can connect to the internet – and each other. The IoT already has benefited consumers by bringing everything from home appliances to smartwatches online, but businesses are set to reap even more rewards. The IoT market is expected to reach $520 billion this year because it has the potential to enable predictive maintenance, increase delivery speeds, provide insight into consumer behaviors, and other possibilities we haven’t even dreamed of yet.
“Because digital infrastructure is now considered essential infrastructure, 2021 is the time to leverage technology to make better business decisions.”