2020 has been a rollercoaster of a year.
While the landscape of how we work has changed this year, there’s a lot of exciting developments that have also changed. With all of this rapid innovation, it’s important to come out of the gate swinging in 2021, and knowing the digitalization trends that are leading the pack can help set you up for success. We’ve curated a list of some of the things we think you should be keeping your eyes on.
One of the biggest digitalization tools this year has been the Cloud and the freedoms it’s allowed businesses. A report from Forrester found that 60% of companies will leverage containers on public cloud platforms by the end of 2021. Without the Cloud, many businesses wouldn’t have had the resources to continue to operate with a majority of the workforce working from home.
But alongside the move to public cloud services, you may or may not have heard about its sibling: The Hybrid cloud. What’s the Hybrid cloud? Simply put, the Hybrid cloud is a combination of a private cloud with one or more public cloud services. Having a private cloud stored onsite that communicates with the public cloud(s) you use has its benefits.
The amount of power you need to run your business might change throughout the year. A big release might put a strain on your internal servers, so with a Hybrid cloud structure, you could leverage additional power with the public cloud temporarily instead of having to run both year-round.
In a similar vein, this means that your business doesn’t have to strictly use a private cloud. Hybrid cloud structures mean a lot less data needs to be stored onsite — freeing up your server space and letting you focus on the important data that needs to be kept close to home (like user data, patient data, or other confidential information.)
With a rise in cyber-attacks (which we’ll dive deeper into in the next section) it makes sense that businesses of all sizes are exploring options with the Hybrid cloud. We know we’ll be keeping an eye on it.
With the switch to remote work, cyber-attacks and threats have increased dramatically. As I write this blog, our company received a mass phishing email this morning. Luckily nothing was compromised, and no one fell for it, but attackers aren’t slowing down. PR Newswire reports that there have been 4,000 cyber attacks a day since the start of the pandemic. With all of these attacks piling up, it’s expected that global ransomware damage costs will reach $20 billion next year.
The good news is that businesses are shifting gears and beefing up their defenses. The pandemic has caused business owners to rethink how they handle their organization’s security. A PwC survey found that 96% of CEO respondents said that they changed their cybersecurity strategy in response to the pandemic, and 50% said that they are more likely to consider cybersecurity in every business decision now — a 100% increase from the previous year. There’s been a massive, rapid push to adopt digitalization tools, and with it there’s been fears that data could remain unsecure. Solutions like the hybrid cloud are a way to make sure data stays in the right hands.
But who is on the forefront of cybersecurity tech? Are businesses struggling to stay secure as cyber attackers leverage the latest tools? The bell hasn’t rung yet, and businesses look like they’re about to hit their second wind.
Innovation in the cybersecurity space is at an all-time high. There’s been a burst in cyber startups that are growing fast and have received multiple multimillion dollar investment rounds. The move to the cloud has also allowed for much faster response times to threats.
There’s fast movement happening on both fronts in the cybersecurity world, and 2021 is sure to be full of surprises.
5G has been in the spotlight for some time, but is it really worth all of the hype?
According to IDC, in 2019 there were approximately 10 million wireless connections with 5G. By 2023, it’s expected that over 1 billion wireless connections will exist — a 217.2% annual growth rate in just 5 years. With a much larger rollout expected in 2021, 5G will open up a ton of new possibilities that weren’t possible with 4G. So how much better is 5G? John Walsh, Accenture’s group chief executive for communications, media & technology says:
“With the anticipated capability to connect 10 times more devices per square kilometer, ultra-reliable low latency of less than 1 ms, and speeds up to 100 times faster than today’s mobile technology, it will bring a massive new wave of product and service innovations that benefit both business and society.”
Some of the most prevalent use cases 5G has for the future of communication include IoT and artificial intelligence. With incredibly low latency and potential 10,000% faster speeds, things that weren’t possible with 4G suddenly start looking very doable. Self-driving cars that require rapid calculations, high-accuracy medical equipment, advanced robotics, and mass communication between IoT devices are just a few applications of 5G’s robust capabilities.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Whether it’s managing simple chat bots or solving a 50-year-old problem in the biology field, AI and machine learning continue to impress. In fact, according to Analytics Insight, 77% of the devices we use every day are using some form of machine learning already. Its usefulness and list of applications grow every year, which is why it should be no surprise to see it on this list. However, what trends can you expect to see in 2021?
Have you ever heard of Hyperautomation? As defined by Gartner:
“Hyperautomation deals with the application of advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), to increasingly automate processes and augment humans. Hyperautomation extends across a range of tools that can be automated, but also refers to the sophistication of the automation (i.e., discover, analyze, design, automate, measure, monitor, reassess.)”
With the massive uptick of people working from home and businesses continuing to operate remotely, companies are beginning to look at what redundant processes can be taken over by AI. Hyperautomation doesn’t mean less jobs, it means a reprioritization of what’s being done and an avenue for human-machine collaboration. With the redundancies taken care of, this can open up more time for innovation.
VR, AR, and... XR!
The virtual reality and augmented reality industries haven’t had the best year due to the pandemic. However, according to a report from Strategy Analytics, VR and AR (as well as combined experiences called “XR”) will potentially play a key role in coming years thanks to the “new normal.”
In the report, some of the key findings include:
- XR hardware revenues will overtake $28 billion annually in 2025
- Total XR shipments — combined VR and dedicated AR headsets — will increase sixfold through 2025
- 2021 and 2022 will see a ‘slight comeback’ for smartphone-tethered VR headsets due to the rise of 5G networks
Image by Strategy Analytics
2020 required businesses to nail down their priorities as they switched to remote and cloud-based solutions. In 2021, it’s expected that combined, XR headsets and AR experiences will begin to see a much wider use. Whether it’s for training purposes, collaborative design, or social engagement, the combined forces of these technologies can bring people together from anywhere.
With a new year knocking at your door — we’re here to help. If you’re ready to take the next step with your technology and discover what’s possible, let’s start talking strategy. We’ll get to know your organization, your goals, and your existing tech infrastructure before mapping the journey to your moonshot so you can reach your greatest potential.