Dave Sasson, Chief Strategy Officer – Hanu, shares his view on key trends shaping the IT landscape in 2021
To say 2020 was a year of disruption is an understatement. As the COVID-19 pandemic shook the world, businesses have scrambled to adapt. For instance, a Gartner survey found that 82% of companies will allow employees to work remotely after the pandemic ends.[i] And while some changes would be temporary, others are likely here to stay
To overcome these challenges and ensure success, organizations are turning to technology and innovation. It’s this imperative that will drive the most significant technology trends of 2021. Without further ado, here are the top five:
1. Artificial intelligence adoption and use cases will grow
While many AI issues remain – insufficient talent, lack of trust, poor data quality – we can expect to see AI begin to flourish in 2021. We may get entirely new use cases like holographic meetings for remote teams, intelligent edge computing experiences, and personalized manufacturing.
More practically, we’ll see AI boost productivity, particularly as companies deal with workplace disruption, whether remote or for those returning to the office. AI will be used for customer service agent augmentation, intelligent document extraction, and health tracking for those returning to work.
To accommodate their increased reliance on AI, companies will look for ways to increase trust and security around the data they give to machine learning algorithms. Regulators and consumer interest groups demand data audit trails ensure compliance with privacy and data laws. Here, Blockchain will prove a valuable tool in ensuring data integrity is maintained.
2. Distributed cloud services will expand
Evolving out of the progress of edge computing, distributed cloud involves placing cloud services in different locations while keeping these services under cloud providers’ operation and governance.
Having cloud operations closer to the servers and devices that use them enables low-latency connections and easier administration between private and public cloud infrastructure. The result is unprecedented performance combined with reduced risk of network outages or control plane issues.
Gartner expects that by 2024, most cloud service providers will have distributed cloud services available to their clients.[i] Distributed clouds will be an extension of the public cloud’s core value proposition – namely support, productivity, and innovation.
3.Virtual desktop infrastructure becomes the norm
With modern digital workplaces becoming more relevant than ever on a global scale, companies are providing their teams with virtual desktop and laptop infrastructure via the cloud..
There are several advantages to this. As with all things cloud, the ability to pay a monthly – or even hourly – subscription price instead of acquiring physical hardware can save a significant amount of money.
But the benefits go beyond cost savings. With virtual desktops, employees can access their workstations from any location and through any device, significantly increasing productivity. Security is also enhanced, as workstations can be updated automatically, and access to data or applications can be provided or revoked with the touch of a button. Previously, this would have required an IT person to access an employee’s desktop physically.
4. Cloud usage will grow thanks to containerization, serverless infrastructure, and disaster recovery demands
While public cloud growth rates dipped slightly in 2019, they were surging by mid-2020. In 2021, Forrester predicts that the cloud infrastructure market will grow by 35% in 2021.[i]
Forrester sees two trends fueling the cloud boom. [i] The first is serverless and container infrastructure. Pre-pandemic, roughly 20% of developers were using containers to create and modernize applications. Forrester estimates that number to increase to 25%-30% by the end of 2021. This will cause the demand for public cloud containers and serverless services to spike.
Cloud-based Disaster Recovery (DR) will also see a spike in 2021. The pandemic proved challenging for any company unable to recover data from an outage and has caused many to refocus on increasing resiliency. Forrester predicts a 20% increase in enterprises shifting DR operations to the public cloud. [i]
5. The Internet of behavior will begin to bridge the gap between online and physical spaces
As we’ve seen in many examples throughout the last decade, companies can influence a user’s behavior on the Internet. But in 2021, Gartner predicts an extension of this trend to the “real world.” Dubbed the Internet of Behavior (IoB), organizations will begin using IoT devices that gather data about the physical world to influence physical behaviors.
One example of this is the recent COVID-19 protocol monitoring application, which helps individuals avoid certain areas and make safer decisions. Another is the use of telematics to monitor drivers for sudden braking and aggressive turns to improve driver performance and safety.
Another use case is wearables, which insurance providers already use to track physical activity and biomarkers for use in premium calculations.
It’s worth noting that the privacy and ethical considerations around IoB are hard to ignore. Companies that wish to leverage IoB will need to be aware of each region’s privacy laws they do business in.
At Hanu, we have witnessed some of these key trends in our work with technology-ahead customers and partners. We believe 2021 would be a turning point for the new phase of digital technologies.
Want to learn more about how Hanu can help your business succeed as we transition into a post-COVID world?