How today’s technology news will change business in 2021
We’re used to seeing various predictions on how technology developments will grow in popularity and impact our lives in the future. Over the years, some of these predictions have been spot on, whereas some technology news has not come anywhere close to making the impression the industry experts anticipated.
When it comes to future technology, one of the most interesting – and equally difficult – aspects is to do with predicting how these innovations will impact businesses and the way they operate.
Here we will take a look at how future technology predictions looked five years ago, comparing them with the actual impact, as well as take a look at some of the current predictions of what may happen in the next five years.
Three predictions from 2011
“We will be operating our computers through the power of our brains.”
The area of neural engineering has seen phenomenal growth over the last five years, mainly within the field of medicine and rehabilitation, as innovators have sparked projects that help to make life easier for people dealing with health and disability challenges.As for brain-controlled computer interfaces for the general public, there have been some mainstream experimentation – Google Glass was one step in the direction of hybrid bio-technology – but is still to make the expected impact across the board.
“We will all be making payments using our mobile phones.”
This is one development area which saw enormous hype five years ago, as the concept of mobile-integrated payments started making great strides on both Android and iPhone. However, the anticipated convergence of payment standards never quite happened. Instead, there was a great deal of market confusion around which platform to use: bespoke NFC (Near Field Communication) solutions, Apple Pay or Google Wallet. Today, the landscape of mobile payments is continuously being mapped out as the big retail giants are still choosing sides.
“3D printing will revolutionise the entire manufacturing industry.”
3D printing was introduced as the saving grace for small businesses and innovators wanting to stay in control of their own manufacturing cycle – particularly for producing prototypes and specialist components without first having to invest time and money into building manufacturer relationships.
Although the power of 3D printing has helped to shorten the production chain for specialist equipment, many experts within the 3D printing industry now believe that the real benefit of the technology is yet to be seen – quoting “food printing” as the next major area of innovation.
Three predictions for 2021
Integrated, wearable devices
As BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is now a firmly established concept, with IT users increasingly choosing which technology they want to use to do their job, the next big thing is expected to do with wearable devices. At the moment, the general use of wearable tech is limited to leisure functionality such as exercise tracking and on-the-go activity updates – but the model is expected to be adopted by organisations as a way to leverage staff availability, location tracking and other smart, intuitive digital services.
With the use of wearable tech alongside beacons and other location-sensitive devices the office is expected to become the next major connected ecosystem. This approach is demonstrated by the Berlin co-working space The Factory who work with beacon technology to integrate data on meeting room usage, movements of individuals and office maps.
Internet of Things
In the last couple of decades, intelligent devices have moved on from being limited to M2M (machine to machine) communications, to becoming a part of the Internet of Things (IoT). However, this concept is now growing into a much wider connectivity function, known as the Information of Everything. This entails IT and strategies that bring together data from all sorts of different sources, consolidating it into structured, intelligent patterns thanks to advanced classification and analysis tools. These ways of interpreting information will be critical, as the amount of Big Data continues to increase.
Devices are also expected to increasingly adopt advanced machine learning, as computers become capable of learning and adapting to their users and their environment. Gartner predicts that businesses that understand how to use advanced machine learning will gain a huge competitive advantage over the next five to ten years.
Developments in cyber security
The number of digital businesses is continuing to grow, which means that there will be an ever growing opportunity for hackers to disrupt operations for years to come. Hacker technologies are developing at the same rate as antivirus software; in some cases managing to stay one step ahead and creeping under the radar. This means that businesses will need to invest in much more adaptive security models in the future, with the ability to deal with more sophisticated intrusions.
One example of innovative data protection is a new chip from Xerox which can be remotely destroyed on demand. It is designed to store highly sensitive, encrypted information and it can be instructed to shatter into millions of pieces that are impossible to put back together.
Whether technology predictions get it right or wrong, businesses across all industries should keep an eye on technology news and attempt to stay up to date on innovation in order to prepare for the potential impact of these trends and movements. There is no need to always be an early adopter, but your business can definitely benefit from pre-empting major changes and disruptions to the technology you rely on.