Let’s face it—2020 has been a pretty tough and disruptive year for everyone in the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this current reality, we’re still charging on into the future.
New advances in technology are still disrupting our lives—in many cases—for the best. Note that some of them are already in place, but they are still evolving and changing at a rapid pace, meaning the impact of these advances will only amplify.
Here is a list of top disruptive technologies we are seeing in 2021:
- 3D Printing
- 5G and Improved Connectivity
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
- Automation and Robotics
- Cyber Security Advances
- Edge Computing
- Virtual and Augmented Reality
- Headless Tech
- The Rise of “As-a-Service” Computing
- The Work-From-Home Revolution
- Voice-Activated Searches
While we don’t yet have matter replicators like seen on Star Trek, 3D printing is a good start. With the proper equipment, software, and raw material, we can “print” various objects. This chart shows how 3D printing use is rising and where it’s projected to go.
Since 3D printing lets people create what they need in-house, the technology could disrupt mass-production manufacturing and goods transportation.
5G and Improved Connectivity
Fifth-generation mobile connectivity is here, providing more incredible speed and higher quality video streaming. This increased speed will make remote working a more viable option because you have compatibility with previous versions of the protocols, higher global connectivity, more bandwidth and video capacity, tighter security controls, and more. There will be countless opportunities in this mobile networking field as it continues to grow and evolve.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
AI is already a big part of our lives, but it hasn’t reached its full potential in either capabilities or ubiquity. Although artificial intelligence is making significant inroads in the customer service industry, it still has a long way to go.
Artificial intelligence helps businesses understand the changing nature of human habits and behavior and better predict the next hot item. AI developments result in more sophisticated algorithms, aiding marketers to adapt to new markets and trends.
Thanks to these benefits, AI is a technological field that can explode into a multi-trillion dollar industry.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning contribute significantly to automation and robotics, which leads us to:
Automation and Robotics
We’ve seen the rise of drones, self-driving trucks, and robots in the manufacturing sector, but this is just the beginning. There have already been gigabytes of text written about how robotics is a disruptive force in the workforce, replacing humans with cheaper, more reliable machines. It’s easy to find dire predictions of massive unemployment in the wake of a machine takeover. According to this article, over 120 million workers world-wide will need to be retrained over the next few years, owing to robots and AI.
While there will undoubtedly be some attrition in the labor force, the picture isn’t as bleak as the prophets of doom would have you believe. After all, greater numbers of robots and automated systems mean more professionals to program and maintain them. Those kinds of jobs pay more than simple assembly-line grunt work.
Our COVID-filled modern society and the unique demands demonstrate the potential usefulness of robots in administering care in assisted living situations, particularly for the elderly. Robots neither get sick nor spread infection, reducing risks for both the caregivers and their patients. Drones can handle contactless delivery of much-needed supplies such as medication.
Cyber Security Advances
Criminals practice their shady activities wherever people congregate, and since everyone’s online these days, we have cybercriminals to contend with. Even worse, cybercriminals have exploited the coronavirus crisis to their ends.
Fortunately, there are advances in cyber security to fight those threats. Because of advances in AI and machine learning, cyber security experts design better firewalls and intrusion detection tools.
Cyber-criminals will be the ones feeling the results of advances in this disruptive technology, so that's not a bad thing.
In the mainframe age, we had giant computers connected to “dumb” terminals. Eventually, this changed into the client-server model. Now, we have the cloud. As we have moved from model-to-model, a new one has emerged.
Edge computing is already one of the most disruptive technologies in IT. At a basic level, it is an automated way to get nearer to the cloud-like compute power you need, with better latency issues. It’s not so much eliminating the cloud as it is bringing it closer to you.
Edge computing offers less latency, increased security, and greater bandwidth. As edge computing takes off, it will continue to disrupt the larger cloud providers or shift more control to the companies that become more adept at implementing it.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
When a user gets placed in a computer-generated environment, that’s virtual reality (VR). When the user wears a headset or glasses and has computer-generated images projected onto their field of vision, that’s augmented reality (AR). Together, they comprise the field of extended reality (XR).
Fields such as healthcare and education stand to benefit significantly from VR and AR. VR can conduct medical diagnoses and examinations. Overcrowded classrooms or situations where children need to learn at home (there’s that coronavirus again) can benefit from XR solutions, assuring that every student gets the education they need without risking infection from a global pandemic.
XR methods could possibly revolutionize (i.e., disrupt) currently established means of medical practice and education.
No, this has nothing to do with decapitation. It describes technology that allows businesses to decouple their front-end user interface from their back-end ecommerce data solutions. If you tell your Amazon Alexa to purchase and ship you the latest Stephen King novel, you’re using headless tech.
Since 86 percent of business leaders surveyed report increasingly rising customer acquisition costs, the ecommerce world needs more innovative, cost-effective solutions that attract and retain new users. Headless tech can be that potential game-changer, providing would-be customers with a more engaging, less time-consuming shopping experience.
As this trend catches on, it will upend the entire ecommerce model, with businesses scrambling to incorporate headless tech or get left behind in the dust. Could headless tech make traditional ecommerce purchasing methods obsolete?
The Rise of “As-a-Service” Computing
This computing model has been with us for a while now. We have software-as-a-service (SaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), and platform-as-a-service (PaaS). These cloud-based, on-demand platforms have revolutionized the IT world. For instance, why buy a physical copy of a video game or word processing utility when you can just get access to it via a cloud subscription? Or how about Zoom, which has rocketed to worldwide popularity thanks to the pandemic?
Providers that offer scalable cloud-based solutions are riding high these days, and the cost, convenience, and reliability make cloud solutions an attractive choice. As more “as a service” options become available in more industries, people and organizations will abandon the older computing methods in favor of this far superior delivery system.
The Work-From-Home Revolution
It’s funny how a worldwide pandemic has completely turned our lives upside-down and influenced our technological innovations and development. This is unsurprising, as warfare spurns more incredible technological advances, and we are arguably at war with this deadly contagion.
Businesses wanting to continue functioning during these trying times have set up infrastructure to allow better work-at-home capabilities. Advances in related technology, some of which we’ve already discussed, make working at home a viable, efficient option.
And it needn’t be an “all or nothing” proposition. Businesses can have their employees work mostly from home but have them doing their jobs in-house one or two days a week.
If a company’s employees work from home, the business has fewer infrastructure costs, making this a flexible, cost-effective strategy. The ongoing COVID-19 situation has shown how easy it is to work from home. Will more companies embrace this after the pandemic ends, citing cost-cutting measures? Are we seeing the end of the modern office space as we know it?
Are we seeing the end of the user sitting at their laptop or phone, trying to type in a search on Google? More users are turning to voice-activated searches, asking their phones where the nearest pizza place is or where they can find a deal on novelty face masks.
As more people conduct these voice-activated searches from their cars, jogging track, or local cafe, digital marketers will have to rethink their approach to improving search engine optimization (SEO). Rather than just pulling out a few keywords, marketers will find themselves having to rely more on long-tail keywords.
There will be some interesting days ahead for digital marketers.
Want to Join the Revolution in Disruptive Technologies?
Simplilearn has a vast range of learning resources ideally suited to help you embrace and benefit from the future’s disruptive technologies. If any of the technologies listed above have piqued your interest, you can take courses and gain certification in many different career-making fields.
For instance, you can gain certification in Machine Learning and its association with Artificial Intelligence. Or maybe you want to get an Introduction to Cyber Security. And since the Internet of Things appears increasingly in our everyday life, you can learn how you and your company can benefit from it. Finally, considering how many of the above technologies rely on the cloud, learn how to master cloud architecture.
Wherever your digital passions lie, Simplilearn has the bootcamps and resources you need to be ready for the disruptive technologies of the future!