7 Technology Trends to Expect in 2021 and Beyond

Technology
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Yes, 2021 is right around the corner.

And if 2020 is any guide, it’s going to be a wild year. Trying to forecast the future in detail is a fool’s errand—but it’s safe to say that technology will play a major role in whatever’s coming down the pike.

So, in the spirit of looking at things to come, let’s examine some of the technology trends that we can look forward to in 2021.

1. The Growth of 5G

Among the most important new technology trends that we can expect to see, in the coming year and beyond, is the exponential growth of 5G telecommunications networks.

The significance of 5G is that it promises to be an immense improvement over existing networks. The infrastructure is far from complete, restricted to only certain countries and urbanized areas, but it will continue to spread around the globe in the coming decade.

5G could realize speeds a hundred times faster than current 4G networks, with up to 100 gbps (gigabits per second). With such a network in place, the technology of the future follows. 5G networks will enable more conversant AI, more powerful smart devices, autonomous vehicles, and much else.

2. Drones and Autonomous Vehicles

In 2021, look for automated technology to make enormous leaps and bounds.

Leveraging the power of 5G networks, self-driving cars and autonomous drones will become more commonplace. The unparalleled safety that comes with vehicles that can correct for driver error will further speed the adoption of this new technology.

At the same time, autonomous drones and drone swarms will come to dominate our skies. Enabled by the invisible tissue of 5G connectivity, AI-equipped drones will integrate with our economy in 2021.

In these antiseptic, disease-conscious days, drones will shoulder a greater share of delivery logistics. They’ll ferry packages and medical deliveries to our homes, ensuring the sterility of our goods in an increasingly sterile society. Meanwhile—and rather disturbingly—autonomous “pandemic drones” may patrol our streets, scanning us for signs of sickness.

3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Of course, AI has been the hot new thing in technology trends for over a decade.

This is unlikely to change in 2021. In fact, among the many knock-on effects of more prolific 5G networks, AI will only become more powerful and more ubiquitous.

Of course, 5G-powered autonomous drones and self-driving cars will need better AI to operate. Moreover, medical research, lockdown policing measures, and the detection of COVID-19 hotspots will require the parsing of ever-larger datasets. So we can imagine there will be a continuing need for artificial intelligence in 2021.

Expect AI programs to become exponentially more powerful in the coming years. This will include more natural, human-like AI chatbots that can interface with customers in a meaningful way.

4. Non-Cloud Computing

Cloud computing, as a means to increase information storage and processing, has become ubiquitous by 2020.

However, by 2021, the cloud might be well on the way to raining itself out. Several alternatives, promising greater security and computing power, are waiting in the wings.

Among these is “edge computing.” Not exactly a replacement for cloud computing, it involves moving the cloud closer to the source of the data—the eponymous “edge” in the new buzzword. Instead of computing in a centralized location, cloud computing is distributed, which saves bandwidth and increases speed to almost real-time.

Another example is “fog computing.” Fog computing acts as a kind of bridge between cloud computing and edge computing. It’s a vast computing network that extends all the way from the “edge,” where data is created, to the centralized “cloud,” where it is stored and processed.

5. Internet of Behaviors (IoB)

Ready to get really futuristic and dystopian?

You’ve heard of the Internet of Things (IoT)—where virtually everything becomes a smart device and is connected through the internet. But the Internet of Behaviors takes that concept a step further.

Think of the IoB as a gestalt, unanticipated byproduct of the digitization of our lives. Inconceivable in a pre-internet world, the IoB is formed from the computerized minutiae of our lives that forever exists on the internet.

Using pattern-recognizing machine learning algorithms, the IoB culls through our digital detritus to identify, predict, and influence our behaviors. The IoB is already being deployed to influence our financial lives in subtle ways. Think of that new book recommendation on Amazon, or tailored advertisements on Google.

These seem innocuous enough. But when the technology is used to monitor personal habits under the guise of health orders or restrict financial activity due to unpopular political opinions…well, that’s a different story.

The largest present-day application of the IoB is probably to be found in China’s social credit system. It could be the wave of the future.

6. Augmented Reality Comes Into Its Own

Augmented reality (AR) is related to but quite different from, virtual reality.

And, in 2021, AR will continue to evolve as an integral technology in our society. Augmented reality is the integration of digital images and information with the real world. Pokémon Go is a great example of the use of AR for entertainment purposes.

But AR is also found in more serious applications. Apps will continue to use AR overlays to provide us with more information and help consumers make buying decisions. Meanwhile, the medical, transportation and aviation fields will see new advancements in the use of AR.

7. Anywhere Operations

If the global pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that the old model of working in centralized locations is not likely to survive much longer into the twenty-first century.

Government lockdowns and fears of disease have made commutes and office spaces untenable in the near future. As a result, telecommuting and telework are taking off like never before.

“Anywhere operations” refers to the acceleration of this trend in the coming years. Whether it’s more powerful 5G networks, better remote working technology, or new web apps, both employees and customers will be supported anywhere and everywhere.

Keep Up With New Technology Trends

The world is changing. These are just a few of the most important technology trends that are helping to usher in this new age of uncertainty. None can say what the future holds, but it’s exciting to speculate about it.

Don’t get left behind. Contact us at Programmers.io, and let our expert developers help you take advantage of everything these new technologies have to offer.


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