2020 has been a crazy year, not only for the global population but for businesses of all sizes. Change was the name of the game and, unless you had already planned for a disastrous shift in the economy, every company had to adapt or die. That translated to technology trends shifting and evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of consumers, users, supply chains, and systems.
This necessary shift in core businesses and technology trickled upward and outward, even affecting software outsourcing. Companies had to retool their teams to better meet the demand of businesses looking to quickly pivot into either a completely new direction or in a way that could keep them afloat.
But what about the upcoming year? Will the pandemic continue to force the hand of IT, or will things finally level out so that companies can get back to the business of doing what they do best? It’s hard to say but it looks like the upcoming year might see a shift back toward normalcy—with a slight twist in some areas.
Let’s take a look at four trends that will probably see significant growth in 2021. Although there is no guarantee that these are the trends that will absolutely take over, they’ve already shown significant importance over the past few years to give them a pretty good edge over other technologies. And with that said, let’s have a look at the trends.
Work From Home
We’re going to start with the obvious. The pandemic has made it such that more and more companies are requiring staff to work from home. In fact, Global Workplace Analytics has indicated that 2021 should see at least 25-30% of the global workforce working from home multiple days a week. That’s significant. It also means change within the realm of IT.
Every business that has employees working from home will need to go to great lengths to protect their data. This is made more difficult, considering those employees will be working from home networks that are not nearly as secure as a company LAN.
To that end, those businesses might have to turn to third parties to ensure those home networks are up to the task. This could mean a shift toward hybrid clouds with a significant focus on security. It could also mean employees work with on-premise cloud solutions that are linked to one another and to the company network via a secure connection.
Is your IT staff up to building such an ecosystem? If not, you might need to consider outsourcing.
Edge computing isn’t going to go away. In fact, 2021 should see not only the continued rise in this technology but its use in even more sectors of business. What is Edge Computing? Simply put, Edge Computing places the role of data processing on mobile or IoT devices, instead of transmitting the raw data to a centralized data center for processing. This gives remote locations the ability to actually use data in real-time, instead of having the lag that comes with data transmission.
Here’s an example. Let’s say your business is working with a software company that has created the technology to determine if someone is or is not wearing a face mask. With a traditional setup, cameras would be placed all over your building to transmit video images to a centralized server for processing. This causes a lag in your ability to actually use the data.
With Edge Computing, those video images are processed at the camera and the results sent to the centralized server for use. The difference (especially when we’re talking about streaming video) is significant.
Edge Computing will be everywhere in the coming year, and your IT staff will need to have the skills to implement it. If your current staff isn’t capable, there are always companies like BairesDev ready to make it happen for you.
Artificial Intelligence can help to make your business smarter and more efficient. With AI you can better predict what customers will buy, make use of autonomous vehicles and robots, implement more voice assistants, add facial recognition to your security, add structure to unstructured data, add support bots to your website, and add intelligent capabilities to the software you produce. In fact, the usefulness of AI has yet to see any sort of slowdown.
The problem is that AI isn’t always the easiest bit of technology to integrate into your systems. There are quite a few “moving” pieces to consider, and if your development team isn’t up on the likes of TensorFlow, LISP, Python, Java, C++, and Prolog, the chances of your company getting AI integrated grow slim.
Don’t hold off too long in your consideration of AI, though. The longer you wait, the further behind you’ll get. And 2021 could see exponential growth in where and how AI is used.
Mobile and Web Apps
This is the no-brainer of the list. The majority of consumers on the planet opt for a mobile-first platform. In fact, more and more people are ditching traditional platforms (desktops and laptops) and going mobile-only. This trend is only going to continue in 2021. In fact, according to Stat Counter, mobile usage currently has a 50.88% market share, with desktops having 46.39%. Given more and more are working on the go, expect that mobile market share to continue rising.
What does that mean for your company? First off, is your website mobile-friendly? And does your company offer a mobile application? If you’re not sure if your company site is mobile-friendly, you better have it checked asap. And if your company doesn’t offer a mobile app, it’s time you hopped on that bandwagon.
As more and more people abandon the desktop, you’re going to want to ensure you retain their business. The best route to success is a mobile-friendly website and a mobile app. If your development department can’t deliver, you need to look toward outsourcing those development efforts.
These four trends are fairly obvious, at least to those that have been paying close attention to what’s happening in the market and within the realm of IT. If you’ve been hands-off with your business, it’s time you got involved. If you don’t consider these trends for your business, you could wind up behind the curve. Given how agile companies have to be just to keep up, getting behind could be disastrous.