In these challenging times… oh, wait, how many times have you heard this in 2020?
Too many, for sure. But, for a good reason! COVID-19 has been making tectonic shifts across the globe impacting every single one of us and every single industry in some way. If there was ever a year for digital technologies to show their real potential and help us battle the invisible enemy, this is the one.
In light of these changes, in 2021, we will witness some of the biggest digital transformation trends that will keep us connected despite the gloom caused by the pandemic.
More Use Cases in More Industries
From remote condition monitoring that enables employees to manage equipment without getting into contact with each other to digital twins that can help authorities take preventive measures in times of crisis, we’ll see a lot more IIoT use cases coming to life in the coming year.
In 2021, field service firms and industrial OEMs will rush to keep up with customer demand for more connected assets and machines.
Different industries are also starting to realise the outstanding capabilities of IoT. Besides the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) that allows doctors to monitor patients’ well-being remotely, Internet of Logistics Things (IoLT), Internet of Workforce Management (IoWM) and Internet of Retail Things (IoRT) will become a focal point of industry.
IoT Helping to Build Digital Twins
The IoT may be the perfect partner for the development of digital twins, for almost any application, given its ability to collect information throughout a product lifecycle, to process that information in real-time, and to optimise it just as quickly. That could mean huge cost and time savings, especially for industries like manufacturing, construction and architecture.
Companies are starting to use the IoT and AI to create digital twins to help customers leverage data for product design, production, and innovation.
IIoT and Data Analytics
In case you haven’t put it together yet, the IoT is no longer just about monitoring equipment and spitting out data. It’s about processing data quickly and taking actions based on those findings. In large part, that’s due to the ability for the IoT to partner with AI and ML technologies to process the vast amounts of data it receives quickly.
This trend isn’t going anywhere but up. It is obvious that in 2021 the job of IoT will move far beyond collecting info to synthesizing data to make smart and informed recommendations and decisions.
More Prominent Location Data
COVID-19 has elevated the importance of location data prompting many retailers and other kinds of organisations to shift to things like remote check-in and curbside pickup. These are believed to become the norm in keeping employees safe while meeting and improving customers’ needs and experiences.
This means that more and more businesses will need to partner with technology vendors who can help them collect and use location data that consumers can trust.
Skyrocket of IoT-Driven Healthcare
COVID-19 crisis has kept elderly, disabled and people suffering from severe diseases at home, leaving chronic conditions unmanaged, preventable conditions unnoticed and cancers undetected. This is why there will be a greater need to use connected solutions to monitor health and manage illnesses in 2021.
The number of “virtual doctor visits” in the US is now close to billion and will undoubtedly continue upwards in 2021. Based on Forrester’s research, this will lead to a surge in adoption of wearables and sensors to keep track of patients’ health status at home. Also, an interest in digital health devices among consumers will be on the rise due to more affordable prices and convenience of at-home monitoring.
Tech-driven healthcare will also minimise contact in situations where there is a high risk of cross-infection, for example, infectious disease areas in hospitals or care homes.
IoT in Retail for Safer and More Efficient Supermarkets
Retail sector has undoubtedly been hit hard by Coronavirus. Over the next year, we can expect to see innovative models such as fully-automated supermarkets, that cut down on the need for non-vital human interaction.
Also, IoT-enabled devices will play a major role in automation in massive fulfilment centres that dispatch inventory to shops. On top of this, contact-free payment methods will continue to grow as we progress further towards the “cashless society”.
Finally, RFID tags will be used to track the movement of customers around stores for two reasons: to make decisions over stock placement and replenishment, as well as to monitor social distancing to protect against the danger of overcrowding.
Smart Offices for Better Employees’ Experience
Again, due to the COVID-19 related challenges, many employees are forced to work from home, which will continue in 2021 as well. Consequently, businesses will have to find ways to save money on space and energy and to consolidate their real-estate holdings.
Forrester points out that at least 80% of companies will develop return-to-work strategies that include building smart applications that should bring resource efficiency and employee safety to a whole new level. These IoT applications include energy and environmental monitoring, smart lighting, sensor-enabled space utilisation, geofencing and activity monitoring in high traffic areas.
More Digitalisation Trends
5G: 5G has already hit the mainstream, and in 2021 we will see increased adoption of the ultra-fast infrastructure make an impact in AI and ML, as well as industrial IoT and telecom.
Security: In 2021 cybersecurity trends will revolve around GDPR and data protection, cybercrime, and security in cloud computing. Identity management functionality will gain more importance.
Edge computing: 2021 will see more IoT data processing at the edge, reducing bandwidth use and cost, as well as improving compliance with privacy regulations.
Containers and Kubernetes: The rise of container technology and Kubernetes is illustrated by the prediction that 95% of new microservices will be deployed by containers in 2021.
WolkAbout Is at Your Side!
So what did we miss? What else will drive the discussion in 2021?
A big year is ahead of us, hopefully bringing better health and stability! Either way, digital transformation will continue to be the focus of organisations around the globe.
Ready to step into 2021 digitally ready? Talk to us!
Our experts are at your side, willing to help you on every step of your digitalisation journey.