After a tumultuous and unprecedented year, many look to 2021 as an opportunity to change course. While there are still significant global challenges ahead with a pandemic that has altered our means of human interaction for the immediate future, the way we conduct business – from internal operations to B2B sales – will be forever changed. As we move full-steam ahead into the year, here are a few of the 2021 technology predictions we see as being integral to business agility and competitiveness in the current and coming years.
The pandemic skyrocketed the amount of unused data among companies, due to the nature of a remote work lifestyle where people interact in person 90% less now, according to Gartner. As the digital interaction increased tenfold, data creation followed suit. However, as businesses look to the future and continue adjusting to the ongoing and post-COVID-19 eras, companies will learn to better harness their data to enhance their operations.
Additionally, advancements in camera technology are producing exponentially more data than ever before from roads around the world. The more fascinating aspect of this is that the data is largely being driven by the velocity of engineering in smartphone camera technology. For example, instead of capturing 10 metrics a second from a vehicle – with video – you can capture hundreds. As costs are driven down by the advancements in cellular communication technology – such as 5G enabling us to transmit larger video files faster and at a more cost-effective rate than ever before – the ability to store all of the data-rich video and imagery in the cloud for deeper analysis is transformative for connected business operations.
We also expect the use of artificial intelligence to continue to increase, particularly in industries with repetitive processes such as manufacturing and customer service. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global artificial intelligence (AI) market is expected to reach $267 billion in the next six years at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33.2%. While the growth of AI might not come as a surprise to many, it is important to highlight how artificial intelligence and machine learning will provide businesses with an opportunity to streamline processes that are completed thousands of times a day. As artificial intelligence infiltrates itself into everyday business operations, humans will still be needed to monitor the AI systems and ensure processes run smoothly and efficiently.
We are all, of course, already familiar with AI, as the autonomous car has been in development for over a decade now. However, it is likely more than a decade out from being perfected or at a point where it is mainstream. With this in mind, AI in certain segments – such as with the advent of AI video dash cams – will begin to mature more rapidly than ever before, as hardware grows more affordable and data is more attainable and easier to deploy.
With hardware at a point to support artificial intelligence such as mobile video solutions – and the telecommunications infrastructure to support that video transfer – software that is running in the cloud will mature faster than ever before with the help of machine learning. More and more tools are being made every day to consume, integrate, analyze and apply machine learning to data.
As companies look to enhance offerings and processes, it is critical for business leaders to look at their operations through a data-centric lens. According to Gartner, “Leading organizations in every industry are wielding data and analytics as competitive weapons, operational accelerants and innovation catalysts.”
CIO.com notes some key Gartner findings on the competitive advantage that integrated data provides. Companies that give “users access to a curated catalog of internal and external data will realize twice the business value from analytics investments than those that do not.” The Gartner intel continues, “There is a need for reporting, but reporting alone is not enough. If you’re only doing reporting you’re behind already. Unless your reporting is smart and agile, you’re behind.”
Those that make the investment now in a solution that not only integrates your operational data but allows you to analyze your multi-dimensional data, will be able to unearth challenges as well as find new opportunities to grow. With a connected operations solution, businesses will have the tools and insights to drive continuous improvement across their operations.