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10 Emerging Trends in IT

IT technologies have an increasing impact on day-to-day life and on business. Which ones are disrupting the market? Here are some trends for 2021 that will grow in the coming years.

1.   Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

AI is not new, it has been a buzzword for about a decade now, but it’s still in the early babbling because the effects of this technology on how we live, work and entertain can be phenomenal. AI applications already include advanced web search engines (i.e. Google), recommendation systems (used by YouTube, Amazon or Netflix), understanding human conversation (such as Siri or Alexa), self-driving cars (e.g. Tesla), automated decision-making and competing at the highest level in strategic game systems (such as chess and Go), voice recognition, navigation apps, smartphone personal assistants, ride-sharing apps…

The scope of these applications is set to expand further. AI, fed by an ever-increasing amount of data, will play an increasingly important role in the coming years in sectors as varied as supply chain, healthcare, etc.

According to Marketsandmarkets, the AI market will grow to a $190 billion industry by 2025 with global spending on cognitive and AI systems reaching over $57 billion in 2021.

Machine learning (ML) is the study of computer algorithms that can improve automatically through experience and by the use of data. It is seen as a part of artificial intelligence. ML algorithms build a model based on sample data, known as "training data", in order to make predictions or decisions without being explicitly programmed to do so. ML algorithms are used in a wide variety of applications, such as in medicine, email filtering, speech recognition, and computer vision.

2.   Blockchain

Blockchain is definitely one of the most important trends in the IT industry. A blockchain is a growing list of records, called blocks, that are linked together using cryptography. It's also described as a "trustless and fully decentralized peer-to-peer immutable data storage" that is spread over a network of participants often referred to as nodes.

When you think blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, are the first thing that comes to mind. But its applications are uncountable, in the financial sector, supply chain, energy trading, healthcare… According to Anne Connelly, co-author of “Bitcoin and the Future of Fundraising”, this technology will lead to a real revolution in the organization of societies, through increasing decentralisation. “99% of the blockchain impact is about to come”, she declared at the tech conference ICT Spring Europe in Luxembourg in September.

The global blockchain market size is expected to grow from USD 3.0 billion in 2020 to USD 39.7 billion by 2025 (Marketsandmarkets).

3.   Digital Health

Digital health includes digital care programs, technologies with health, healthcare, living, and society to enhance the efficiency of healthcare delivery and to make medicine more personalized and precise. Again, fed by an increasing amount of data, Digital Health has literally boomed with the Covid crisis. As patients became unable to visit doctor’s offices and hospitals, digital health rose to fill the gap.

The global digital health market size was valued at $145,884.3 million in 2020, and is projected to reach $767,718.9 million by 2030 (Allied Market Search).

4.   Quantum Computing

Quantum computing is a type of computation that harnesses the collective properties of quantum states, such as superposition, interference, and entanglement, to perform calculations. The devices that perform quantum computations are known as quantum computers. Qubits are the performance indicators in quantum computing. The first quantum computer was created in 1998 with a power of 2 qubits. Google wants to create a 1000 qubits quantum computer by 2029. The effects of quantum computing are still ahead of us.

For instance, quantum computing will totally change cryptography, according to André Meyer, Security Practice Lead Luxembourg, Accenture. But this technology can also be used to develop potential vaccines, thanks to its ability to easily query, monitor, analyze and act on data, regardless of the source. Another field where quantum computing is finding applications in banking and finance, to manage credit risk, for high-frequency trading and fraud detection.

John Preskill, an American theoretical physicist, has introduced the term “quantum supremacy” to refer to the hypothetical speedup advantage that a quantum computer would have over a classical computer in a certain field. Many institutions and states are working on quantum computing “without making any announcement”, Meyer informed at ICT Spring Europe, meaning that it is still difficult to predict who will take the lead in this future technology.

The revenues for the global quantum computing market are projected to surpass $2.5 billion by 2029 (statista.com).

5.   Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Robotic process automation (RPA) is a form of business process automation technology based on metaphorical software robots (bots) or on artificial intelligence (AI)/digital workers. It is sometimes referred to as software robotics. Like AI and Machine Learning, RPA is another technology that is automating jobs. Many businesses are embracing RPA to help achieve more efficient workflows for rule-based tasks. RPA can be integrated into all areas that require recurring tasks (updating CRM, processing customer requests or online orders, managing human resources, implementing marketing campaigns, etc.).

The global RPA market size was valued at USD 1.57 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 32.8% from 2021 to 2028 (Grand View Research).

6.   Edge computing

Edge computing is a method of optimization used in cloud computing that involves processing data at the edge of the network, close to the source of the data. This is expected to improve response times and save bandwidth. Edge application services reduce the volumes of data that must be moved, the consequent traffic, and the distance that data must travel. That provides lower latency and reduces transmission costs. Computation offloading for real-time applications, such as facial recognition algorithms, showed considerable improvements in response times.

The global edge computing market is expected to reach $6.72 billion in 2022.

7.   Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)

VR is a computer-generated environment with scenes and objects that appear to be real, making the user feel they are immersed in their surroundings. AR is the superimposition of reality and elements (sounds, 2D or 3D images, videos, etc.) calculated by a computer system in real time. VR immerses the user in an environment while AR enhances their environment.

AR and VR have enormous potential in training, entertainment, education, marketing, and even rehabilitation after an injury. Either could be used to train doctors to do surgery, offer museum-goers a deeper experience, enhance theme parks. For instance, in 2017, Thomas Gregory (Shoulder Elbow Wrist and Hand Surgeon, Professor at Paris Sorbonne University) was one of the first surgeons to perform surgery in augmented reality.

In 2019, 14 million AR and VR devices were sold. The global AR and VR market is expected to grow to $209.2 billion by 2022 (techjury.net).

This summer, Mark Zuckerberg laid out his vision to transform Facebook from a social media network into a “metaverse company” in the next five years. This project could be a milestone in the AR and VR market. The metaverse is a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space, including the sum of all virtual worlds, augmented reality, and the internet (lien article ITOne).

8.   Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT describes physical objects that are embedded with sensors, processing ability, software, and other technologies, and that connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the Internet or other communications networks.

The field has evolved due to the convergence of multiple technologies. In the consumer market, IoT technology is most synonymous with products pertaining to the concept of the "smart home", including devices and appliances (lighting fixtures, thermostats, home security systems, cameras…) that support one or more common ecosystems, and can be controlled via smartphones or smart speakers. The IoT can also be used in healthcare systems.

We are only at the beginning of the development of this technology. Forecasts suggest that by 2030 around 50 billion of these IoT devices will be in use around the world (statista.com). The global spending on IoT is forecast to reach 1.1 trillion U.S. dollars in 2022 (statista.com).

9.   5G in everyday life

The next technology trend that follows the IoT is 5G. 5G networks offer the supporting foundation that businesses can leverage to embrace many upcoming disruptive technologies. Where 3G and 4G technologies have enabled us to browse the internet, use data driven services, increased bandwidths for streaming, 5G services are expected to revolutionize our lives by enabling services that rely on advanced technologies like AR and VR, alongside cloud-based gaming services. It is expected to be used in factories, HD cameras that help improve safety and traffic management, smart grid control and smart retail too.

5G services are expected to launch worldwide in 2021 with more than 50 operators offering services in about 30 countries by the end of 2021 (European 5G Observatory).

10.   Cybersecurity

With the increasing digitalisation of society as a whole and the proliferation of cyber-attacks, cyber security is undoubtedly set for a bright future. Cyber security is constantly evolving, thanks to the constantly new threats.

The number of cybersecurity jobs is growing three times faster than other tech jobs, all the stakeholders pointing to the lack of resources in this sector. The need for proper cybersecurity is so high that by the end of 2021, $6 trillion will be spent globally on cybersecurity (International Institute of Business Analysis).

As its name suggests, cyber security will be at the heart of the Cybersecurity Week Luxembourg (18-28 October) for which ITOne is a media partner.