Why You Should Be Keeping Track Of These Three Technology Trends
From medicine to AI related technologies
Every year we have seen developments in technology at accelerating rates. For 2020, we saw disruption as a trademark with all industries impacted across the board.
Although each organization will anticipate change every year, 2020 brought a new challenge with Covid-19, bringing impact no company would have predicted.
As organizations have responded in various ways throughout the year, we have seen a shift in how technology has influenced consumers and businesses. As we head into 2021 and beyond, we have seen tech trends fall into a few categories.
According to Gartner’s top tech trend report, these include:
- People-centricity: Even with the pandemic, people are still the core focus of everything. Many companies focused on a people-first mentality, helping those in need.
- Resilient delivery: Even with volatile conditions, businesses and consumers still deliver through new ways such as through robotics.
- Location independence: How businesses and customers operate has changed from remote working to how suppliers work. Technology has supported this trend in a variety of ways.
Here, we’ll take a closer look at the tech trends having a major impact in the next few years.
1. Cybersecurity mesh
As someone who works for a cybersecurity-focused company, I think it’s crucial to cover off at least one topic focused on this burgeoning area.
But what exactly is cybersecurity mesh?
A quick google search yields almost no result, and even with the question posted on Stackoverflow, there is little or no information.
So let’s start with what Gartner has labeled the term.
According to the report, the cybersecurity mesh is a distributed architectural approach to scalable, flexible, and reliable security control. COVID-19 has forced many companies to adopt a digital approach with many assets hosted on the cloud and the ability to be accessed anywhere.
This means the focus of the ‘cybersecurity mesh’ is providing flexibility across all assets whilst setting up the suitable parameters without bogging down on operations. With more operations and admin, it slows organizations’ growth, so companies are looking to reduce this complexity.
If we look at how a service mesh operates, which is more a DevOps focused term, we find that the whole focus is to optimize how applications interact and share data with each other. Likewise, a cybersecurity mesh will likely achieve a similar goal by providing the necessary security for any digital asset with centralized policy orchestration.
2. AI/ML Ops
In a conference last year (a physical one!), I spoke to an AI engineer about his projects, especially around the whole process, from prototype to production. As he was looking for a specific solution to help backup prototypes being worked on, I discovered the ad-hoc nature of how the whole operational side of AI works.
Gartner said research shows only 53% of projects make it from AI prototypes to production.
Fast forward to this year and into 2021, we will see AI making an increasing footprint within organizations.
With this growth, however, comes a cost.
No longer can companies create ad-hoc projects in the hope of striking gold on creating a model that could optimize a certain business process.
Like how DevOps optimizes the development of applications, AI Operations (or MLOps) will create a similar process for developing these models.
Although Gartner labels a growth of ‘AI Engineering’ overall, in my opinion, what 2021 entails is a more vigorous focus on creating a more operational approach to working on AI. DevOps principles must be applied for organizations to leverage this technology, especially around more operational work like data cleaning.
Teams will need to apply everything to help monitor, repeat, and, most importantly, scale these models.
In 2021, we will see more of this as companies realize that AIOps / MLOps will become essential for a business that has a serious intention of using the technology for the long term.
Just like how DevOps shortens production life cycles when working on products, AIOps will help likewise take responsibility around the production level so data scientists can focus on finding answers rather than being bogged down by operational work.
3. The growth of telemedicine
It wouldn’t be a 2021 tech trend list without a focus on healthcare. Gartner mentions no specific focus around healthcare (although it’s referenced in trends), so I specifically wanted to highlight the growth of telemedicine.
As a quick definition, telemedicine is providing patients healthcare services virtually, usually through telecommunication methods.
A few years ago, the prediction was that only 70 million Americans would be using telehealth by 2020. By the end of the year, we will see this number close in on around a billion.
These are incredible numbers to digest, and this virtual way of performing healthcare will continue onto 2021.
Startups like 98point6 (telemedicine appointments) have already seen surges in their membership base by 274% and predict this will continue in trend. Even if we return to normal and the pandemic subsides, this trend of virtual healthcare will continue.
For me, I made my first virtual appointment this year, and it saved me time from going to the clinic physically and gave me the correct diagnosis I needed.