Technology Trends that took Center Stage during the Pandemic and are Here to Stay
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Technology got further integrated into our daily lives in the post-pandemic world. Enthusiasts and followers of the tech space have observed that tech has considerably evolved over time – from being an adjunct support function in the pre-COVID era to a critical business enabler in the new normal.
In fact, it would not be an overstatement that the only silver lining of the covid-19 pandemic has been the accelerated pace of technology adoption, on an unprecedented scale, even by those who were digitally illiterate or unfamiliar with tech. A McKinsey survey indicates a huge quantum leap of 7 years in the share of digital products in corporate portfolios across the world.
8 Technology Trends That Will Shape the Future
Clearly, it’s time we understand the ever-expanding form of technology and its impact, application, utility, delivery models to extract higher value. Let’s look at the key technology trends that are expected to continue to shape the future business landscape:
• Tech with a purpose
There are growing voices globally about the importance of sustainability goals, clean energy, go green and ecological considerations, which may be attained through the effective use of technology. In India, there is a growing awareness about maintaining environmental balance.
For example, the ban on single-use plastic (to be enforced from July 2022) and other small steps like encouraging the use of e-statements or digital documents rather than paper-printed statements can go a long way in driving public awareness. Technology is taking the lead here.
Along with policy reforms, aimed at ushering in an eco-friendly ecosystem, technology is helping in the development of products with a minimal carbon footprint. For example, electric vehicles in the mobility space, the launch of solar products aimed at greater adoption of clean energy, and the acceptance of impact investing point to the focus areas ahead.
• Putting human experience at the forefront
An evident element is the enhanced ‘humanisation’ of technology. This reflects a transition from the IQ orientation towards a preference for EQ in strategic decision-making. Fueled by advanced neural studies and software algorithms, AI, ML coupled with human-centric design thinking are able to sense and adapt to human emotions and deliver cognitive solutions.
For example, we, at Simpl, being a consumer technology company, use advanced ML tools, 1000+ human behavioural traits, and buying patterns to study and assess the credit risk. Human-centric interactions by technology platforms would involve the study of consumer preferences and data analytics to deliver intelligent outcomes and unique experiences for customers.
• Digital maturity to dominate
With growing tech dependence, gradually, every company is also becoming a technology company. Be it services, manufacturing, or the farm sector, tech has left its indelible mark. Digital maturity focuses on ethical technology policies. This involves a responsible application of technology. Technology is adding an ethical dimension by way of enhanced transparency, cost efficiency, and productivity to existing business verticals and winning stakeholders’ trust.
The use of tools that enable traceability of the food chain by agritech firms is one example. Another example is the secure encryption tech in digital payments. In the Simpl app, the consumer data is completely encrypted on the network, so that the credentials remain confidential with 100% data privacy. Appropriate use of personal data for intended purposes, elimination of algorithmic bias in credit underwriting models, adherence to stringent security standards, mitigation of cyber risk are related aspects.
• Intelligent automation:
Ever since the launch of the first robot Sophia in 2016, robotics has come a long way with higher commercial applications across sectors. With enhanced sensing and powerful performance capabilities, robots can assist humans and augment efforts in uncontrolled and challenging work environments. In fact, in repetitive tasks that require minimal human supervision, robotic process automation (RPA) can result in significant cost savings.
The use of robots on the shop floor in manufacturing and robot-driven autonomous vehicles can drastically reduce incidents of human accidents. Chatbots can significantly improve the quality of customer engagement with pre-customised templates for commonly asked questions and escalations with a customer representative in case of complex situations.
• New-age technologies are rewriting the rules
Cutting-edge technologies like IoT, machine learning, AI, and the likes have the potential to deliver multiplier benefits across the value chain. By use of ML tools, we, at Simpl, have eliminated the scope of human bias or error in the credit underwriting process. Another example is the use of IoT to detect any leakages or damages in the products being transported across the supply chain.
• Simulating a real experience
Innovative technology like extended reality and its likes, i.e. augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality, have merged perception with experience. Immersive interfaces that cover sense, touch, emotions, and smell enable seamless interactions between humans and technology in the digital environment.
User-intuitive data across formats, i.e. voice and text with multiple aspects like emotions, movements, brain waves, and behaviour patterns, lend new opportunities to develop simulation models and derive insights to solve problems. Certain car manufacturers give consumers a near-reality driving experience of their desired car models to aid the purchase decision.
• Connectivity is key
With cheap data rates and digital connectivity, especially by way of mobile phones, the Internet has become a mainstay for many. Through digital platforms, farmers are able to quote prices and sell their produce in a remote manner. 5G technology and mesh networking are expected to provide high-speed, stable, low latency networks to help realise universal connectivity goals and support the data processing needs of hyperscale data centres and critical infra facilities.
• Technology as the new growth engine
Due to the pandemic, the need for a remote work regime resulted in a huge spike in data volumes, the consequent need to enhance data security and enable remote access via the cloud. Cloud enables real-time, secure access to critical data in a timely manner. SaaS enables subscription-based access to the software at economical costs. Big data and predictive analytics have the potential to transform raw data into powerful insights. Blockchain can mitigate data privacy concerns and enable secure multi-party digital transactions.
The ever-changing technology narrative
Technology has assumed an omnipresent avatar today. Be it contactless delivery, digital payments, zero-touch supply chains, connected mobility experience, or electric-powered solutions, technology-driven solutions have irreversibly penetrated our lives. McKinsey’s survey reflects this change- A 2017 survey ranked cost savings as the key factor in digital strategies, against the current scenario, with over 50% of senior management level executives prioritising technology investment as crucial for competitive advantage.
Let’s take an example. Fintech, which is emerging as a preferred customer choice, has captured market share, largely owing to its technology edge. That is a huge achievement considering that fintech is a relatively new entrant in the financial services space and faces heavy competition from incumbents, i.e. banks, NBFCs etc.