The Most Important Technologies For 2021

 According to a newly released global survey of CIOs and CTOs by the prestigious technical professional organisation IEEEthe most important technologies in 2021 will be AI, Cloud Computing, 5G and the IoT. The IEEE 2020 Global Survey of CIOs and CTOs surveyed 350 CIOs or CTOs in the US, China, UK, India, and Brazil between September and October 2020. 

Specifically, nearly one-third (32%) of respondents cited AI and machine learning, followed by 5G (20%), and IoT (14%).  Manufacturing (19%), healthcare (18%), financial services (15%), and education (13%) are the industries that most believe will be impacted by technology in 2021. 

At the same time, more than half (52%) of CIOs and CTOs see their biggest challenge in 2021 as dealing with aspects of COVID-19 recovery in relation to business operations, according to the IEEE. 

These challenges include a permanent hybrid remote and office work structure (22%), office and facilities re-openings and return (17%), and managing permanent remote working (13%).  However, 11% of respondents said the agility to stop and start IT initiatives as this unpredictable environment continues will be their biggest challenge.

Another 11% cited online security threats, including those related to remote workers, as the biggest challenge they see in 2021, the survey said. 

COVID-19 has disrupted organisations is the way of traditional work patterns, observed Carmen Fontana, Cloud and Emerging Technology lead at Centric Consulting. "Employees have come to appreciate the flexibility of remote work, and employers are growing accustomed to the cost savings that come with fewer office expenditures. Companies that embrace the change, enabling their employees to be productive and collaborative from anywhere, will see the most gains." she said.

CIOs and CTOs surveyed said they have sped up adopting some technologies due to the pandemic: 

  • 58% strongly agree that COVID-19 accelerated their preparedness
  •  More than half (55%) of respondents have accelerated adoption of cloud computing 
  •  52% have accelerated 5G adoption 
  • 51% have accelerated AI and machine learning 

Coronavirus:   When asked which technologies will have the greatest impact on global COVID-19 recovery, one in four (25%) of those surveyed said AI and machine learning. The adoption of IoT (42%), augmented and virtual reality (35%), and video conferencing (35%) technologies have also been accelerated due to the global pandemic, Intelligence the IEEE   

Artificial Intelligence:  When asked which technologies will have the greatest impact on global COVID-19 recovery, one in four (25%) of those surveyed said AI and machine learning demonstrating that AI 58% strongly agree that COVID-19 accelerated their preparedness demonstrating how swiftly AI has gone mainstream and accepted by key business decision-makers.

Cyber Security and IoT:   Compared to a year ago, CIOs and CTOs overwhelmingly (92%) believe their company is better prepared to respond to a potentially catastrophic interruption such as a data breach or natural disaster. Furthermore, of those who say they are better prepared, 58% strongly agree that COVID-19 accelerated their preparedness.

The top two cyber security concerns for CIOs and CTOs are security issues related to the mobile workforce including employees bringing their own devices to work (37%) and ensuring the Internet of Things (IoT) is secure (35%).  More than one-third (34%) of CIO and CTO respondents said they can track and manage 26%-50% of devices connected to their business, while 20% of those surveyed said they could track and manage 51%-75% of connected devices.  

The survey's findings show the growing preparedness of  industry to invest in AI and commit to building stronger cloud computing infrastructures, to ensure that business can maintain consistent operations and seamless services.


IEEE:       TechRepublic:      PR Newswire:       InternetOfAllThings

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