Innovations in technology are growing exponentially. Today, it seems they are evolving at a rate we have never seen before.

It’s important to look to the future for signals of where technology will move the world next. Here are five technology trends that’ll soon become the norm.

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

artificial intelligence concept and deep learning

The future of every industry is racing towards the need for AI. It has acted as the main driver of emerging technologies like big data, robotics, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Moving forward the need for AI in every technological device we use will become a necessity.

Here are some of the many places where AI is set to dominate:

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

RPA allows organizations to automate at a fraction of the cost and time previously encountered. RPA solutions can be categorized as easy as producing an automated email response to deploying thousands of bots, each programmed to automate rule-based tasks.

AI-powered Chatbots

Also called conversational AIs, chatbots enhance the user experience by providing near-human-level interactions.

They can be customized to individual needs through Natural Language Processing (NLP) to provide a personalized experience.

Personalized assistants like Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, and Amazon Alexa have already become a trend with touch-free accessibility to devices using voice and gesture recognition.

AI with Big Data

AI and Big Data aim to make enterprises more efficient, effective, and productive while eliminating the need for manual big data processing by presenting valuable business insights in a way that is accessible and relatable to the most critical objectives of the organization

Some organizations like Open Text Analytics and Qlik Augmented Analytics already started offering such solutions and more analytics firms are jumping in.

There are many such solutions where AI is set to dominate and explaining all of them will be beyond the scope of this article. As the inclusion of AI becomes a norm cognitive AI and RPA will be widely applied to cope with high-volume, repetitive activities resulting in a hybrid workforce.

Related: Jobs You Never Knew Were Performed by AI

Coding on laptop

2. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

The next interesting trend is the rise of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR).

VR immerses the user in an environment while AR enhances their environment. Although this technology trend has primarily been used for gaming thus far, it has also been used for training, as with VirtualShip, a simulation software used to train US Navy and Army personnel.

In the future, we can expect these forms of technologies further integrated into our lives. 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, or even enhance marketing, as with this Pepsi Max bus shelter.

Related: The Best Augmented Reality Games for Kids

3. Internet of Things (IoT)

Although IoT has been in existence since the 1980’s it has gained immense popularity after the innovations in wireless technology and many “things” are now being built with Wi-Fi connectivity, meaning they can be connected to the internet—and to each other.

The IoT has already enabled devices, home appliances, cars, and much more to be connected to and exchange data over the internet.

The best example of the advent of IoT in our daily lives is the launch of the Amazon Go store in Seattle in February 2020. It has the world’s most advanced shopping technology which offers a checkout-free shopping experience with IoT.

IoT is also enhanced by edge computing. In place of sending the entire data from IoT devices to the cloud, the data is first transmitted to a local or nearer storage device located close to the IoT device or on the edge of the network.

The anticipated IoT device growth is also on the rise. Research from Cisco states there will be 27.1 billion networked devices by the end of this year and 43% of all networked devices will be mobile-connected. Globally, that will be 3.5 networked devices per person.

4. Digital Healthcare and Telemedicine

The need for digital healthcare and telemedicine increased tremendously during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic as populations around the world demanded contact-free consultations. This has evolved the telemedicine space not out of innovation but of necessity.

Artificial intelligence will play a huge role in the digital transformation of healthcare. Right now, most patients have probably interacted with or heard of some form of AI, like the PARO robotic seal for dementia patients, or chatbots like Woebot Health that delivers a suite of clinically-validated therapy programs to address mental health challenges

Countries around the world are working on more comprehensive and accessible electronic health records. Sweden’s already got it figured out. In Sweden, all citizens and residents have a personal identification number, known as the Swedish PIN, that is used for all healthcare documentation. Researchers that have access to these digital health portals can revel in a treasure trove of data.

With telemedicine relying 100% on technology, cybersecurity has become a necessity. In addition to the fear of the massive costs associated with data breaches coupled with being on the defensive side of cyber attacks, the telemedicine industry will continue to take action to strengthen its security.

As more people become aware of telemedicine and its many options, the world will soon be taken by storm by this growing industry.

5. Remote Learning

E learning example

People enroll in all kinds of courses for work or hobby and enhance their skills with e-learning apps, web portals, online universities, communities, libraries, and other resources they can easily access from their mobile phones, tablets, or computers.

As students are getting used to this new norm of remote learning, let’s look at some of the advantages as opposed to conventional classroom education:

  • Learning anytime, anywhere: this becomes more significant when travel restrictions mean students aren’t always able to attend traditional schools.
  • No age barriers: students of all ages enjoy the benefits of lifelong learning.
  • Limitless and self-directed learning: learning never stops as long as a student is engaged and motivated.
  • Easiness and convenience: it only takes a gadget with access to the internet to have all the information, communication, and fun.
  • Flexibility and mobility: learners choose convenient time, place, and duration of their activity.
  • Higher efficiency: education is provided in small portions and entertaining forms. This is one of the most compelling features of an e-learning app.
  • Lower prices: this factor is crucial for people who can’t afford tuition fees and for those who don’t have access to schools in their area.
  • Education for disabled people: for example, the British platform The Open University is attended by more students with disabilities than any traditional European university.

Other than the official e-learning portals for the respective universities there are countless self-learning platforms on the web.

According to e-learning industry statistics, the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course market) is currently worth $5.16 billion. It is projected to grow at an annual rate of 32.09% until 2025.

Looking Forward to the Future

Technology is on track to continue developing at a rapid pace. Many of our new behaviors will become part of the new normal, helping drive major technological and business innovations.

man using phone at nighttime
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