Accelerated digital transformation to continue in 2021 — research firm

Four trends will shape the technology and telecommunication market in 2021: accelerated artificial intelligence (AI) automation in operations; the reshaping of the technology landscape by remote solutions; the mainstreaming of digital health and well-being; and the increase in intelligent resilience investments. 

“The disruptive impact of 2020 has required many industries to adapt rapidly and has increased demand for services or solutions that deliver greater degrees of automation and autonomy,” said 

Juniper Research Limited, a UK-based consultancy that specializes in digital technology markets, in its 2021 Tech & Telco Megatrends report

AI AUTOMATION 

The past year was marked by supply chain disruptions and an increased reliance on online services. Such impacts will carry through 2021, said Juniper Research. Physical visits to retail outlets will begin to recover this year, but are unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels. 

Retailers and service providers will continue to adapt by investing in efficiency- and cost-saving operations. Automation will improve customer experiences, and AI’s benefits will be felt from both front-end and back-end solutions.

In the Philippines, companies such as LBC Express have since adopted AI technologies to automate its booking process between containers and carriers for the speedier movement of international goods. 

REMOTE SOLUTIONS

Industries will continue to iterate work-from-home solutions in 2021 to make them more effective. Workers will benefit from this trend, as Juniper Research sees firms’ annual budgets being invested into remote work upgrades. 

Investment management company Colliers International Philippines sees a similar trend, as it believes most local organizations will continue to implement work-from-home schemes even past the pandemic. 

With the more purposive adoption of tools beyond the simple provision of collaboration tools, SaaS (software-as-a-service) vendors with the ability to offer multiple services in a single software package will also benefit and see the most immediate adoption this year.

DIGITAL HEALTH 

Digital therapeutics will become integral to healthcare delivery as the pandemic recedes in 2021. The trend is already happening locally, with 79% of Filipino respondents in a 2021 Prudential report saying they use digital health platforms and personal health technologies like fitness trackers. 

Wearables are key to combating the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) once privacy concerns are addressed, according to Juniper Research. Should wearables slow the pandemic, the strain on healthcare systems will be reduced. The large volumes of contact tracing data also mean digital health companies will have the material to refine their AI models.

INTELLIGENT RESILIENCE 

Business continuity will be essential this year. There will be an increase in interest in network automation, cloud networking, and remote access solutions, according to Juniper Research. 

Internet of Things (IoT) security concerns will be addressed by confidential computing, a technology that isolates and protects sensitive data. Benefits include a reduced risk of advanced cybersecurity attacks on end users, as well as increased trust in cloud services for processing data. 

The Philippines ranked 11th in the 2020 Cloud Readiness Index, down two places from its 2018 spot. The index measures the extent to which economies are prepared to adopt and roll out cloud computing technologies—infrastructure that involves using networks to allow online data storage, among other functions. — Patricia B. Mirasol

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