Trend report 2021: The Future of Tech

Finding solutions through technology in the physical and digital worlds.

Although the transformational potential of automation has already been recognized and adopted by businesses for some years now, the pandemic has reinvigorated organizations’ efforts to harness its many benefits, in both the B2B and B2C worlds.

The pandemic had notable implications on cybersecurity and compliance. While this isn’t a new topic of concern and focus, the introduction of remote working for almost all industries has elevated these issues. This generated a higher awareness on the importance of security in all aspects of organizations’ technology estates, whether people are working from home, the office or remotely, storing the data on their laptops or in a cloud.

Customer experience has also been fundamentally challenged during 2020. Strict lockdown measures introduced an exponential rise in the use of e-commerce and reliance on digital channels across all demographics, placing unprecedented pressure on businesses’ online capabilities and supply chains.

While the future remains uncertain on many levels, we’ve never before had so much powerful technology at our disposal – technology we can use to answer questions and overcome challenges facing our societies, businesses, communities and the environment. There’s a huge opportunity to use any and every available tool to support positive initiatives that will truly transform our future, for the better.1

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1. Anywhere operations

It refers to an IT operating model designed to support customers globally, enable employees everywhere and manage the deployment of business services across distributed infrastructure. The model for anywhere operations is “digital first, remote first.”
The secret ingredients for a perfect remote operating model are: providing a seamless and scalable digital experience by changing the technology infrastructure; management practices; security and governance policies; and employee and customer engagement models.
The fundamental parts for this technology include: collaboration and productivity; secure remote access; cloud and edge infrastructure; quantification of the digital experience, Automation to support remote operations.

2. Cybersecurity mesh

As organizations accelerate digital business, security must keep pace with the rapid change. Cybersecurity mesh enables a security model that retains the plasticity necessary to operate in the current conditions and offers security without hindering growth for the company.
The cybersecurity mesh is a distributed architectural approach to scalable, flexible, and reliable cybersecurity control. COVID-19 has accelerated an existing trend wherein most assets and devices are now located outside traditional physical and logical security parameters. The cybersecurity mesh enables any person or thing to securely access and use any digital asset, no matter where either is located, while providing the necessary level of security.


3. Digitally enabled productivity gains accelerate the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The great acceleration in the use of technology, digitization, and new forms of working is here to stay and continue its growth. According to the data, several executives reported that they moved 20 to 25 times faster than they thought possible on things like building supply-chain redundancies, improving data security, and increasing the use of advanced technologies in operations.
How all that feeds into long-term productivity will not be known until the data for several more quarters are evaluated. But the productivity of many countries, such as the USA, rose in 2020.
A McKinsey survey published at the end of 2020 found that companies are three times likelier than they were before the crisis to conduct at least 80% of their customer interactions digitally


4. Protective tech, protective everything

After experiencing a world that has widely adopted hospital-grade sanitation protocols, people will expect continued high standards, and will seek designs and services that help to safeguard them from germs, viruses, pollutants and more.
As more businesses re-open, more hygiene measures will be introduced. From airlines promoting protection protocols on board, to design studios proposing kits that allow people to “isolate” themselves in public, design thinking is increasingly being used to offer comfort and protection.
Beijing-based design studio Frank Chou initiated the Create Cures project, inviting designers to “promote the development of public health in a designer’s way.” Concepts include the Sterilizing Lamp, which uses an ultraviolet light to disinfect objects such as the user’s keys, mobile phone and wallet in 60 seconds, and the DIY Safe Capsule, an easy-to-assemble safe workspace.


5. Zero Trust

Sophisticated cyberattacks and shifting enterprise environments have undermined the traditional approach to cybersecurity.
Zero trust is rooted in the concept that modern enterprise environments need to change their approach to security, because there’s no longer a defined perimeter inside which every user, device, or network is inherently secure.
In zero trust architectures, every access request should be validated based on all available data points, including user identity, device, location, and other variables that provide context to each connection and allow more nuanced, risk-based decisions. Data, applications, workloads, and other resources are treated as individual, manageable units to contain breaches, and access is provided based on the principle of least privilege. The automation and engineering required to properly implement zero trust security architectures can help strengthen security posture, simplify security management, improve end-user experience, and enable modern enterprise environments.