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The tech predicted to disrupt in 2021 and beyond

By , ITWeb
Africa , 16 Nov 2020
(Graphic: Business Wire)
(Graphic: Business Wire)

Dimension Data has released parent company NTT Ltd.’s ‘Future Disrupted: 2021’ technology trends predictions.

The predictions are said to be based on critical technology trends forecasted to drive change, combined with key insights from NTT’s experts.

“… these trends serve as a guide for businesses looking to seize the opportunities and benefits that these technologies bring,” the companies claim.

“The disruptive technologies outlined in the report are forecast beyond 2021 and reflect the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on accelerating society’s digital transformation journey,” they add.

NTT believes there are five key disruptive technology trends that hold promise to help local organisations unpack their postures with regards to safety and security, support sustainable growth and reduced environmental loads:

All-photonics networks (APNs) will power global communications: APNs will enable end-to-end, information transmission between the terminal and the server and will allow us to operate an ultra-low power intensive sustainable communications environment. This particular trend will influence the local market over the longer term as networks overcome legacy infrastructure and regulatory constraints.

Cognitive Foundation (CF) technology will connect and control everything: the centralised management and agile allocation of ICT resources will provide the ability to integrate various sensor information - voice, video or other - to support IOT initiatives.

Digital twin computing (DTC) will enable predictive analytics by integrating the real and virtual worlds: DTC will test different environments by freely copying, combining and exchanging various digital twins of ‘things’ and people. This information will be integrated into applications such as traffic congestion prediction systems and can make accurate predictions in the field of disease control.

The evolution of the ‘citizen developer’ and robotic process automation (RPA) will reshape businesses: Low-code/no-code platforms built to enable anyone to create business applications using their company data – will be a significant differentiator for businesses. The ‘citizen developer’ approach is also using RPA to automate certain business processes, allowing employees to spend time on higher-value work.

Quantum and edge computing will usher in a new era of computing: More computational work could be done locally at the edge, rather than in the central cloud which can cause delay. For example, a car’s computer vision system would process and recognise images immediately rather than sending that information to the cloud for verification.

While these disruptive technologies are on the horizon, in the nearer term, these trends are driving the need for digital transformation as they enable businesses to deliver superior, more connected, seamless and positive customer and employee experiences, the companies explain.

In fact, because of this, NTT predicts that digital transformation in 2021 will be an imperative for businesses.

As revealed in NTT’s 2020 Intelligent Workplace Report, a positive employee and customer experience (EX & CX) will be the foundation on which business strategies are built in the future.

This is supported by further NTT research – 2020 Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report – in which 70.5% of organisations cited improved CX as the top factor driving their digital transformation.

Nompumelelo Mokou, Dimension Data’s Executive: Intelligent Customer Experience says, “The year 2020 caused an expedited shift in how we engage with, rely on, and utilise technology and the data involved, and in 2021, we predict that CX success for the South African business will depend on whether you have a data-driven and well-documented strategy in place.

“The immense amounts of customer data that most organisations access, capture and manage from multiple sources are only set to grow in the year ahead - particularly in the post-pandemic landscape,” she adds.

Automation is set to play a critical role in employee experience initiatives, and Dimension Data predicts advances in- and adoption of robotic process automation, machine learning and AI will be on the rise.

“Employers are having to think hard about optimising for employee wellness and safety. Identity, data and analytics, collaborative tools, security and automation will become the foundations for enhancing employee experience and, importantly, employee wellness.”

Cybersecurity must underpin everything that is implemented as its impact on both customer loyalty and employee well-being will intensify moving into 2021.

NTT’s Intelligent Workplace Report also indicated that 83.2% of organisations have completely re-thought their security to accommodate new ways of working brought about by the pandemic. Training on new applications and new ways of working seems to be low on the agenda (in place for just 42.8% of organisations), which presents a high level of risk.

The company says informing employees about updates to security policies, and completing security awareness programs, how these will support them in their day-to-day activities – regardless of location – and what is expected of them is paramount to ensuring the desired employee behaviour, and, importantly, their buy-in, on cybersecurity issues.

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