It’s January 2021, and the world we live in today is different than the world we lived in last January. The annual CES show reflected this reality. Several things were different about this year’s conference, which wrapped up last week. First and foremost, CES was 100% virtual. And while healthcare is always present at CES, there was a unique focus on pandemic-inspired devices and solutions in 2021. And yet, it was still CES. There was still a lot of dramatic flair in the presentations, even though there was no live audience to experience them in person. There were still a lot of compelling (sometimes off-the-wall) products—like ColdSnap, an instant ice-cream-making machine, rollable smartphones, robots (e.g., Samsung’s BotHandy), smart-home devices à la Lasso’s smart recycling machine, and even a smart fridge that makes “craft ice”, aka spherical ice cubes. Key trends this year included transportation, next-gen computing and productivity tools, and health and wellness.
The cybersecurity game changed in 2020. Remote work surged, along with things like employee health monitoring and data sharing around COVID-19. Cybercrime surged as well. Companies had to worry not only about outsider threats but also insider threats; data breaches due to employee negligence or inexperience in their new remote roles cost businesses big time. In 2021, how will 2020’s legacy impact the future of work, privacy, and IT spending in the enterprise?
COVID-19 looms over the 2021 sustainability outlook, and the pandemic has and will continue to impact all aspects of society in large and still unknown ways. Connected World discussed this topic with Matt Kromer, head of grid integration at Fraunhofer, who shared his thoughts on 2021 sustainability trends, how IoT (Internet of Things) technologies will help businesses and governments pursue sustainability in the next year, and how COVID-19 will impact sustainability goals and initiatives in 2021 and beyond.
Typically, the space is pretty burned out on tech buzz words of the year by the time December rolls around. But this year, tech buzz words’ place in the news has been usurped by all things COVID. Had COVID-19 not stolen most headlines since March, sustainability would have been more of a hot topic in 2020. And while sustainability may have taken a bit of a back seat during this year of the pandemic, it will be a trend that carries throughout the 2020s, because experts are appear optimistic upon entering 2021.
The double whammy for cybersecurity in 2020 has been the huge increase in the number of remote workers and the heightened everything surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, these factors have created a new and expanded playing field for cybercriminals looking to prey on people’s fears and take advantage of overwhelmed IT departments trying to support work-from-home productivity.
A year ago, Connected World predicted that 2020 would kick off a decade focused on enterprise sustainability. While this past year has proved unpredictable, to put it lightly, sustainability will still be a key trend permeating many discussions in the IoT (Internet of Things) realm in 2021 and beyond. Sustainability is increasingly becoming a business imperative—one companies can’t afford to overlook as they build their post-COVID business strategies. As a result, as more companies look to adopt advanced systems and services that improve sustainability and efficiency, investment in the “green tech” and sustainability market is predicted to increase substantially in the next decade.
The industry has high hopes for 5G, and with good reason. It’s expected to accelerate the development and adoption of highly anticipated applications like autonomous vehicles. It’s expected to do nothing short of revolutionize communication, paving the way to the most connected world yet. Allied Market Research values the global 5G technology market at $5.53 billion in 2020, and projects the market will reach nearly $668 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 122.3%.
“Living labs” are becoming more common as stakeholders realize the tangible benefits of testing technologies and solutions in situations that are as close to real life as possible. Lake Nona is a smart city near Orlando, Fla., that serves as a living, breathing laboratory for technologies and solutions like eVTOL (electric, vertical take-off and landing) jet aircraft, smart windows on commercial buildings, advanced stormwater management, smart lighting, and autonomous shuttles, among many others. It’s also a hotspot for innovation, housing a sports and health tech accelerator and now, a Verizon 5G Innovation Hub.
Companies are moving toward digital transformation at a rate faster than ever before due to a number of factors—productivity and impact on the bottomline are no doubt some of the top reasons. Still some of the other drivers of this movement include what the customer and the employee are demanding.
It’s a critical moment in the history of the Earth in terms of environmental action (or non-action) and climate change. It’s also an important time in what will become the history of the IoT (Internet of Things)—particularly robotics, machine learning, and AI (artificial intelligence). Innovative robotics and AI-based solutions aimed at addressing challenges related to climate change represent the culmination of these two realities colliding. Could AI technologies, including robotics and machine learning, help scientists, governments, and society at large solve looming, planet-wide issues?