The State of Technology

Data Privacy

Technology in 2021 will be defined by one message: "We have updated our privacy policy." After GDPR's enactment in May 2018, every single organization in the world that collects any sort of data was impacted. Simultaneously, we are seeing sustained growth in Cloud Computing, Urban Mobility, VR/AR, AI/ML, and IoT, while the more established fields of smartphones and blockchain are seeing a cooldown.

Opt-in

Users must explicitly allow companies to collect data, which must be encrypted, up-to-date, and accurate.

Right to be Forgotten

Users must be able to access all of their data and be able to delete all of it.

Severe Penalties

The penalties for compliance failure are high and proportional to revenue. Organizations are devoting large amounts of resources towards GDPR compliance.

Industry Reports

Image by Martha Dominguez de Gouveia

Edge Computing 

January 2021

Image by Leone Venter

Productivity Technology

June 2020

Data Cloud

Cloud computing

January 2019

View the report

Sectors

AI / ML

The accessibility to key techniques in AI and ML have dramatically increased in recent years, leading it to become a field of interest for developers ranging from young students to top professionals and academics. Such deep learning frameworks  as Keras and TensorFlow, as well as cloud computing and related services (Azure, Google Cloud, AWS, etc.) have allowed developers to create neural networks and general statistical formulations for large-scale data analysis with little barrier to entry. The consequent explosion in the implementation of these models, especially as they have relatively little overhead, has paved the way for AI/ML to enter as an application to virtually every scientific field. As an example, some key tools developed with ML include reinforced learning models in trading, data classifiers in image and other data analytics, predicting empirical datasets in the physical sciences, and generating molecular models of interest (genetic or medicine studies, for example) in the life sciences.

Blockchain

Blockchain, launched officially just over a decade ago, is a new and exciting technology that aims to record transactions efficiently and permanently. In our rapidly changing digital world, records and transactions have lagged in both management and protection. Blockchain could allow our contracts to be embedded in code and stored transparently, and secure against deletion and revision. Widespread usage would mean that every exchange would be digitally stored and easily accessible, and the transactional work of lawyers, bankers, brokers, and more would be rendered unnecessary. This technology could revolutionize business models and redefine the flow of our economy. 

However, few, if any, practical applications of blockchain have taken off, although many companies have experimented with it. Blockchain is extremely expensive to run, not just because of the electricity and computing power required, but also because of gas costs for every transaction, especially on larger blockchains. This makes prototyping prohibitively expensive and actual deployment and customer acquisition expensive as well, let alone retainment. The other issue is that, while decentralization has significant benefits for security, many of those benefits can be achieved in alternative ways and may be just as effective.

Internet of Things

As technology continues to develop at a rapid pace, the digitization of our physical world - or the Internet of Things (IoT) - becomes an increasingly important segment of the tech market. The increase in smart sensors and networks/connectivity along with big data and data analytics provides new opportunities to leverage the benefit of IoT applications such as increased efficiency in operations. The applications of IoT are innumerous from smart cities, to e-health, smart monitoring of windmills. As technology evolves, more sectors will be able to reap the benefits of IoT implementation- we are already seeing a critical mass of individuals using smart home technology. It’s important to recognize that as these applications grow, so do concerns with the security of data, privacy, as well as the host environment of IoT whether it be cloud or edge based.  IoT at scale is still a strategic imperative for most companies and these previously listed concerns are not dramatically decreasing the investment in IoT technologies. 

Cloud Computing

The Cloud Computing market is expected to reach $760 Billion by 2027, almost four times its value of $200 Billion in 2020. The biggest rise in revenue is attributed to public cloud services, where SaaS (Software as a Service) makes up 50% of the market, followed by IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) with 32% and PaaS(Platform as a Service) with 18%. The largest players within these segments are AWS, followed by Microsoft’s Azure and Google Cloud Platform, however their respective YOY growths are less than half of AliBaba, which has seen a 92% growth in their cloud computing segment. There is an increased preference for omni cloud computing over multi-cloud systems due to its improved security, real-time updates, utmost scalability and ease of use. 

AR and VR

The AR/VR industry as a whole is growing rapidly, with the market size of consumer virtual reality hardware and software projected to increase from 6.2 billion USD in 2019 to more than 16 billion USD in 2022, even after taking into account negative impacts from the COVID-19 epidemic. Globally, the augmented reality and virtual reality markets are valued at 18.8 billion USD as of 2019. Data on headset shipments to consumers indicate that standalone devices, such as the Oculus Go and Oculus Quest (which are manufactured by Facebook), are becoming increasingly popular, followed by console devices (such as the PlayStation VR), personal computing devices (such as the HTC Vive), and premium mobile devices (such as the Samsung Galaxy Gear VR). 

Urban Mobility

As technology increasingly serves to streamline and simplify consumers’ everyday lives, urban mobility has evolved to seamlessly integrate technological innovation with the urban mobility scene. Uber and Lyft have streamlined ride-sharing and ride-hailing services, and microbility startups have introduced services such as dockless bike- and scooter-sharing, all leveraging the ubiquity of mobile applications and the ease of online payment. Companies such as Tesla have popularized and experimented with electric vehicles and self-driving cars, inspiring the technology sector to reimagine the role of sustainability and rider experience through busy city streets. As the faced-paced advancements in technology shift old paradigms, governments are struggling to keep up with legislation in areas such as recognizing Uber drivers’ status as contractors or employees, regulating microbility startups, or ensuring safety for passengers in anticipation of possible integration of self-driving vehicles. 

Cybersecurity

As technology increasingly serves to streamline and simplify consumers’ everyday lives, urban mobility has evolved to seamlessly integrate technological innovation with the urban mobility scene. Uber and Lyft have streamlined ride-sharing and ride-hailing services, and microbility startups have introduced services such as dockless bike- and scooter-sharing, all leveraging the ubiquity of mobile applications and the ease of online payment. Companies such as Tesla have popularized and experimented with electric vehicles and self-driving cars, inspiring the technology sector to reimagine the role of sustainability and rider experience through busy city streets. As the faced-paced advancements in technology shift old paradigms, governments are struggling to keep up with legislation in areas such as recognizing Uber drivers’ status as contractors or employees, regulating microbility startups, or ensuring safety for passengers in anticipation of possible integration of self-driving vehicles. 

Wearable Tech

As technology increasingly serves to streamline and simplify consumers’ everyday lives, urban mobility has evolved to seamlessly integrate technological innovation with the urban mobility scene. Uber and Lyft have streamlined ride-sharing and ride-hailing services, and microbility startups have introduced services such as dockless bike- and scooter-sharing, all leveraging the ubiquity of mobile applications and the ease of online payment. Companies such as Tesla have popularized and experimented with electric vehicles and self-driving cars, inspiring the technology sector to reimagine the role of sustainability and rider experience through busy city streets. As the faced-paced advancements in technology shift old paradigms, governments are struggling to keep up with legislation in areas such as recognizing Uber drivers’ status as contractors or employees, regulating microbility startups, or ensuring safety for passengers in anticipation of possible integration of self-driving vehicles. 

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