By Jordan Smith, US Reporter, HCL Technologies Ltd.
As technologies evolve and change the course of business, it can be difficult to determine which technology trends are here to stay and which ones may fade.
In 2021, Global management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, conducted research to understand technology trends and their impact. Through this research, decision-makers can better understand individual technology trends and how they will develop and interact with each other to drive better business and societal outcomes.
Key technology trends identified to impact innovation and adoption
After an assessment of trends in two thematic groups: the Silicon Age, encompassing digital and IT technologies; and Engineering Tomorrow, encompassing physical tech in domains like energy and mobility; The research uncovered 14 technology trends across 20 industries
“We look at the science, how it translates into engineering, and when it will accelerate impact –at scale, globally. We are doing this with a diverse group of more than 50 senior leaders in McKinsey, who come from a wide range of science and technology backgrounds, and orchestrating exchanges between them and dozens of leading scientists, entrepreneurs, founders, and researchers who are leading breakthrough work in their fields,” said Lareina Yee, senior partner at McKinsey and chair of the McKinsey Technology Council.
The trends identified with the highest innovation scores are applied AI, future of sustainable consumption, advanced connectivity, trust architectures and digital identity, and cloud and edge computing.
Applied AI was identified in the study as the trend with the highest innovation score – a trend that is part of several proven and mature technologies that score higher on quantitative measures of innovation, interest, and investment.
Applied AI uses models trained in machine learning to solve classification, prediction, and control problems for automating activities, while adding or augmenting capabilities and offerings for better decision-making. Many, if not all, technology and engineering companies have business problems that could be resolved with AI applications.
The potential value from AI is also exponential for tech companies, with PwC forecasting the technology to contribute $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030.
Clean-energy and mobility trends were two trends have emerged significantly across multiple industries, gaining the most investment. With many companies emphasizing shrinking their carbon emissions, the future of sustainable consumption is ranked “highly relevant” among 26 industries., .
According to the study, newer and less-proven digital tools, including industrializing machine learning, immersive-reality tech, trust architectures and digital identity, next-gen software development, and quantum tech, are powering more trends that could provide major business benefits.
Business leaders should keep these tech trends in mind considering the monetization opportunities and the chance to uncover innovative use cases. For technology and telecom companies, these trends can lead to an increase in B2B revenue, advancing connectivity, closing the digital divide and enhancing existing connections.
Looking towards the future of tech trends
While it's difficult to predict future trends, McKinsey says in its report that future changes will alter the competitive landscape. The report indicates that these changes will exert powerful impact on society including reshaping markets, boosting productivity, promoting economic growth, and improving lives. They also predict that there will be an increase in “combinatorial innovation” which is the bringing together of different technologies in creative ways.
Five technology trends defining the next decade
HCL Technologies has been keeping a keen eye on current and future technology trends.
Earlier this year Global CTO and Head of Ecosystems at HCL Technologies, Kalyan Kumar, highlighted five technology trends that were also identified by McKinsey. The five trends include Green IT, distributed cloud, 5G and edge, immersive reality, and quantum computing.
“The industry must come together, from a grassroots level, to shape the adoption of these technologies,” Kumar said.
“We must make sure that we build platforms and products of trust, transparency, and flexibility for people when they consume technology.”