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12 IT Trends for 2021/2022: Current Predictions & A Look Into What’s Next

by Arthur Zuckerman

Information technology is an umbrella term that people used to throw around when talking about anything remotely related to communication or data. Nowadays, its use is still similar, but now people are more aware of what it comprises.

Just like the usage of the term, information technology has changed over the years, too. From petroglyphs and clay tablets and paper and quill to the first automatic digital computer and the computers that we know today.

Even currently, trends in the adoption of IT are shifting. Below, we take a look at the current pervading direction of IT.

IT trends

Information technology permeates every facet of human life today. It started as a concept dealing with information and its transmission. Now, it is broader, encompassing whole systems of hardware and software.

In North America and Europe, organizations are eagerly adopting various IT trends. IT automation is at the top of the list for most. Artificial intelligence is also a concern for businesses though it is near the end of the list. Meanwhile, 5G technology is the least of enterprises’ worries, with it being at the bottom.

Adoption of Information Technology Trends in North America and Europe, 2019

Adoption of Information Technology Trends in North America and Europe, 2019
IT automation: 43%

IT automation

Adoption of Information Technology Trends in North America and Europe, 2019
Gigabit Wi-Fi networking: 41%

Gigabit Wi-Fi networking

Adoption of Information Technology Trends in North America and Europe, 2019
IoT: 29%


Adoption of Information Technology Trends in North America and Europe, 2019
Container technology: 25%

Container technology

Adoption of Information Technology Trends in North America and Europe, 2019
Hyperconverged infrastructure: 24%

Hyperconverged infrastructure

Adoption of Information Technology Trends in North America and Europe, 2019
3D printing: 20%

3D printing

Adoption of Information Technology Trends in North America and Europe, 2019
Edge computing: 20%

Edge computing

Adoption of Information Technology Trends in North America and Europe, 2019
Artificial intelligence: 15%

Artificial intelligence

Adoption of Information Technology Trends in North America and Europe, 2019
Serverless computing: 15%

Serverless computing

Adoption of Information Technology Trends in North America and Europe, 2019
Virtual reality: 15%

Virtual reality

Adoption of Information Technology Trends in North America and Europe, 2019
Blockchain technology: 14%

Blockchain technology

Adoption of Information Technology Trends in North America and Europe, 2019
5G technology: 7%

5G technology


Source: Spiceworks

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Nevertheless, entities are transforming their operations to keep up with the demands of the market today.

1. Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology makes sure that data is safe as is by not allowing modifications. With it, users can only add to the data. This is what makes it a secure way of protecting information. On top of that, no one party administers it.

Though it is popularly used in cryptocurrency, blockchain has a lot of applications. For one, it is used in the Internet of Things because it vamps up the security between connected devices. The finance industry is looking at it now, too, as it can further tighten the protection of institutions.

2. Edge Computing

Giant tech names are looking to edge computing to decentralize processing powers. With this, devices or local machines can process data by themselves rather than transmitting them to a data center. Thus, it removes latency in data processing effectively. All that enterprises need to do is add unique AI-enhanced chips to server-connected devices.

Apart from real-time data processing, organizations can also look forward to work continuity despite slow or intermittent connections. Of course, they can also rest assured of strengthened system security as well as the reduction of overhead costs. And even though they are upgrading their machines, they can also be certain of the interoperability between legacy and new devices.

Edge Computing Use Cases in Different Industries

Edge Computing Use Cases in Different Industries
Travel, transport, and logistics: 24%

Travel, transport, and logistics

Edge Computing Use Cases in Different Industries
Global energy and materials: 13%

Global energy and materials

Edge Computing Use Cases in Different Industries
Retail: 10%


Edge Computing Use Cases in Different Industries
Public sector and utilities: 10%

Public sector and utilities

Edge Computing Use Cases in Different Industries
Advanced industries: 10%

Advanced industries

Edge Computing Use Cases in Different Industries
Healthcare: 10%


Edge Computing Use Cases in Different Industries
Cross-vertical: 9%


Edge Computing Use Cases in Different Industries
Infrastructure: 6%


Edge Computing Use Cases in Different Industries
Chemicals and agriculture: 5%

Chemicals and agriculture

Edge Computing Use Cases in Different Industries
Consumer: 4%


Edge Computing Use Cases in Different Industries
Media and entertainment: 1%

Media and entertainment

Edge Computing Use Cases in Different Industries
Banking and insurance: 1%

Banking and insurance


Source: McKinsey&Company

Created by

3. Connecting Things and Processes through IoT

The Internet of Things is now a major force in businesses. As the name suggests, it connects devices over the Internet to automate tasks and to facilitate machine-to-machine communication, among other benefits.

By the end of 2020, there will be over 30 billion IoT devices. In 2025, that number will compound to more than 75 billion. The latter figure is not exactly surprising as customers enjoy the rich experiences IoT provides. For example, they are appreciating the convenience of asking Alexa to do simple tasks for them, like adjusting the thermostat’s temperature.

But back to businesses. Companies can enjoy greater productivity, improved innovation cycles, decrease spending while increasing revenue, and getting to the market before the competition.

4. AI and ML at Scale

AI solutions start as experiments. When AI scientists and developers are satisfied with their experimentation, they move on to the pilot stage. These processes can take months, if not years, to finish. But now, companies are deploying AI systems at a faster pace.

However, only enterprises with large technological budgets can take advantage of this rapid transformation for now. In the next three years, they are most likely to have put their AI/ML solutions in place, from headquarters to branch offices.

How Companies Implement Robotic Process Automation

Source: KPMG

Created by

5. Immersion in Augmented Reality 

Virtual reality and augmented reality. It is easy to confuse the two. However, the main difference is that AR enhances the real landscape by interspacing it with digital imagery. Meanwhile, VR takes you to another world far removed from reality entirely.

A perfect example of AR use is in real estate software. Real estate agents utilize the technology to allow potential buyers to envision themselves in a home that has their preferred interior design. Aside from that, real estate firms can create apps that allow prospective homeowners to point their cameras to a site and draw up information such as floor space and price immediately.

6. AI and Human Hand-in-Hand

Not every manufacturer can afford a robot. For one, SMEs do not have the necessary floor space. Secondly, the cost is prohibitive. It is not just the unit itself that is expensive; getting trained technical personnel can be bank-breaking, too.

But there is a relatively new kind of robot called the collaborative robot or cobot for short. Unlike gigantic industrial robots, cobots work with humans. Examples of situations where they can be useful are in logistics and security monitoring.

This 2020, the projected sales of collaborative robots is 126,000. By 2025, experts believe that number will rise to 735,000.

Source: Seeking Alpha

7. Interactive Smart Spaces

The need for collaboration has increased, considering that more people worldwide are choosing to work-from-home or remotely full time or at least most of the time. Because of this, smart spaces came into being.

This once-future technology furnishes businesses with a secure space where people, applications, and systems can interact. With this, they can increase the rate of collaboration.

What’s more, smart spaces are beginning to integrate other technologies like edge computing, blockchain, and digital twins. This paves the way for greater efficiency.

8. Transformative Digital Twin 

Digital twin is one of the latest technologies disrupting businesses today. It takes on the concepts of VR and AR and pushes them to different heights. Indeed, by creating working digital models of goods and services, it drives organizations towards enhanced innovation efficiency.

Moreover, with digital twin, geographically distributed employees can be present “physically” in any business gathering. This way, colleagues can collaborate with no barriers.

Digital Twins Are Going Mainstream

Source: IoT World Today

Created by

9. AI Beefs Up Cybersecurity

Malware, phishing, identity theft, hacking–these are all old news cyber threats. However, they will always be around, and as technology evolves, they too evolve. IT security software is the only thing that can halt their advances in networks and systems.

And while one may think that large enterprises and financial institutions are the main targets of these threats, it is actually small and medium businesses. Indeed, 61% of cyber-attacks are aimed towards companies with a thousand or fewer employees. Individuals also need to be wary, as they can also be the target of phishing.

Fortunately, cybersecurity is improving. Developers are now finding more robust ways to combat threats and close vulnerabilities.

10. 5G Network as the Next Big Thing

Unprecedented speed is what 5G network offers. With it, it is possible to exchange information at the rate of gigabytes per second. This makes it lightning-fast and much swifter than even the most rapid broadband connection.

It is not just the speed that is notable with the 5G network. Operations that were once limited to high-spec computers can be done on smart devices. On top of that, IoT devices can connect and communicate with each other at a smoother pace.

However, 5G is not yet a complete technology. For the moment, only select territories can tap into its power. That is because preparing the infrastructure required for it is a complex process that not every country is capable of. Aside from that, signals drop continually, and its ability to go through walls and similar structures is still questionable.

Source: CCS Insight

11. Towards an Alternative to Cloud Computing

Cloud computing was once a dream that is now commonplace. Since its inception, it has allowed businesses to take leaps and bounds in terms of productivity. But now, other IT innovations are at work and poised to replace cloud computing.

One of those is fog computing. This means that every function, such as processing, storage, and analysis, are shifted to the computing edge. Because of this, it is possible to handle data flooding with ease.

Additionally, there is the Project Solid spearheaded by the inventor of the web, Tim Berners-Lee. This puts data into a container, providing users with complete control over their information. Through this, they have access when they sign in to a platform but lose the privilege as soon as they sign out. Another advantage it has over cloud computing is that users can take it with them wherever they go.

12. Chatbots as the Face of Advanced Technology

Siri, Bixby, Alexa, and Cortana. These are voice assistants that many people count on to help them complete tasks. While they are only in voice form and have no avatars, users still interact with them comfortably.

Meanwhile, other companies take it to the next level by assigning avatars to intelligent algorithms. A prime example is Disney World, which infused popular characters with artificial intelligence. They then help visitors to their next destinations.

Apart from that, some companies evolve AI together with natural language processing and machine learning. One of those is Artie, which enables gamers to engage with in-game characters. They only have to use their voice and computer vision to do so. While this is being used in games, for now, it can easily be transformed for other business use cases.

To the Edge and Beyond

Information technology has transformed greatly since it came into being. Innovation is now happening at a greater speed, with inventive minds now coming together despite the oceans between them. Technologies can now leave the lab and be deployed at scale at a faster rate than before.

And with them, business changes happen. They can also be the difference between a successful operation and a failing one. Unfortunately, not every enterprise is capable of adopting them, as small and medium businesses may find particular technologies out of their financial reach.

But that is where ingenuity also comes in. SMEs have to research to determine which inventions they need to apply in their sector to give them a boost.

Whatever the case, these disruptive information technologies will continue to spread. And when they become readily available, they can be accessible even to businesses that are just starting to give them an edge in their fields.


  1. The 2020 State of IT
  2. State Of AI And Machine Learning In 2019
  3. What is Edge Computing?
  4. New demand, new markets: What edge computing means for hardware companies
  5. Tech Trends 2020
  6. Roundup Of Internet Of Things Forecasts And Market Estimates, 2016
  7. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
  8. Cobots: The PCs Of The Robot Era
  9. Digital Twin Technology: Where Are We Now?
  10. Market Forecast – 5G Connections
  11. Top 5: Alternatives to centralized cloud services
  13. SXSW 2017: Disney ‘not in the business of scaring kids!’

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