The modern world is evolving faster with the passing of every year. If you don’t pay attention to the changes or keep up the pace, it’s easy to fall behind the times (and the market) while other companies beat you to the punch.
The solution? Get to grips with the latest tech, IT, and computer buzzwords and understand what they mean in a living, breathing business context.
While that may sound easier said than done, here, we’re going to explore the 10 definitive IT & technology buzzwords you won’t be able to avoid in 2021. These essential buzzwords will shape the professional landscape in 2021 and beyond, giving you insights into what to expect and where to invest your efforts in the new year.
Let’s get started.
1. Distributed Cloud
The first in our essential rundown of tech buzzwords for 2021 is distributed cloud. Exciting and futuristic, the concept of computer vision took the industry by storm last year. The concept is based on computing devices or programs gaining the ability to extract detailed information from visual images. And building on this most essential of 2021 tech buzzwords, the distributed cloud is here to take the concept of computer vision one step further. No matter if you need to conduct quick online data analysis or gather enormous volumes of data, this technology will make a significant impact in the future.
The distributed cloud offers businesses or organizations across industries the ability to store, access, and interact with acquired data using a more dynamic as well as flexible range of options.
This new and evolved means of cloud computing can assist with the protection and management of computer vision data and intelligence and comes in many forms, including:
- Cloud BI: Advanced monitoring, reporting, and visualizing data through advanced cloud solutions and business intelligence create sustainable business development.
- Internet of Things (IoT) edge cloud: Distributed services that connect and interact directly with edge services.
- 5G mobile edge cloud: The management and delivery of any cloud-based services linked to a 5G or mobile carrier service.
- On-premises public-style cloud: A branch of cloud distribution that stores, protects, and manages all of a business’s on-site or internal data.
- Metro-area computing cloud: Distributed cloud services that are segmented into nodes to serve an entire city or metropolitan area managing a range of services and residents.
- Global network edge-based cloud: A form of distributed cloud computing designed to interact and integrate with global network-based infrastructures such as routers, hubs, and mobile towers.
As you can see, the distributed cloud covers a range of innovations and concepts, giving it a variety of use cases and services. As such, it’s one of the 2021 buzzwords you can’t afford to ignore.
2. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Already in our shortlist of last year, artificial intelligence is on the front scene for next year again. Scientists have been working on AI for years and in 2021 we will see some more new applications.
AI refers to the autonomous intelligent behavior of software or machines that have a human-like ability to make decisions and to improve over time by learning from experience. Currently, popular approaches include statistical methods, computational intelligence, and traditional symbolic AI.
There are a large number of tools used in AI, including versions of search and mathematical optimization, logic, methods based on probability and economics, and many others. In business intelligence, we are evolving from static reports on what has already happened to proactive analytics with a live dashboard assisting businesses with more accurate reporting. They indeed enable you to see what is happening at every moment and send alerts when something is off-trend.
An important part of artificial intelligence comprises machine learning, and more specifically deep learning – that trend promises more powerful and fast machine learning. An exemplary application of this trend would be Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) – the predictive analytics method of analyzing data. Neural networks create a system of interconnected layers with each subsequent layer acting as a filter for more and more complex features that combine those of the previous layer. This feature hierarchy and the filters that model significance in the data, make it possible for the layers to learn from experience. Thus, deep nets can crunch unstructured data that was previously not available for unsupervised analysis.
You can see an application in business intelligence with the datapine solution, that comprises an AI algorithm based on the most advanced neural networks for its alerts. That way, any anomaly is identified with high accuracy, as it learns from historical trends and patterns: every unexpected event will be notified, and an alert sent.
Some more examples of AI applications can be found in various domains: in 2021 we will experience more AI in combination with big data in healthcare. Heart monitors, health monitors, and EEG signal processing algorithms are already on the research frontline. Likewise, major advances have been made in the field of self-driving cars, as major companies, like Tesla and Volvo, are competing to take over the market. Volvo has announced that their autonomous car drivers will have the option to “eat, sleep, work, watch a movie, relax, do whatever.”
Another direction in which AI is heading is the introduction of a truly smart smartphone that would be able to make stuff for us. For example, you could tell your phone about the trip you plan and it would book the most convenient flight, hotel, and rental car for you. Likewise, last year was the year of virtual assistants: Alexa, Cortana, all of them have taken the consumers’ market by storm. It is not going to stop in 2021, as their development is never-ending; Google Now and Siri have become ubiquitous, thanks in large part to the voice recognition software becoming much more powerful over the past year.
Siri, Cortana, and Alexa all share similar roles – enabling us to live one step closer to the futuristic notions of having AI virtual assistants that can do anything we need on a whim. Who knows, maybe AI will even have the potential to make or at least help us with our strategic business decisions in the near future.
Regarding the future growth of AI, it is undeniable. The research firm Markets and Markets, for instance, estimates that the AI market will grow from $16.06 billion in 2017 to $190.61 billion by 2025. Moreover, they also predict that by the year 2022, 40% of new application development will have AI co-developers on their team. That being said, it is evident that artificial intelligence won’t leave the IT buzzwords lists any time soon.
AI is undoubtedly one of the most prominent 2021 buzzwords to look out for. Gartner has stated that “artificial intelligence in the form of automated things and augmented intelligence is being used together with IoT, edge computing and digital twins.” We will probably talk about AI as the megatrend of the future.
3. The Internet Of Behaviors
You're likely aware of the Internet of Things (IoT) - it's one of the IT buzzwords that have dominated the past two years, after all.
Taking the hyper-connected, all-encompassing nature of the IoT a step in a different direction, the Internet of Behaviors (IoB) focuses on using what’s known as ‘data dust’ to gain deeper consumer insights for improved business intelligence.
Using the same level of connection and integration as the IoT, the IoB hones in on individual user actions (when a user browses or interacts with a free mobile app, for example) to fill in potential knowledge gaps and paint more vivid panoramic consumer profiles.
Based on this notion, it’s possible to break down the IoB into 3 definitive fields:
- Deep data analytics
- Technological interaction
- Behavioral science
Consider a smartphone-based health app, for example. The app can track and analyze your diet, sleeping patterns, blood sugar levels, or heart rate.
By leveraging data dust from an IoB system or setup, the app can alert an individual on potentially harmful health situations or suggest behavior adjustments to prevent an emergency or enhance health and wellbeing.
By gaining this deep level of connective behavioral insight, companies or institutions can personalize their services to an incredible extent, meeting consumer needs and developing innovations more effectively than ever before.
One of the most essential technology buzzwords for 2021 - watch this space!
AI was certainly a prominent buzzword last year, and as mentioned, its evolution still makes it a vital term in 2021. Catalytic evolutions in the autonomous tech world have now given birth to one of the most disruptive of 2021 buzzwords - hyperautomation.
Hyperautomation is an innovation that results in the creation of a ‘digital twin’: a self-sufficient bot that can conduct a range of sophisticated human tasks, often under pressured environments.
In our hyper-connected digital age, ‘automation’ is one of the most prominent IT buzzwords or concepts you’re likely to hear as it covers such a broad spectrum of developments. But hyperautomation is an innovation in its infancy, and it’s expected to explode in 2021.
Hyperautomation is based on the application of advanced technologies, including AI and ML (machine learning), with the aim of automating a host of people-centric processes while augmenting human roles within organizations across industries. Hyperautomation covers a broad range of tools, including a dashboard tool, but also refers to the sophistication of the automation itself.
While many are fearful of hyperautomation, rather than replacing people, the invention of digital twins will allow organizations to visualize and improve existing processes while helping people drive their roles to exciting new heights with the assistance of advanced automation.
Hyperautomation doesn’t exist to replace humans - it’s actually an incredibly sophisticated form of business intelligence (BI) for the new age.
5. Extended Reality (XR)
Next on our big rundown of IT buzzwords for 2021 is extended reality (XR). The likes of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have made significant waves in the past five years, changing the way we live both personally and professionally. Now, it’s time to embrace a whole new virtual realm.
Extended reality (XR) is one of the most impactful computer science buzzwords you’ll encounter in 2021. Its practical potential is enormous, particularly when you consider our current global situation. COVID-19 has placed us into a state of mass isolation, accelerating the value of remote communication and virtual experiences.
XR utilizes the best elements of AR and VR, using headsets and specialist tools or equipment to simulate face-to-face interaction for indefinite periods of time. The other reason that XR is so powerful is that it will empower people to conduct experiments, provide services, and perform testing in a safe, secure environment from anywhere on the planet.
One of the use cases of XR comes in the form of eye tests. Using XR innovations, opticians can conduct eye tests virtually, with high-definition cameras offering a clearly defined image of the patient's eye. This is an AR tool that empowers the patient to browse the selection of glasses based on their preferences and try them on virtually without having to leave their home.
As XR continues to evolve and gain momentum, its capabilities will become all the more limitless, creating sophisticated virtual environments that solve complex problems and serve an endless range of human needs on a grand scale.
6. Quantum Computing
Quantum computing will continue being a major technology buzzword in 2021. In general, quantum computers can solve much more complex problems than classical electronic computers by using quantum bits (qubits) instead of binary digits (bits). This means that the data doesn’t have to be limited to two defined states any more: 0 or 1. For this reason, quantum computing is much more flexible by allowing computations to be performed in parallel.
However, the real challenge is how do quantum machines really carry out these quantum computations. Scientists have been researching in this field for decades, so it may still take some years before quantum computing becomes a reality. Nevertheless, the increasing potential to use quantum computing has even made Google map the path to quantum supremacy. There are many ways in which this new way of computing can be utilized, from cryptography (the most common area people associate with quantum computing), forecasting, aviation, but the interesting part lays within data analysis and interpretation. Although quite far from the everyday usage of quantum systems, big organizations like NASA are already looking into utilizing it for analyzing the enormous data they collect about the universe.
7. 5G & Enhanced Connectivity
The fact that we live in an increasingly connected world is no secret. But talking internet buzzwords, 5G and enhanced connectivity is something you will not want to miss in 2021.
Now, better internet connectivity doesn’t mean that we can merely load a webpage quicker or stream Netflix with fewer streaming issues. With the development of every new connectivity-based innovation comes a wave of new technological potential.
With the advent of 5G, businesses and individuals alike benefit from better bandwidth and enhanced platform-centric services. It will also create a level of enhanced connectivity that will make a wealth of exciting innovations accessible.
Consider this: once you’ve explored every one of our buzzwords for 2021, take a moment to remember that 5G and enhanced connectivity bring every concept discussed here possible, pushing the envelope in terms of capability and bringing them to life.
5G and enhanced connectivity will help facilitate the future, and some organizations are already benefiting from its advanced capabilities.
Norwegian fishery operator Salmar, for example, leverages enhanced connectivity (5G) to automate the care, management, and feeding of its fish. Salmar uses sophisticated image recognition algorithms to detect any fish that are over or under-feeding, automatically dispensing the appropriate food or medicine to keep them healthy.
This is an amazing initiative that's merely the tip of the enhanced connectivity iceberg.
8. Voice-as-User Interface (VUI)
The next in our rundown of essential technology buzzwords is voice-related. User interfaces allow us to interact and communicate with machines, encompassing the likes of computer monitors, keywords, controllers, and digital dashboards. And in recent times, the rise of voice technology has increased the consumption of VUI.
Consumer voice technology has exploded, with Amazon Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant now commonplace in households and businesses across the globe. As a matter of fact, 20% of mobile queries are currently performed by voice search while 72% of people claim it has become a part of their daily routines.
As voice-as-user interface or VUI adoption increases, this is a tech buzzword that will dominate 2021. And as verbal innovations like Alexa and Siri continue to evolve, the VUI will become an increasingly prominent part of the workplace, helping businesses to manage their daily duties with the help of a humanized voice assistant. VUIs are equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities, which means that these interfaces learn and improve from continual human interaction.
In a conversation on VUI technology, Werner Vogels, chief tech officer at Amazon, explained:
“Interfaces to digital systems of the future will no longer be machine-driven. They will be human-centric. We can build human-natural interfaces to digital systems, and with that, a whole environment will become active.”
So, you might be asking yourself, ‘what are some less known tech buzzwords?’ Well, we’re about to discuss one right now. The software-as-a-service revolution has taken the world by storm, cementing the potential of the digital age across sectors and industries and we talked about it in our SaaS trends article.
An extension or development of SaaS innovations, as-a-service capabilities make cloud-based or on-demand innovations accessible to all - empowering businesses to conduct successful BI projects, leverage the likes of AI to their advantage regardless of their size, industry, or budget.
The reason that as-a-service is such an essential part of our buzzwords in IT list is that it’s a tech-centric evolution that will make most cutting-edge platform-based innovations in 2021 and beyond available to all.
The likes of Zoom have managed to scale up and improve their services in recent times as a direct result of the as-a-service innovation model increasing its coverage and service swiftly at almost lightning speed. And, as the likes of Google, Microsoft (as part of its $1.5 billion digital transformation plan), and Amazon continue to invest in ‘as-a-Service,’ we can expect big things to emerge in terms of tech services sooner than we think.
Arguably one of the most potent technology buzzwords on the list, multiexperience is a concept that has the potential to accelerate the success of countless businesses as long as they’re willing to embrace its capabilities.
So, what is this most intriguing of tech buzzwords? The term multiexperience refers to the replacement of technologically advanced people with people-literate platforms or technology. The evolution of a digital data dashboard, for instance, means that everyone within an organization can take charge of the insights that will not only empower them to do their job better but also drive the organization forward as a whole.
The idea of the multiexperience is that it empowers everyone to perform to their optimum capabilities, improving engagement, and cementing interdepartmental communications in the process. Everyone gains access to invaluable information in a way that suits their strengths or capabilities, resulting in commercial growth and advanced self-service business intelligence across the board.
With multiexperience, the traditional notion of a computer or platform evolves from a single point of interaction to include multisensory and multi-touchpoint interfaces such as wearables, advanced computer sensors, or cloud-based tools that people can access remotely from a range of mobile devices.
As multiexperience evolves into 2021, experts predict that it will become more immersive, with virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and autonomous technology at its heart. While multiexperience is a relatively new idea, it’s a concept that is growing at an incredible rate - and one of the buzzwords of 2021 that command attention.
The more touchpoints you have at your disposal, the more rich data you’ll be able to collect - and by making these insights accessible throughout your organization through dynamic data discovery tools, great things will happen.
So, What Are the Essential IT & Technology Buzzwords for 2021?
2021 has a host of exciting tech innovations in store, many of which are yet to reveal their full potential. To keep your finger on the pulse, these top ten IT and tech buzzwords should take up the majority of your focus as a new year beckons:
- Distributed Cloud
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- The Internet of Behaviors
- Extended Reality (XR)
- Quantum Computing
- 5G & Enhanced Connectivity
- Voice-as-User Interface (VUI)
"New technology is not good or evil in and of itself. It's all about how people choose to use it." - David Wong, writer
By embracing these powerful tech buzzwords of 2021 and using them to your advantage, you will accelerate the growth of your business in a landscape that is ever-changing. Explore these essential software buzzwords, and you will uncover new market opportunities, which, in turn, will push you ahead of the pack and help you stay there, one initiative at a time. We hope that by understanding these ten tech buzzwords in 2021, you can hit the ground running as a new year dawns.
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