The events of 2020 have turned most predictions for 2021 on their head. Top trends such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT) will still define the ways in which tech reshapes our lives in the next year. However, the most significant use cases now involve helping us to adapt and survive in the changing times we are living through.
No trend is more relevant to this than cloud computing. Cloud is the backbone of the data-driven, app-based tech ecosystem that has been vital in helping us manage this change. Everything from contact tracing to home delivery services, remote medicine, and working (and playing) from home has been revolutionized by cloud services.
Throughout 2021, we can expect to see the rate of this change accelerate as more businesses get to grips with adopting cloud models, and delivery of data from the cloud to our devices becomes more integral to our daily lives. Here are some of the ways in which I can see this playing out over the course of 2021:
1. Multi-cloud approaches will lead to a breakdown of barriers between providers
Currently, the big public cloud providers – Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and so on – take something of a walled garden approach to the services they provide. And why not? Their business model has involved promoting their platforms as one-stop-shops, covering all of an organization’s cloud, data, and compute requirements. In practice, however, industry is increasingly turning to hybrid or multi-cloud environments (see below), with requirements for infrastructure to be deployed across multiple models.
2. AI will improve the efficiency and speed of cloud computing
As far as cloud goes, AI is a key enabler of several ways in which we can expect technology to adapt to our needs throughout 2021. Cloud-based as-a-service platforms enable users on just about any budget and with any level of skill to access machine learning functions such as image recognition tools, language processing, and recommendation engines. Cloud will continue to allow these revolutionary toolsets to become more widely deployed by enterprises of all sizes and in all fields, leading to increased productivity and efficiency.
Autonomous vehicles, smart city infrastructure, and pandemic response planning are all fields of research where the effects of smarter algorithms delivered through cloud services will be felt. Machine learning also plays a big part in the logistics processes that keep cloud data centers up and running. Cooling systems, networks of hardware, and power usage in these delicate and expensive environments can all be monitored and managed by AI algorithms in order to optimize running efficiency and minimize their impact on the environment. Research and development in this field are likely to continue to lead to new breakthroughs in data center speed and efficiency.
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