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The digital world and the software that powers it: the biggest trends for 2021.

The industry of software development in Sri Lanka is always on its toes when it comes to the latest happenings in the digital world – and for good reason. With leading cloud service providers offering their functionalities through dedicated local partnerships (such as an AWS partner), this outsourcing destination is constantly on the lookout for what’s trending on an international level, so software demands can be met – well ahead of time.

Likewise, here are 5 such trends that are due to dominate the current digital landscape next year - and subsequently influence the software which helps keep digital products and services thriving.

The cloud

There’s no doubt that cloud computing is bound to be at the fore of all things digital, whether it is for next year, or in the very distant future. After all, cloud support services have long since turned into the very foundation that today’s businesses function on, making it an essential no matter what your enterprise requirements are. From SaaS to basic cloud storage, the convenience and scalability provided by the cloud is one that is constantly chosen by businesses and individuals alike, to simply make life that much easier.

Add to this the cost-efficiency factor which is also inbuilt within cloud-based product offerings, with convenient subscriptions that only allow payments depending on what is used, and how much. As a result, the cloud has been a crucial component for maintaining thriving enterprise systems, including those that were constructed in short notice in the wake of the pandemic – and is a trend that businesses will only continue to rely on.

Contactless engagement tools

As lockdowns were initiated and social distancing became the norm, users were keen to continue purchasing and using the products/services of their choice – but with added precautions. Businesses were also equally focused on establishing optimum hygiene and safety when carrying out daily operations, so contactless technologies have proved to be highly valuable. Facilitating reduced contact by accepting payments electronically, digital payment platforms are a great example.

Other than that, online shopping has also contributed to reduced contact overall, as users visit online retailers to purchase everything from groceries to furniture. Both digital trends i.e. fintech and e-commerce have been popular and prevalent for a long time, but this year brought unprecedented demand owing to social distancing because of the pandemic. With millions more now engaged online than normal, this trend isn’t going to recede any time soon even once the pandemic subsides – as the level of convenience introduced by shopping and paying for goods at one’s fingertips is an experience many won’t wish to backtrack from.

Remote work and education

Although mass lockdowns forced millions to self-isolate in their homes, the need to keep life, work and education functioning as normal was still just as strong. This is where remote work and study tools entered the picture, by offering cloud-based services to keep establishments of every volume and specialty maintain operations as usual. Consumers were scrambling to make ends meet as well; from purchasing necessities to processing refunds, there was a spike in demand for businesses to facilitate such requests too.

Solution providers had much to scramble for as well. Apart from shifting priorities and re-structuring their offerings to cater to this uptick in demand, changes had to be made to suit severe fluctuations – and in record time, that too. Likewise, enterprise software vendors were challenged in unique ways this year, thereby making them highly vigilant towards shifting needs unlike ever before.

Artificial Intelligence and the Internet-of-Things

AI is a technology that has been getting strategically embedded within a wide spectrum of digital solutions today, so much so that it has become mainstream even with devices used by the average household. What was once a digital luxury and was only confined to the most sophisticated of use cases, has long since turned into a consumer norm. Likewise, AI is only bound to advance in terms of capabilities, especially since it is the lynchpin for gleaning predictive insights from otherwise raw data.

IoT devices also go hand-in-hand with AI, as the latter once again helps power the former. While devices made smart through IoT perform autonomously through insights supplied by AI and machine learning, the potential for such capabilities have also been picked up by the healthcare industry at large – especially to offer telemedicine and remote diagnostics in the interest of maintaining COVID-19 induced social distancing.

Online security

With millions depending on digital products and services to meet a multitude of requirements this year, cybercrime rates have also spiked at an unprecedented rate. Although compromises with online security and data have been perpetually on the increase year after year, the heightened used of digital applications in 2020 has sped the rate of cybercrime by leaps and bounds. From unauthorized access to phishing, fraudulent activities abound, thereby making the protection of one’s confidential data more important than ever before.

As malicious individuals constantly pursue newer ways to infiltrate the latest barriers, cybersecurity providers also need to constantly up the ante in order to offer protection that’s adequate yet proactive. With new strategies always in the works, the demand for cybersecurity solutions and practices is an insatiable one – and is therefore only bound to increase with time.

In a nutshell…

The trends that will help shape the software of tomorrow are many, but these can be condensed down to a few key driving factors. For one, the incredible surge in usage that digital applications experienced during this year owing to the pandemic has influenced our prevailing digital landscape to significantly transform itself. The effects of what transpired this year are certain to carry over to the next one, and 2021 is sure to sustain the many newfound digital arrangements that were made in the wake of such a pandemic. From convenient contactless payments to remote workspaces, much is here to stay – and only gain more traction, for that matter.

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