Tech Trends 2021 – these developments will have a lasting impact on your business

Wie geht es jetzt weiter?

 

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Burkhard Richter
director digital consulting

Der Autor

 

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Alexander Käppler
senior digital consultant

Die Autorin

 

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Sabine Heydenbluth
senior digital consultant

Wie geht es jetzt weiter?

 

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Matthias Rüdiger
senior digital consultant

The world in change: Every year at the beginning of the year, the digital industry discusses which technologies, trends and developments are (or must be) at the top of the digital agenda. But which trends have a lasting impact on the digitally networked society, which hype must be included in the corporate strategy?

Our digital consultants have identified the tech trends for 2021.
tech-trends 2021 | autonmous drones | diconium

Tech trends 2021 – these developments will have a lasting impact on your business

Autonomous echolocation drones

 

"Recent advances in drone technology bring drones one step closer to becoming fully self-sustaining. Drones are to be made to navigate themselves in darkness or on routes with complicated obstacles. Like bats, drones will in future be able to navigate autonomously using echo-sounding and echo-locating technology."

Up to now, drones could be controlled manually with visual guidance, video cameras, global positioning satellites and a laser-based radar, known as LIDAR (abbreviation for "light detection and ranging"), which is a radar-related method for optical distance and speed measurement and for remote measurement of atmospheric parameters. Recent drone projects add another navigation level, sound. With the help of this extension, drones should be able to observe and avoid obstacles. This requires at least four microphones and a loudspeaker. Together they generate an echo to measure the relative distance from other objects. The processing of the information is based on the well-known concept of measuring distance by generating an echo. An algorithm, based on commutative algebra, which performs "echo sorting", determines the distances of relevant objects. Particularly in situations where LIDAR and satellite systems are unreliable, i.e. in fog or dusty conditions, in buildings or tunnels, drones with autopilots that use echolocation to steer away from obstacles are helpful. The drones would thus not depend so much on cameras and GPS and could navigate safely and autonomously even in darkness.

This development is also useful with regard to unmanned aerial vehicles such as air taxis, which depend on safe and autonomous movement through airspace. With a proven system, useful conclusions can also be drawn for autonomous driving. A novel echo-sounder navigation system for drones can be a promising addition to existing technologies, especially for night flights. Obvious applications could be search and rescue operations, night patrols and other missions where darkness prevails.

Matthias Rüdiger

Tech trends 2021 – these developments will have a lasting impact on your business

 

Silver Society and VOICE-as-UI 
"The models for voice usage should be created, tested and improved now - because when the majority of the population articulates the need, it will be far too late to consider first steps."

 

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It is well known that our society is aging; in the next ten years, the first generation with a strong digital influence will reach an age where physical limitations make it difficult to use media. For example, the use of screens and even keyboards will become more difficult at an advanced age. However, this generation expects digital services and solutions for everyday tasks. 

Well, not right away in 2020, but it is absolutely advisable to start looking at the topic of Voice-as-UI today, the way in which language can be used for human-machine communication, how interactions in a voice context are controlled. For this purpose, it is necessary to provide context-dependent content and data so that this content can be retrieved via voice and used audibly. The models for voice usage should be created, tested and improved now - because when the majority of the population articulates the need, it will be far too late to consider first steps.

Alexander Käppler

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Tech trends 2021 – these developments will have a lasting impact on your business

New business models to save the world 

 

"Lifestyle, banking, mobility, internet, 5G and others must not cost us the world! If the Internet meanwhile consumes as much energy and produces as much CO2 as global air traffic – and the figures are increasing – then not only new forms of energy and compensation are needed, but also new business models that conserve energy and resources."
Welcome to the circular economy.

In comparison to the "linear economy", resources are not consumed but used. In this way, biological cycles for consumer products and technical cycles for consumer products are created on a closed loop basis. New product paradigms such as the design concept Cradle to Cradle, sustainable offers in the financial sector and modular, repairable products such as fairphone are examples of new business models based on sustainability.

Business models thus become three-dimensional: the social and ecological dimension complements the economic dimension and paves the way for holistic solution approaches such as impact models, social business, green hosting, platform and share economy of any kind. Tip: In our whitepaper Make an Impact we deal with the development of sustainable business models.

Sabine Heydenbluth

Tech trends 2021 – these developments will have a lasting impact on your business

Digital transformation inside the company 

 

"It is not only a trend to become agile internally as a company, but also a duty. Anyone who does not convert their company internally to microservices (in many respects) will lose the competition in the medium term."

 

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In western societies, the rising costs of health care systems make the issue of preventive medicine and personal health optimisation increasingly important. In the future, an obvious sense of well-being will become a kind of status symbol, similar to the way one's own house or car used to be.

The trend-setting legislative proposals in the context of health care systems show how politicians and industry intend to take advantage of the interrelation of data. Anonymous patient data as a source for research, digital health records and the opt-out for organ donation are only the first indicators. Starting next year, health apps are also to be promoted by the state and health insurance companies, which can be seen as a further milestone in the creation of importance of health and health systems. So from 2020 onwards, whether we like it or not, we will have to reckon with an increasing digitalisation of the health system – providers of apps, which have to be more or less health-promoting, will spread into the new and probably lucrative field and maybe, with a bit of luck, one or the other helpful app will really be there. Apple is already leading the way today with the ECG function in the Apple Watch and has a decisive lead in the collection and analysis of health data.

Alexander Käppler

874001974

Tech trends 2021 – these developments will have a lasting impact on your business

Good health as a status symbol 

 

"In western societies, the rising costs of health care systems make the issue of preventive medicine and personal health optimisation increasingly important. In the future, an obvious sense of well-being will become a kind of status symbol, similar to the way one's own house or car used to be."

The last few years were characterized by the digitalization of sales and marketing processes towards the customer. This step is well under way in many industries, hardly any company has no website or digital transaction channel to the customer. But now the internal framework is crunching. The digital offers from online chatbot to completely digital and automatic insurance application lines, holiday and further education offers have been created and are visibly used – but the processing afterwards is often still manual, manual, error-prone and in the worst case – not scalable. At least not to the same extent as demand is developing. Therefore, it is urgently necessary, and many companies will continue to pursue this topic in the coming years, to dismantle internal monolithic IT structures and silos, to convert entire company divisions to service-based transparent and permeable architectures, and to take employees along in the process. Thus, it is not only a trend to become agile internally as a company, but also a duty. Anyone who does not convert their company internally to microservices (in many respects) will lose the competition in the medium term – because the speed and frequency of adaptation of business models and processes are more obvious than yes.

Alexander Käppler

Tech trends 2021 – these developments will have a lasting impact on your business

How digital can children be on the move? 

 

"The most reflective possible handling of digital media is also of essential importance due to their addictive potential. Build up a comprehensive digital competence suitable for children and set a good example."

 

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What effects does today's (new) complexity have on future generations? What do these diverse impressions do with young, growing people? Digital media are a self-evident omnipresent part of children's life and everyday world. More and more forms and places of communication and action are permeated by media and have an influence on the personality development of children and, at the same time, on the way families are formed and family life. Even small children control Alexa, swiping on mobile phones, streaming on Netflix, taking pictures with digital cameras and know that at Amazon all wishes are fulfilled. 

However, we have to take our social responsibility to put the health of children first. Digital media can have serious negative effects on children. They can damage their perceptive faculties and motor skills. In addition to an increased addiction potential, e.g. due to likes on social media, the children's psyche is also strongly influenced by nomophobia ("No-Mobile-Phone-Phobia") and FoMo ("Fear of missing out"). When digital media take control of all areas of life, cyber stress, loss of empathy, depression, and sleep and attention disorders can be consequences of digital over-consumption. Children lose important skills and often also their connection to the analogue world through the excessive consumption of digital media, and are also exposed to new dangers due to the new health hazards. Despite the potential and benefits that digital media bring in terms of economic and social development, the dangers to children's bodies and minds should be made aware, particularly because of the serious consequences.

More than ever before, parents have a duty to develop comprehensive media literacy.

Furthermore, their role model function is an important part of media education. If parents themselves are too much at the smartphone, they suggest to their children that the technical devices are more important than the child itself. Children are no longer perceived, heard and encouraged to a sufficient degree. A vicious circle, because with this negative example, children lose all connection to reality far away from digital media. Education now also means "digital education", education now also means "media education" and the teaching of social skills now also includes social skills in connection with the Internet.

In addition to building up one's own media competence, today's world also demands that the child be taught self-determined media competence.

Frequency, intensity and purpose of use play a decisive role in the use of digital media. Parents should pay particular attention to ensuring that discovery, learning, curiosity, creativity, movement, social contacts, social-emotional and linguistic development as well as the sensory perception of reality remain meaningful and that children are not appropriated by digital media. 

Schools and educators also play a decisive role in the teaching of media skills. Using digital media too early robs children of valuable time for discovery and is therefore clearly counterproductive. Ultimately, the balancing act between "not confronting children with digital media too early" and "teaching children comprehensive media competence at an early age" must be resolved. The Internet and new technologies offer a wide range of possibilities and can also bring benefits, but they also bring with them dangers in connection with child development and addiction potential.

Conclusion:

We at diconium stand for a more conscious use of digital media, especially with regard to our future generations. Digital innovations create new opportunities, but also risks. In any case, the same applies here: everything in moderation and in sensible use. The most reflective possible handling of digital media is also essential due to their addictive potential. Build up a comprehensive digital competence suitable for children and set a good example. Encourage children to develop self-confidence and self-determined actions and thinking and give them the attention, care and recognition that are so important for children and that are necessary for their development. If digital media are already firmly anchored in your everyday life, then media-free days or media fasting could be an introduction to a more controlled use of digital media. Last but not least, get out - take a deep breath - feel and enjoy nature.

Matthias Rüdiger

874001974

Tech trends 2021 – these developments will have a lasting impact on your business

Cultural change and how can a Youth Council help? 

 

"In the corporate context, a Youth Council is a newly designed corporate body that gives future generations a say or even co-determination rights at eye level with the decision-making bodies."

Cultural change can be an important component of transformation projects in medium-sized and large organizations. It promotes and demands the rethinking of previous ways of working and behaviour on the basis of new environmental conditions. A central driver of cultural change in companies is digitization. It enables companies to work more efficiently and in a more customer-oriented manner and to use new tools and media to redesign and develop their business both internally and externally. In contrast, cultural change in companies is concerned with people, values and corporate culture and thus forms the basis for changes in terms of organization, structure and systems. Cultural change thus starts with the value system and the needs of people and thus clearly stands out from professional measures, goals and structures.

We live in times of rapid change. The business environment is changing rapidly, resources are more readily available, competitive pressure is increasing and opportunities are growing. In addition, the environment is becoming increasingly volatile, future scenarios more uncertain, the business environment more complex and events more ambiguous (see VUCA). Companies must now be able to react quickly to the changing environment.

They must become more efficient, customer-focused, faster and more flexible in order to remain competitive and achieve sustainable success (see VOPA+).

In this context, sustainable, learning organizations need cultural change, which is the breeding ground for organizational and business development and optimization. Ultimately, it is a matter of changing the applicable framework conditions for the concrete actions of employees so that the desired behaviour (actual vs. target corporate culture) occurs.

An example of a measure that accompanies cultural change in a company is a "Youth Council" or "Council of the Young". In the entrepreneurial context, a Youth Council is a newly designed corporate body that gives future generations a say or even co-determination rights at eye level with the decision-making bodies. Ideally, this council of the young will contribute promising ideas and new impulses, evaluate business decisions from a different perspective than, for example, the board of directors, and possess above-average digital competence. The Board of Management and the Board of Juveniles can meet at fixed intervals to discuss, for example, strategic orientation, investments and new technologies. Prominent examples such as Axel Springer or Jung von Matt have already introduced a Youth Council in the past as a sign of a modern corporate and management culture. Even the Federal Government Commissioner for Digitization is considering the introduction of a Youth Council to provide support on issues related to digitization. The Youth Council favors the promotion of young talent, an open and transparent corporate culture, as well as knowledge transfer and networking within the organization. This will make the highest decision-making body more accessible to all, and the Board of Management will at the same time signal its openness and willingness to incorporate new, future-oriented perspectives. Depending on the target culture and orientation of the value change, the Youth Council can be a useful initiative in connection with cultural change within a company. In addition, a Youth Council promises the potential to increase employee motivation, strengthen employer branding and positively influence the innovative power of the company.

Never forget: Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

Matthias Rüdiger


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Burkhard Richter
director digital consulting