Now, we’re witnessing the rapid digital transformation that has a positive impact on all industries, from healthcare to retail and manufacturing. Using technologies, businesses can address various challenges, for example, automate request processing, ensure 24/7 customer support, provide inventory tracking, or enable electronic document management.
With technological innovations, companies can mitigate the COVID-19 crisis. Many food delivery services have already moved to the drone- and robot-based delivery. That’s why it is important to keep pace with the main software development trends.
Top 6 software development trends in 2021
1. Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is one of the most essential software development trends for 2021 and beyond. According to MarketsandMarkets, the world’s AI market is anticipated to reach over $190 billion by 2025, growing from $21.46 billion in 2018. IDC forecasts that at least 90% of new enterprise applications will employ Al by 2025.
Machine learning, image and object recognition, natural language processing, deep learning, etc. are categories of AI.
You can use this technology to relieve employees from performing manual and data-intense tasks. With AI-enabled solutions, it is possible to make forecasts, analyze massive arrays of data, offer personalized recommendations on anything, from video content to insurance policies.
Incorporating an AI-based chatbot, you can process customer inquiries 24/7. Replacing humans, a bot can instantly answer questions and provide the requested information.
AI opportunities for business:
- Using a bot, you can automate communications with customers and boost sales. BI Intelligence reports that companies can save $23 billion from their annual wages by incorporating an AI-based chatbot.
- Machine learning algorithms can analyze purchasing history, data provided by users, interactions with the platform, etc. and offer tailored recommendations. As a result, you will increase sales due to personalization.
- By creating an AI solution, you can improve decision-making. For instance, healthcare companies use AI technology to make a diagnosis much faster. They also employ AI in research and development activities to automate and enhance clinical trials.
- The autonomous vehicle market is rapidly growing due to artificial intelligence. Nvidia has already developed an AI-enabled platform that provides everything required to create autonomous vehicles at scale.
“Artificial Intelligence has been the most funded technology innovation space in the past two years, with large investments coming from independent and corporate venture capital companies.” —Jillian Walker, visionary innovation principal consultant at Frost & Sullivan.
2. The Internet of Things
Today the number of connected devices is continuously growing, including sensors, vehicles, smart devices, and mobile apps. In 2017, the global investment in IoT solutions amounted to over $800 billion.
- The 2020 IoT Signals report found that 90% out of 3,000 IoT decision-makers from different industries believe IoT is crucial to their organization’s success. 64% of respondents say they are going to use even more IoT-enabled solutions.
- Analysts revealed that 31% of companies plan to invest more IoT development due to the COVID-19 pandemic (the 2020 IoT Signals report).
- 54% of the survey participants say IoT technology has contributed to increased operational efficiency in their organizations while 47% of respondents have managed to boost employee productivity (the 2020 IoT Signals report).
- Healthcare is the third industry to see the fastest CAGR growth—which is 13.6%—following construction and telecommunication sectors (IDC report). IoT apps and devices are being widely introduced to remotely monitor patient health, which is especially important during the coronavirus disease.
- By 2025, smart cities are projected to have a market value of over $2 trillion.
- At the moment, the European e-hailing market, playing an important role in building smart mobility solutions, generates revenues of $50 billion. Furthermore, these revenues are anticipated to reach $120 billion by 2025.
- The worldwide IoT agriculture market size is projected to triple by 2025, growing from a slightly over $5 billion in 2016 to $15.3 billion.
Farmers can use IoT solutions such as robotics, unmanned vehicles, automated equipment, and metered-dose spraying devices for monitoring livestock, growing crops, as well as analyzing data. With IoT technology, you can ensure the efficient utilization of water, electricity, and other resources.
As the Internet of Things is poised to affect all industries while helping resolve multiple business challenges, it is one of the key software development trends in 2021 and the years to come.
3. Progressive web apps
A progressive web app (PWA) is a combination of a mobile application and website. PWAs are created using web technologies but look and behave like mobile solutions.
Having fast access to product functionality from the smartphone’s home screen is more convenient than opening a browser every time you want to visit a website or downloading a mobile app from Google Play or App Store. Instead of searching the application in stores, the website suggests you to simply click on “Add to the home screen”.
As it is much easier to make a PWA than a mobile version of a website while ensuring a seamless user experience, PWAs are one of the key IT trends in 2021 and beyond.
The main benefits of progressive web apps:
- offline access
- small size
- reduced page load time
- faster development in comparison with mobile app creation
- reduced software development cost
Many well-known companies have been successfully using progressive web apps for several years, including AliExpress, Forbes, Pinterest, Twitter, and Flipkart. Thanks to PWAs, they managed to increase the conversion rate, boost user engagement, and lower bounce rate. For instance. For example, AliExpress raised conversion for new users by 104%.
Statista reports that mobile users consume almost 50% of worldwide web traffic. In the first quarter of 2020, smartphones generated nearly 52% of the global website traffic. So, creating a PWA may be a great opportunity for your business to attract more customers.
4. Virtual reality and augmented reality
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are one of the most crucial software development trends for the coming years. Valued at a slightly over $10.3 billion in 2019, the world’s VR market size is projected to grow at a CAGR of 21.6% from 2020 to 2027.
According to Statista, the AR technology market is forecasted to reach more than $18 billion by 2023. PwC expects that 23 million jobs will be employing AR and VR technologies by 2030.
- In 2021, businesses will be actively adopting AR and VR to boost sales and engage consumers. Yet today, many retailers provide users with the possibility to virtually try on clothes and accessories. With AR, it is possible to imagine how furniture items will look in the room.
- Organizations build AR and VR applications to train employees through simulation-based learning. Such training will become a common practice in industries such as manufacturing, construction, healthcare and education.
- IT companies create games offering immersive experiences. Tactile suits and gloves are one of the innovations predicted to be introduced worldwide. Soon, we will be able to plunge into the virtual world, just as it was in “Ready Player One” movie.
There will be more gadgets that support VR and AR due to the emergence of more powerful smartphones, new processors, folding screens, strong sensors, as well as 5G distribution.
5. Robotic process automation
Robotic process automation (RPA) is a practice of using software robots to replicate the activities of people within software systems. RPA is not about employing physical robots—only software programs that rely on the pre-defined rules and detailed instructions to carry out operations. These programs can be configured to support various processes according to business-specific needs.
Allowing companies to speed up routine, repetitive, and manual tasks from hours to seconds, RPA is one of the main software development trends in 2021. Data entry, search, validation, invoice generation, complex calculations are examples of activities that you can automate with RPA technology.
According to Grand View Research, the world’s RPA market size will account at $3.97 billion by 2025. The Deloitte Global RPA Survey says that RPA software solutions continue to meet and even surpass expectations contributing to enhanced quality/accuracy (90%), increased productivity (86%), and reduced costs (59%).
Analysts at Deloitte also revealed that $20 million investment in using RPA software can result in a $100 million revenue increase.
Cybersecurity is another software development trend of 2021. Safeguarding data should be a top priority for all companies, especially for those working with sensitive information. In its report, CA Technologies founded that 86% of respondents consider security to be more important than convenience when choosing a service.
Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that by 2021 the annual damage from cybercrime will reach $6 trillion globally. Therefore, by protecting software systems from hacker attacks, malware, viruses, unauthorized access, etc., you will be able to build digital trust and save money.
Since digital transformation is rapidly gathering pace, new cybersecurity threats are appearing:
- A deepfake is a technique of using AI to produce realistic, fake alterations to photo, audio, or video content. Existing images, videos, and voice records of real people are processed with machine learning algorithms to produce a fiction that seems to be real.
- Cloud solutions remain on the hunt for hackers. To protect the cloud, you can employ data encryption, machine learning algorithms, and other solutions.
- 5G networks that are deployed in test mode are also at risk. Despite great potential advantages, these networks must be carefully examined with all issues (e.g., unauthorized tracking of user location, intercepting messages) resolved.
Competition in the business environment is very high. To become a winner, you should not only know the main trends in software development but also use them wisely. For the right choice of the best technology for the app/website development always keep in mind the importance of building a proof of concept for your business idea.
Focusing on workflow automation, data security, great customer service, and staff productivity, you will optimize processes, reduce costs, and increase revenue.