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AI, ML, 5G, IoT will be the most important tech in 2021: Study

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Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, 5G, and the Internet of Things (IoT) would be the most important technologies in 2021, according to a new study by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

The technical professional organization on Monday released the results of a survey of Chief Information Officers (CIO) and Chief Technology Officers (CTO) in the US, the UK, China, India, and Brazil. The survey was on the most important technologies for 2021, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the speed of their technology adoption, and the industries expected to be most impacted by technology.

On which would be the most important technologies, nearly one-third of the total respondents (32 percent) said AI and ML followed by 5G (20 percent) and IoT (14 percent), according to an IEEE statement. Manufacturing (19 percent), healthcare (18 percent), financial services (15 percent), and education (13 percent) are the industries that most believe would be impacted by technology, according to the CIOs and CTOs surveyed.

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At the same time, more than half (52 percent) of CIOs and CTOs see their biggest challenge as dealing with aspects of COVID-19 recovery in relation to business operations. These challenges include a permanent hybrid remote and office work structure (22 percent), office and facilities reopening's and return (17 percent), and managing permanent remote working (13 percent).

However, 11 percent said the agility to stop and start IT initiatives as this unpredictable environment continues would be their biggest challenge. Another 11 percent cited online security threats, including those related to remote workers, as the biggest challenge they see.

CIOs and CTOs surveyed have sped up adopting some technologies due to the pandemic. More than half (55 percent) of respondents have accelerated adoption of cloud computing, 52 percent have accelerated 5G adoption and 51 percent have accelerated AI and ML. The adoption of IoT (42 percent), augmented and virtual reality (35 percent) and video conferencing (35 percent) technologies have also been accelerated due to the global pandemic.

Compared to a year ago, CIOs and CTOs overwhelmingly (92 percent) believe their company is better prepared to respond to a potentially catastrophic interruption such as a data breach or natural disaster. "What's more, of those who say they are better prepared, 58 percent strongly agree that COVID-19 accelerated their preparedness," the statement said.

Asked which technologies would have the greatest impact on global COVID-19 recovery, one in four (25 percent) of those surveyed said AI and ML.

The top two concerns for CIOs and CTOs when it comes to the cybersecurity of their organization are security issues related to the mobile workforce including employees bringing their own devices to work (37 percent) and ensuring the IoT is secure (35 percent). This is not surprising, since the number of connected devices such as smartphones, tablets, sensors, robots, and drones is increasing dramatically.

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