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10 Digital Modernization Trends Every CTO Should Expect in 2021

Learn the top digital modernization trends in 2021 and know how it can dictate your business directions.
Digital Modernization Technology Trends

For several decades, organizations and their CIOs relentlessly embraced the digital era. They formulated digital transformation strategies, acquired technologies, implemented culture change, and so on. 

Everybody races to accelerate digital efforts. While some organizations ride with the nirvana of success, others struggle because of competition and volatile market forces. Therefore, organizations should have calculated strategies to cater to the digital-native market. 

Aside from strategies, it is significant to keep up-to-date with the trends. However, it is imperative not just to follow the hype but to have an in-depth understanding of these trends. 

In this guide, let’s examine the different trends in web development. Also, refer to the statistics and recommendations to have an in-depth understanding of these trends.  Lastly, leverage the potential of these trends as your organization adapts to the new normal. 

1.Responsive Design And The Rise Of Mobile Users

Mobile responsive web design is no longer an option; it is a top requirement. As the Internet turns into an amorphous network of smart devices, it drives and affects businesses’ online presence. 

Here are some facts about the rise of the Mobile Web:

  • There are about 3.8 billion smartphones worldwide by the end of 2021.
  • Millennials, Generation X, and Z are using mobile devices to access the Web instead of desktop computers.
  • As a result, mobile purchases are growing unprecedentedly compared to desktop PC purchases.

Recommendations:

  • Invest in mobile optimization with expert IT developers so as not to lose potential customers. Consider these statistics that say 53% of users leave and wouldn’t use a website with slow page speed. 
  • Build a mobile-friendly website to increase sales since about 67% are more likely to buy something from a mobile-friendly website. 
  • Adopt the best mobile website configurations such as dynamic serving that uses the same URL for mobile and desktop computers but delivers different site configurations based on the type of device.
  • Implement responsive web development as it is crucial in search engines’ indexing and rankings algorithms. 
Mobile Application Trend

2. Chatbots Used In Customer Support

Businesses can save a lot of money by employing bots instead of humans. It dramatically increases productivity by eliminating social support to serve repetitive inquiries. The global chatbot market is expected to reach $1.25 billion by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of 24.3%.

Thus, here are some facts about the rise of chatbots used in customer support:

  • In Gartner’s study, 85% of customer interactions happen without human interaction by the end of 2020. 
  • 57% of consumers prefer chatbots for their immediate response. 
  • TechEmergence predicted that chatbots would reach the top-most rank for consumers among all AI technologies in the next five years.
  • 48% of consumers prefer to contact a company via live chat, and 95% believe chatbots will be best used for customer service. 

Recommendations:

  • Build a simple chatbot architecture by reducing the scope or expectations of the chatbot’s capabilities. 
  • Determine the chatbot engine and channels to use and put into consideration the long-term usage.
  • Set the focus of the development from traditional software development. Chatbot development should be experimental, developers should learn from experience, and it is an iterative process until the chatbot learns.
Chatbot Trends


3. Accelerated Mobile Pages And Load Speed

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is an open-standard Google-backed project. It is designed for pages to load quickly on mobile devices. It was on Google listings as part of its mobile search results. As a result, it requires business leaders to develop websites that load instantaneously and run seamlessly on mobile devices.

Here are some facts about the rise of AMP and load speed:

  • According to Google, about 53% of mobile site visitors leave a page because of slow page loading that takes longer than three seconds.
  • The median load time for content coded with AMP HTML is 0.7 seconds, while non-AMP pages are 22 seconds.
  • The most significant player in AMP format includes WordPress, Reddit, Bing, eBay, Pinterest, and Google. 

Recommendations: 

  • Prepare an in-depth plan on implementing AMP considering all the restrictions and leveraging the benefits since an extra second of the mobile loading time is already a massive deal in business.
  • Create a contingency plan since there is no guarantee that Google will continue or ditch this format in the coming years. Consider all the alternatives to having a website's higher engagement and brand awareness. 
  • Use "mobile-first" design and development approaches in website development. Regardless of what format, they'll likely become a necessity in 2021, and you’ll need to be prepared for their popularity one way or another.
A lady is searching through voice recognition


4. Voice Search Optimization

Voice search optimization is a new trend breaking into search engines. Consumers now rely on digital assistants like Siri, Cortana, Google Assistant, Alexa, and Echo. These technologies revolutionize the familiar voice searching methods and provide ease and convenience among users.

Here are some facts about voice search optimization:

  • The voice search is changing the SEO game as Google voice search queries were 35 times greater in 2016 than in 2008
  • 19% of people use Siri at least once per day, while 55% of teens and 40% of adults use any voice search assistant daily. 
  • 50% of search queries using voice instead of text by the end of 2020.

Recommendations:

  • Make voice search, coupled with optimization, as part of the design feature of your mobile applications. Consider 20% of mobile searches coming from voice searches, according to Google. 
  • Explore the possibilities of voice search integration on your website since consumers become increasingly comfortable using voice search to browse the Internet. 
  • Implement voice search recognition API to your website. It is not a novel approach as two of the world’s largest web browsers — Google Chrome and Firefox — already support the technology. A voice-activated website attracts users as 40% say they can’t live without voice-activated devices.

5. API-First Design And Streamlined Workloads

Traditional software development starts with user requirements. At first, developers focus on building the design. Then, they begin with backend and frontend development. Lastly, is the API development, as it is the tricky part since both ends can’t work in parallel.

The back-end team starts working on the API, and once it is complete, they forward it to the front-end team. Then, the front-end team performs testing and builds SDKs. After which, they test and double-check if the API’s integration is working.

It takes a lot of time. With API-first design, developers began with the API development and followed by building the software product on top of it. It saves a lot of work while laying down the foundations for others to build on.

This approach is brought by the growth in global connectivity and increases APIs’ adoption for each application. And with the rise of interconnectivity among IoT, mobile devices, smart home devices, gaming systems, wearable tech, and computers, it offers a lot of convenience for the user. 

But all of those connections can get a bit uncertain if the developer starts building the application in the wrong place. 

Here are some facts about API-first design:

  • Businesses are now using API-first strategies, and those early birds with a strong commitment to this concept report faster innovation and higher revenue from business partnerships. 
  • API adoption continues to rise, with 67% of organizations only developing APIs from 2014 to 2019. 
  • In 2016, API evolved from technical jargon into a term with business value when Gartner coined the term “API economy.”

Recommendation:

  • Think about business outcomes and dig deeper into the ins and outs of API-first design, API-first development, and API-first architecture.
  • Evangelize API-first opportunities to create business value
  • Emulate the success stories of the API-first companies and leverage the concept of the API-first movement. 
A man using smartphone for researching for a dish

6. Motion Ui And Suffering Attention Spans

People are getting impatient, and attention span is no longer a frill but a necessity. The global attention span is narrowing as we continue to live in an age of distractions and hurried lifestyles.  Hence, organizations are always on the lookout for something to grab the attention of the users.

It is where beautiful motion UI comes into play. At first, Motion UI is quite complicated, but according to Jonas Naimark, “Despite having so much potential, motion is perhaps the least understood of all the design disciplines.” He argued that although Motion UI is the newest member of the UI design family, it already cemented its place. 

So how does Motion UI work? Take a look at the traditional squeeze page fishing for emails. Motion UI transforms this static page into animation. For example, conventional enticing phrases turn into an animation. As you scroll down the page, it changes and adapts to keep the visitor engaged.

Recommendation:

  • To address attention spans’ problem, consider the efficacy of motion UI efforts, and work together with your designers and developers. 
  • Since it is a new trend, its effectiveness is still questionable. However, we will just wait until 2021.


Digital modernization security notifications

7. Artificial Intelligence And Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity threats are no easy feat. Hence, software developers are into artificial intelligence (AI) that helps counter such threats. For instance, algorithms embedded in customer support systems to predict fraud and unusual systems behavior are on demand.

Here are some facts about AI and cybersecurity:

  • According to Statista, network security is the most common artificial intelligence (AI) use case for cybersecurity. 
  • From its survey,  around 75%  of IT executives stated that they use AI for cybersecurity purposes. 
  • Also, data security and endpoint security are runners-up with 71% and 68% usage, respectively. 
  • Thus, expect that by 2021, robots will continue to make a big difference in the cybersecurity world. Plus, AI will make cybersecurity cheaper and more efficient.

Why can AI help in the cybersecurity world? In the past, cybersecurity breaches are often reported late and are deemed historical events. With the help of AI, it can detect possible intrusion, thereby limiting the possibilities of attack and network failure.

In 2016, a team at MIT developed an artificial intelligence system that detects 85% of attacks before they occur.  They can right away solve a problem the moment it appears. Further, with the help of AI, they have a better chance of mitigating the damage and implementing actions for future attacks.


List of Modern applications

8. Progressive Web Applications

Progressive Web Apps (PWA) use the emerging web browser Application Programming Interface (API). It works with a traditional progressive enhancement strategy for users to experience a native app-like environment and cross-platform web applications. PWAs are trending as a useful design pattern, but it is not a formalized standard yet. PWAs are similar to AJAX or other similar practices that besets a set of application attributes. It includes the use of specific web technologies and techniques. 

PWAs allow consumers to transact online across devices, connections, or even operating systems. Statista’s global survey in October 2019 shows that, some e-commerce decision-makers revealed that 11% already have PWAs while 24% are planning on investing in it. Additionally, 29% of companies did not have plans to invest in PWA. 

With the current global crisis and the demand to adapt, this is an interesting aspect to consider. In the same survey, 14% stated that they don’t know what a PWA is. Has the current pandemic changed these statistics? 

On the other hand, how do you differentiate a traditional web app from PWA? There are three main features: 

  • Secure contexts (HTTPS)
  • Service Workers
  • Manifest file

Secure Contexts (HTTPS)

Businesses should deploy web applications over a secure network. At present, a secure website is not only a best practice but a necessity. It establishes that your web application is a trusted portal, especially if it involves monetary transactions. PWAs follow the secure context of features such as geolocation. Also, service workers are available only once users load the app using HTTPS.

Service Workers

A service worker is a script that allows intercepting and control of how a web browser handles its network requests and asset caching. With service workers, web developers can create reliably fast web pages and offline experiences.

Manifest File

A manifest file is a JSON file that controls how your app appears to the user. Also, it ensures that your progressive web app is discoverable. Inside the manifest, it details the name of the app, the start URL, icons, and all of the other information necessary to transform the website into an app-like format.

Software developers are now building PWAs because of its several advantages. PWAs are:

  • Discoverable 
  • Installable 
  • Linkable
  • Network independent 
  • Progressive 
  • Re-engageable 
  • Responsive
  • Secure

To help with your organization on how PWA works, refer to the PWA developer guide.

Different kinds of Computers

9. 5G Connectivity And Internet Of Things Apps

The rise of 5G connectivity fuels the already trending Internet of Things (IoT). From researchandmarket.com, “5G and IoT enabled smart machines to represent a $1.7B global opportunity by 2025. The device-level SLAs will be crucial for ensuring enterprise and industrial QoS requirements. Also, 5G is a must for in-building private wireless networks in support of ultra-reliable IoT applications. Additionally, edge computing application revenue in 5G will exceed 46% of infrastructure spending by 2025. Lastly, driven by edge computing, micro-data centers represent a $2.5B opportunity globally by 2025.”

The number of connected devices is set to increase from 700 million to 3.2 billion by 2023. This promising duo is fueled by market demand, which is also another factor contributing to this trend. As a result, everybody wants to be part of the global 5G networks.

As 5G networks start to rule the cellular mobile communications, IoT providers continue to improve these connected devices’ performance and reliability. There, the commercial success of any IoT product is ultimately tied to its implementation. 

Position your company in the middle, be the link between 5G and your target IoT devices. Remember, 5G networks are ten times faster than current LTE networks. Its data-transfer speed is the primary performance key since application growth is dependent on how quickly it can communicate. The increase in rate fuels the market demand and allows IoT devices to communicate and share data faster. Hence, there will be a surge of optimized websites that acts as the middleman between 5G and IoT.

5G is not just speed, but also it has broader network reliability. Users have more stable connections. It is crucial, especially for critical operations that involve devices such as locks, security cameras, and other monitoring systems that depend on real-time updates.

Businesses should invest in 5G-compatible devices to leverage 5G. As the innovation continues, expect that high-speed connectivity, very low latency, and more excellent coverage are the primary keys in IoT. Nearly all IoT devices apply to different industries such as agriculture, health care, and other industrial applications.

Despite the hype of IoT and 5G networks, it is vital to consider stringent IoT practices. Prepare for your current and future IoT campaigns with extensive requirements analysis and consider success stories to benchmark. This way, you can execute a better execution of your IoT projects. 

A Woman testing an augmented reality invention

10. Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, And Virtual Reality

According to Statista, “In 2020, estimates suggest that the consumer market for immersive technology will bring in around 6.3 billion dollars in revenue around the world. The largest segment of the market is virtual reality, which will account for less than half of that total. At the same time, mobile augmented reality and augmented/mixed reality headsets will bring around 3.7 billion dollars combined.

This is the last trend that this paper will tackle―immersive technologies. Both industries and the market invest in technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality (MR), and Virtual Reality (VR). However, as the trend skyrocketed, so as the confusion about the differences between these technologies. 

Immersive technologies are technologies that integrate virtual and real-world elements. Yes, AR, MR, and VR have similarities, but there are differences as well. 

Let’s start with Augmented Reality.

Augmented reality (AR) integrates virtual objects into a real-world environment. Users experience AR via smartphones, tablets, heads-up displays, or AR glasses. On the other hand, Virtual reality (VR) is different as it is a fully immersive experience where users enter a virtual environment. It uses VR headsets and other VR devices to enter a digital environment and leave the real environment. The third one is Mixed reality (MR),an improved AR technology wherein it places virtual objects into the real world. Users then interact with it and get responses as if these are real objects.

With the threat of Covid-19 lurking around, VR and AR change the way we perceive sports. As real sports events are set aside, immersive sporting events started to trend. Your organization can explore these technologies as they enter mainstream ways to reach fans and generate new revenue streams. 

These trends are not solely focused on technologies. Immersive technologies work around the idea of people-centric smart spaces. It is essential to consider that acquiring these technologies is not enough. Top management should consider how it affects an organization's culture and the market.

Conclusion

The year 2020 was quite difficult in some fields and industries. However, IT companies could adapt quickly by implementing workstyle innovation from working from home setup to a hybrid working environment. Thus, with the current situation, as most businesses are looking for remote solutions for their businesses, 2021 will be an exciting year for the IT sector.

These web development trends will help struggling companies to bounce back. For example, IoT can create remote working tools through web development. Indeed, many small web tools are being developed over the past few years, but the recent crisis allows companies to explore all possibilities. 

It is not just purely web development now; there are also many new technologies to help businesses build better websites in 2021. Thus the demand for web developers and software professionals is expected to rise in 2021. Above all, these trends also fuel innovation in web development that will create another set of technologies that can genuinely make future trends.

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