Workplace 2021: Seven key deeptech trends that will impact nature of modern-day offices

Updated: Feb 10, 2021 9:18 PM

From digital assistants to predictive maintenance, AI and Machine Learning have many potential applications that can immensely transform the workplace and help organizations achieve better results. The addition of IoT platforms to Enterprise Software will be a game-changer for many industries.

Eco Survey on labour forceWith a growing number of digital workers using virtual employee assistants on a daily basis, Voice AI will play a major role in the lives of employees everywhere.
  • By Ramesh SivaSubramanian

The dual effects of the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic as well as technological advancements will greatly impact the nature of the workplace in 2021. Technologies utilizing artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things are becoming increasingly prevalent and will be used extensively by not only developers, data scientists, and engineers, but by employees in other business functions as well. With this in mind, I have predicted seven trends that will arise in the workplace in 2021.

  • Voice AI- With a growing number of digital workers using virtual employee assistants on a daily basis, Voice AI will play a major role in the lives of employees everywhere. According to Statista, by 2024, the number of digital voice assistants in existence is forecasted to be 8.4 billion units, which would be higher than the world’s population. Moreover, Voicebot.ai found that 58 per cent of all adults online have used voice search, which may make it even easier to adopt voice-based assistants in the workplace, due to the degree of familiarity. Augmented with ML, Voice AI has the capability to align with what the user requests the system and provide relevant information. In fact, applications that can mimic regional accents and modulations are already getting popular, thus ensuring a near-human touch to voice assistants. The power of voice assistants is such that they can service both people working inside and outside an organization, such as suppliers, distributors, and consumers. With touch-based biometrics becoming a health hazard, voice recognition is well on its way to become yet another preferred mode for workplace access and employee attendance.
  • Low Code Application Platforms- Low Code Application Platforms are becoming increasingly appealing, as their capabilities can cover a massive and growing subset of enterprise application requirements; according to Grand View Research, Inc., the market for LCAPs is projected to register a CAGR of 22.7 per cent from 2020-2027. Some businesses have begun to pick them as their platform for strategic applications. The scope of LCAPs is advancing to cover an increasing number of digital business scenarios. LCAPs can eliminate the requirement for high-control frameworks in some firms as they require fewer skills and training compared to traditional platforms. However, as opposed to No Code Application Platforms, LCAPs require knowledge of programming languages to utilize them and they are designed to be used by both business users and professional developers, unlike NCAPs, which are designed to be used only by business users.
  • IoT Platforms in Enterprise Software- The number of businesses adding IoT capabilities to their physical plant and assets as well as making their finished goods and services IoT ready is rapidly increasing. Due to the value obtained from linking and analysing assets and processes, IoT has wide appeal across all sectors. Non-IT and non-traditional buyers are driving demand for IoT solutions; this trend will grow as IoT becomes more intermingled with digital business. IoT will also greatly enhance the effectiveness of digital twins by providing real-time data, which will ensure that the effects of simulations performed on a digital twin will mirror the effects resulting from the same conditions applied to its physical counterpart as closely as possible. Edge computing is crucial to ensure that the IoT platforms operate as quickly as possible, through enabling data processing and storage by a gateway that is close to the device that gathers the data. Through the use of blockchain technology, the security of IoT platforms can be increased. Blockchain also enables devices to execute smart contracts, allowing them to work without requiring a central authority.

Also read: Covid-hit MSMEs shutdown: Nitin Gadkari says no data maintained by government due to this reason

  • AI everywhere – The role of AI in enterprise applications and its usage is rapidly increasing. For example, machine learning capabilities can be used in intelligent process management platforms to assist in decision management and integrate with technologies that facilitate predictive analytics. In Payroll, machine learning can help in identifying anomalies in data both at the input and output stage to avert errors and speed up processing. Predictive maintenance utilizes AI and ML, specifically for unplanned events in which the system can examine data to predict and also continuously learn on the basis of such unplanned events to improve the prediction. In Logistics machine learning supports in-memory optimization and last-mile planning that assesses multiple real-time data before delivering the final fleet plan suggestions, including driver and vehicle availability, nature of the consignment, etc., simplifying the dreaded task of freight planning.
  • Democratization– Enterprises are increasingly seeking to enable the ability to build AI solutions from their data scientists to their entire IT department, hence increasing the set of employees having the skills and tools to access specialized technology and knowledge to build AI-based solutions. The democratization trend can target anyone internal or external to the firm such as customers, salespeople, factory workers, and IT operations professionals.
  • Payroll Outsourcing – The pandemic and the related lockdown derailed operations for organizations who managed payroll in-house. The need to leverage technology for quicker and error-free processing and having a standardized payroll across markets will drive organizations to move to an outsource model of Payroll processing, thus letting experts manage the compliance and complexities that are linked to it.
  • Outlook as the new UI: With users spending substantial time on their email box, Outlook could possibly become the new UI, where transactions can be completed right from an email or chat window. The entire ecosystem of suppliers, customers, and partners can be connected to the ERP system without the need for any additional app.

From digital assistants to predictive maintenance, AI and Machine Learning have many potential applications that can immensely transform the workplace and help organizations achieve better results. The addition of IoT platforms to Enterprise Software will be a game-changer for many industries. The ability to build applications and solutions will no longer solely reside with developers; business users will also be able to create them as per their needs. The increasing complexity and compliance regulations associated with payroll will drive more firms to outsource their payroll processing to specialists. Finally, Outlook can serve as a new UI for users, enabling them to perform tasks on an ERP system without requiring them to log into a separate application. Although the workplace this year will become more technologically advanced, the workforce will find a greater sense of ease and convenience in performing their jobs.

Ramesh SivaSubramanian is the Global Head of Innovations at Ramco Systems. Views expressed are the author’s own.

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