The ongoing pandemic has transformed industries and has had a tremendous impact across sectors. We had to reimagine the way we work and maintain business continuity across industries. Many of those learnings from 2020 will be crucial for 2021 too. The previous year was a tough one, but technology played an essential role in overcoming many of our challenges and maintaining business continuity. Digital Trends are expected to accelerate across industry segments leading to faster transformation than originally planned.
From an engineering standpoint, in the industrial sector, the focus will be on the following two areas:
Cost optimization and sustainability of the business through consolidation of service partners; setting up exclusive partnerships with suppliers to manage and supporting long-range legacy business.
Digitalization and automation to optimize engineering processes, Machine Learning. Artificial Intelligence driven decision-making models, factory automation using IoT, optimized product maintenance using digital twins, and supply chain transformation through digital manufacturing.
Industry 4.0 frameworks and technologies will become all-pervasive across industries leading to faster adoption of digital technologies with a clear sight of business benefits compared to what has been envisaged.
In terms of the industry sectors that should see growth in the year 2021:
Medical Technology & Hi-Tech
The two sectors that have managed to sustain and thrive even during the pandemic stricken 2020 have been the medical technology and hi-tech sectors. Both these sectors will continue to see a rapid infusion of digital technologies leading to enhanced products and solutions.
On the Medical Technology side, the focus will be on digital healthcare solutions, connected wearables technology, and products and healthcare IT.
On the hi-tech side, the focus would be on cloudification of applications, AI/ML-driven intelligent products and solutions, automation for large-scale product service optimization, and networking developments around 5G technologies.
Rail transportation solutions around Metro, high-speed trains, electrification, advanced signaling, autonomous and connected trains will continue to see growth and development in 2021.
Power & Renewable energy
Continued focus and pressure on account of climate change will see an enhanced focus on developing and deploying renewable energy sources for power generation. Conventional power will be mostly relegated to sustenance, whereas the broader adoption of renewable energy will be the focus for power industry growth.
Oil & Gas
The oil & gas industry has been focused on improving its operational efficiencies using digital transformation, and this will see further acceleration in 2021. Process workflow improvements, asset management, and inspection automation using AI/ML models will continue to be their prime focus.
The automotive industry is undergoing a significant transformation through electric vehicles, autonomous driving solutions, driver safety solutions, and connected vehicle solutions. All of these will continue to see an acceleration in development.
While aerospace has been the most impacted industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus for revival in the industry would be led by the maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO). This will help in supporting operations in the aviation industry and will stand to gain more business and increase in demand, as airlines would want to keep their aircraft in good working condition. For the commercial aerospace manufacturers, the focus would be to bring in digital technologies to improve their engineering process efficiencies and optimize cycle times.
In summary, the year 2021 will be enhanced and accelerated with a focus on digital transformation across industry sectors in conjunction with a sustained focus on cost optimization and business efficiencies.
By – Piyush Jain, vice president & Head – APAC Delivery, QuEST Global