Four Amazing Tech Trends for 2021



Everyone, it seems, cannot wait to put 2020 behind them. Therefore, as the year comes to a close, let’s start talking about what we can look forward to in 2021. There will be advances to existing technologies and there will be some new developments that will impact how we interact with others and how we get around town.


Autonomous Vehicles

People have been talking about self-driving cars for a while. In the 1960’s they were the subject of science fiction books and movies. More recently, however, autonomous vehicle travel has been advancing as a realistic possibility for getting around town and moving commerce.


Zoox, a new company, just introduced a self-driving taxi vehicle. Big names such as General Motors, Alphabet and subsidiary Waymo, Intel and others are getting in on the trend. In fact, Waymo reports that 94% of accidents are the result of human error. Eliminate human drivers and accidents could decline. Their mission is to make autonomous sensors for other car manufacturers that eliminate the possibility of human error. Companies like Fiat Chrysler and Toyota are current customers of their technology.


Uber is another big name with a strong interest in this technology. The company believes that they can get the cost of individualized transportation down to ten cents per mile by eliminating driver costs. At that rate, it will virtually eliminate the need for individuals to own a vehicle.


While we may not see broad adoption and use of these technologies in 2021 there are some big movements in that direction coming next year. BMW, Ford and General Motors all plan to introduce consumer autonomous vehicles in 2021. While many challenges such as charging stations, local legislation and consumer acceptance still need to be managed, autonomous vehicles will be on the road next year.


Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence, (AI) the ability of computers to learn and perform complex tasks beyond simple calculations, has been rapidly advancing. Advanced AI neural networks, in fact, are the driving forces behind autonomous vehicles. Some other areas where AI is having an impact on our lives include virtual nursing assistants, connected machines, robot assisted surgery, and network security. Using Darwinian theory, research is underway to develop AI programs that can improve themselves by replicating successful algorithms and eliminating less productive ones.


Artificial Intelligence computing is getting faster, smarter and more flexible. New practical applications are being developed at a rapid pace. It is important, however, to understand both the power and the limitations of AI computing. It has the ability to learn, solve problems, interpret speech and think logically. However, AI cannot yet feel emotion, control your mind or take over the world. Understanding the capabilities and limitations of AI will help develop trust in the technology and broaden future utilization.


IoT Adoption and Security

Globally, in 2021 there will be over 21 billion connected devices. Applications for these devices include digital assistants, wearable medical devices, refrigerators, door locks, ovens, games, cars, traffic lights, thermostats, smartphones, GPS devices, power outlets, lights and many more. Name a device and there is likely an internet connected version.


The question consumers should be asking as this trend continues to accelerate, is, “What kind of security is built in to my connected devices?” The answer will be, “Not much.” Smart homes, smart phones, smart devices are convenient but also vulnerable. It is great to check if you left the oven on after you left for vacation. It is comforting to double check that your front door is locked remotely from your smartphone. However, if you can remotely access these devices, it is likely others can as well. Reliability and security of connected devices will be of paramount importance as manufacturers add connectivity to a broad range of consumer products.


Data Speeds and Monitoring

A decade ago, data centers were stressing about how to monitor traffic as link speeds migrated from 1Gbps to 10Gbps. Most monitoring tools in 2010 were not capable of opening, inspecting, processing and forwarding packets at 10Gbps. Network demand, however, required upgrading to higher speed links. The choice was to purchase expensive new tools that could process at the higher speeds or utilize packet brokers that could filter packets and load balance high speed inputs to lower speed tools.


Fast forward to 2021 and the same problem exists but with orders of magnitude more complexity. Looking at network demand factors such as Work From Home, IoT growth, AI computing and other data centric advances, the need for more speed has accelerated to a level unimaginable just a few years back.


The 1/10Gbps monitoring question is now a quest to find appropriate monitoring and security tools for cloud and data center networks utilizing a mix of speeds from 10Gbps to 25 Gbps to 100Gbps to 400Gbps. Moving from 1Gig to 10Gig requires processing ten times the data in the same amount of time. Moving from 10Gig to 100Gig also increases processing by a factor of ten. However, while the processing time of one second is constant, processing packets at 10 times one billion is significantly more complex than 10 times one million. Moreover, monitoring is ever more critical due to the massive amount of traffic passing through.


Fortunately, Network Critical, a global innovator in network visibility, is delivering a new, blazing fast packet broker to help manage 2021 data speeds. The Smart-NA PortPlus HyperCore™ is be able to filter, aggregate, map and load balance incoming packets at rates up to 400Gbps. Even more important, each port can act as input or output and easily adapt to speeds including 1/10/25/40/100/200/400Gbps for a total non-blocking system throughput of 25.6Tbps!


Large enterprise data centers, cloud hosts, mobile trunking, government and finance networks will all be upgrading speed and bandwidth in 2021. The need for monitoring and protection of network assets has never been greater. The recent news about state sponsored hacks planting rogue software that went undetected for months highlights the urgent need for networks to continue monitoring and security vigilance even as speeds accelerate beyond current tool technology. High speed packet brokers that can load balance existing tools will be in high demand in 2021 closing the gap between speed and security.


For more information about monitoring and security at any speed, contact Network Critical today. There are network visibility specialists eager to discuss design options that will keep up with 2021 demand without sacrificing security.

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