Software Development Trends to Watch in 2021

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MARYNA DEMCHENKO

Published: 11 Dec 2020

Software Development

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The end of this unprecedented year is around the corner, so the time is right to try and predict what lies ahead in the foreseeable future in the realm of software development. As 2020 has shown us, no one can see how the future will unfold, but it's best to be prepared. In this article, we will discuss technologies and software development trends that are likely to gain momentum in the upcoming year. Let's dive in!

AI-powered meetings

Online meetings have become the necessary evil during the pandemic. Meetings come in all shapes and forms (standups, brainstorm sessions, water-coolers, one-on-ones), and understandably, this sphere has become extremely lucrative for startups. Entrepreneurs now come up with different ways to optimize meetings. Some offer automated scheduling, slide share tools, and interactive backgrounds. Others provide a way to gauge the participants' morale using facial recognition techniques. As virtual work keeps its expansion, we will probably see the rise in software that boosts our meeting experience. 

Progressive and hybrid development 

Progressive web applications (PWA) is a popular approach to app development where applications can work across all platforms. Hybrid applications are usually handled by one team of developers, while for native apps, you typically need two separate teams, iOS and Android. 

Today's popularity of React Native (42% of developers use it for their mobile apps, according to JetBrains' The State of Developer Ecosystem 2020) can underpin the fact that hybrid development isn't likely to lose momentum next year. 

Our developers from NCube work with React Native to create a real-time data analytics product, such as the case of FRST. 

The most significant benefit of a hybrid approach is that the products turn out to be lightweight, adaptable to any screens, and are on the major search engines' radar. It's advocated by big names like Pinterest, Twitter, Forbes, among others.

ALIBABA, the world's leading online trading B2B platform, is making an excellent use case of PWA. After a futile attempt to divert users to the app, they decided to go with a browser experience, which many of their users preferred. It resulted in:

  • 76% higher conversions across browsers
  • 14% more monthly active users on iOS; 30% on Android
  • 4X higher interaction rate from Add to Home Screen

On the other hand, native app development isn't going anywhere. According to Forbes, the financial and banking industry will continue to rely on native development since it offers top-notch mobile experience, the highest security levels, and flawless performance. These parameters are critical for this industry. 

Internet of Things 

IoT has permeated our lives, and it continues to ingrain in it deeper and deeper. The world of connected cars, smart homes and cities, and industrial IoT will continue its global expansion in 2021. There is a handful of cases for IoT implementation that will be trendy, including the next: 

Connected cars - we can hardly call this year a successful year for this industry, but it's expected that the revenue will break from its flat state in late 2021. 

Virtual healthcare - The new demands imposed by the pandemic fueled finding the solutions to regulatory and infrastructure challenges that had previously been insurmountable. That will remove all the barriers to telemedicine that, at its heart, relies on IoT. As such, we can expect a rise in IoT-powered devices that track patients' healthcare. 

Virtual education - In times of pandemic, IoT can add value to the academic process with a wide range of connected devices that help bring teachers and students closer. 

IoT and AI convergence - the duo of AI and IoT (AIoT) refers to making the Internet of Things perform intelligence tasks by integrating Artificial Intelligence. The Artificial Internet of Things helps connect IoT devices with sensors that are integrated with AI capabilities, all without bringing a human into the loop.

Human Augmentation

Human Augmentation embraces technologies that help people replicate, supplement, or exceed their natural abilities. These technologies are a set of devices and implants built into the body. Some of them can replicate an amputated limb, translate sign language into speech, restore sight or hearing, create organic tissues. Others enable us to do things beyond human ability, like exoskeletons providing artificial strength and endurance or earbuds that translate from foreign languages. New human augmentation technologies are underway. 

Big Data 

Processing and analyzing sizable datasets is still a challenge for many organizations. However, a set of tools appeared that allow for immediate data processing, taking out the problem of storing data after calculating. Thus, data processing framework skills will be in high demand. Big Data is also a cornerstone in discovering new medicines, combating climate change, and NLP (Natural Language Processing). 

Virtual reality experiences

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technologies are firmly established on the market, and it has been so even in pre-pandemic times. But during this unprecedented year, when the amenities of the physical works became unavailable, the immersive tech came to the rescue, helping simulate the real world and let customers shop the way they used to. 

Accenture reports that immersive technologies such as augmented and virtual reality and 3D content can enhance consumer purchasing confidence and increase online sales. In fact, 64% of leading consumer brands are starting to invest in immersive experiences.

Virtual reality technologies have been on the rise during the lockdown, especially in tourism. Many tourists have gotten an alternative with AR/VR's help - immersing themselves in locations they couldn't visit otherwise, such as museums, thematic parks, landmarks. We can say that the global lockdown drives virtual reality adoption, and it looks like this business will be on the rise next year. 

More affordable AI

AI will continue permeating all aspects of our lives, and we will see its capabilities implemented across healthcare, education, finance, and entertainment. AI is the force that helps businesses automate their mundane tasks and workflows, provide personalized experiences, and optimize the budget. As a matter of fact, the AI market promises to reach $156.5 B in revenue by the end of this year. Thus, it looks like there is going to be considerable demand for AI software development skills in the next few years. 

Cybersecurity

There is an increasing need to double down on cybersecurity. As technology advances, the number of cyberattacks proliferates. This year, businesses suffered data breach losses worth of $3.86M, according to IBM. The number will inevitably go up in 2021, given that more and more companies are joining the virtual work movement. That puts cybercriminals in a good position to attack using malware, phishing, and other means. Companies can safeguard their data by eliminating vulnerabilities in their firewalls (and outside it) and implementing machine learning algorithms for fraud detection. A good solution to ward off cybercriminals is to use Blockchain capabilities. 

Low-Code Development

Building a software solution requires a large team of software developers, which poses challenges for smaller companies. Low code development platforms significantly cut investments into software development and let businesses quickly build a good solution. 

Hence, the global low code development platform market size is anticipated to reach USD 83.5 billion by 2028 with over 36% CAGR. 

Low-code platforms are the driving force that can transform the software market by providing simple interfaces to help people build apps quickly and with minimum investment. 

Afterword 

2020 has shaken up our lifestyle, prompted new buying behavior, and fueled new software development trends. Businesses that compete in the saturated market must embrace the challenges and adjust to the continually evolving IT industry. Trends are always hard to adopt, and starting with novel technologies can be a challenge. If you want to make the most of them in the upcoming year, building a skillful software development team is necessary. Contact us to talk about your development needs.

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