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Your location: Home > Related Articles > Take the lead in identifying the four major enterprise level technology trends in 2021

Take the lead in identifying the four major enterprise level technology trends in 2021

Author:QINSUN Released in:2024-01 Click:64

2021 has arrived. When enterprises look forward to the new year and evaluate how to better optimize operations and accelerate growth, they will also face a series of unpredictable situations. The epidemic has had varying degrees of impact on the operations of various industries, and this impact will continue in the new year. However, this has also become a catalyst for accelerating the development of key technologies, which can help businesses achieve success in the new year and beyond. The ability to integrate new technological solutions to maintain business operations and profitability, as well as optimize workflows to cope with sustained peak demand and supply chain emergencies, has always been crucial and will continue to be so in the future.

The epidemic has accelerated the development of some long-term trends, including e-commerce, automation, and supply chain optimization. Some example use cases include "Online Purchase, Pick Up at Store" (BOPIS), store shipping, and micro fulfillment. The advancement of technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, and dynamic intelligent planning has enabled us to seize these opportunities.

Enterprises have increased their investment in intelligent automation, including robotics technology and artificial intelligence (AI), as well as machine learning (ML) and normative analysis solutions. If a company wants to provide in-depth insights for frontline employees and help them take action in real time, then it needs to focus on developing these technologies in 2021.

The accelerated development of retail automation (the entire supply chain from stores to warehousing operations and distribution centers) is driven by the demand for direct delivery to consumers, and the increasing demand for on-demand delivery methods has kept parcel transport companies operating at peak hours during traditional off peak hours. Therefore, enterprises urgently need to achieve automation of workflow to meet customer needs while improving efficiency and productivity.

In 2021, the following four enterprise level technology trends will continue to have significant impact.

1、 Computer and Machine Vision

The development of computer vision and machine vision solutions will provide enterprises in various industries with more accurate descriptions of their physical environments.

The data collected based on computer vision systems enables solutions to intuitively interpret and understand the external environment in a broader and more intelligent way. For example, computer vision can provide recognition capabilities comparable to human capabilities, thereby improving inventory visibility and simplifying checkout processes at sales points. When used in conjunction with other data sources, it can automate operational decisions and help decision-makers achieve more accurate business visualization, thereby assisting them in taking more effective actions.

Machine vision is a subfield of computer vision that utilizes visual techniques focused on inspection analysis and anomaly detection. This technology can accurately verify the quality and consistency of manufactured products, and has high repeatability. Machine vision has been deployed in component production lines and assembly inspections for decades. However, the sensors and computing technologies used in machine vision are rapidly developing, becoming increasingly powerful and cost-effective, enabling machine vision to cover more applications while adding enhanced features such as real-time 3D image processing for more complex application verification.

The use of computer and machine vision systems will continue to promote the improvement of automation level in 2021. It has the functions of capturing, processing, interpreting, and indicating operations, which can help solve urgent problems such as labor-intensive tasks.

2、 Intelligent automation: including artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics technology

In the consumer level field, AI has been used for natural language interaction with digital assistants such as Alexa and Siri. These systems will continuously learn not only how to recognize speech more accurately, but also how to interpret meaning, context, and personal preferences. This learning technology is also common in enterprises, and many companies are using AI to improve their workflow, delivery, and customer experience. Ultimately, AI can enhance the ability to recommend good corrective behaviors, which is particularly important in dynamic environments with a large workforce such as retail, warehousing, manufacturing, and medical institutions.

Many of these technological trends are accelerating the pace of innovation and improving the economic benefits of automation products. Computer vision, cloud, AI and low-cost edge computing are all helping to promote the popularization of products based on robot technology. Many enterprises have invested and will continue to invest in automation to create high-quality and consistent products with higher efficiency. We also see the interaction between robots and workflows in many vertical market areas. You can consider adopting a robot solution that can replace manual labor (or work in collaboration with humans) and be flexibly deployed.

It is expected that by 2021, there will be a significant increase in the deployment of hybrid approaches to expand labor in certain aspects of operations, compared to focusing on achieving complete automation of workflows. The concept of thoroughly transforming facilities from a human driven workflow to comprehensive automation has received widespread attention, but it should not be rushed. We will continue to see the increasing popularity of hybrid automation for a period of time. This means hiring employees simultaneously and using robots, or using "cobots" (collaborative robots), rather than completely replacing manual labor in most workflows.

3、 Retail and warehousing automation

The shift towards online shopping has made a huge leap in 2020, driving the growth of e-commerce. 2020 has become a turning point for e-commerce, and it is now expected to account for 28% of the total chain retail sales. On the other hand, this has accelerated the transition to online commerce by nearly three years, forcing retailers to quickly make adjustments and simplify their store, distribution center, and logistics workflows to improve production efficiency. Retailers face challenges in terms of profitability related to e-commerce order fulfillment.

Retail automation is a combination of physical automation and fixed infrastructure that can automate visibility, such as RFID readers, rack mounted cameras, and computer vision.

In warehousing and supply chain, physical automation, RFID and temperature sensing technologies, combined with the development of robotics technology (including collaborative robots that interact and collaborate with humans), can help order fulfillment centers improve the operation of e-commerce. Integrated temperature intelligent solutions, such as Heatmarker and Freemarker for zebra technology, can display whether vaccines or drugs have been exposed to potential hazardous conditions that may affect their efficacy or safety.

4、 Data and normative analysis

The demand for higher visibility and effective intelligent planning is becoming increasingly urgent. Data is an invaluable asset, and the power of data can only be unleashed by taking appropriate actions at the right time for the right people to drive improvements in outcomes.

By obtaining almost real-time data to apply normative analysis solutions, efficiency can be improved, leading to more secure actions. Enterprises with analytical capabilities typically operate and optimize based on historical data. But with the introduction of new streaming data sources and the injection of predictive models that can drive real-time action and results, challenges also arise.

From manual labor, inventory to order fulfillment, intelligent planning solutions and normative analysis play a role in addressing important management issues and provide a more effective operational approach for today's "new normal". The ability to plan around the current situation and use this data to predict new business and operational decisions in real time will become a demand for enterprises, and its importance will continue to increase in 2021. Combining customer and inventory data with other external resources will enable businesses to update their plans to adapt to real-time trends, which is a key element for innovative companies seeking to shift from passive to proactive.

In our industry, the demand for higher visibility is driving the development of intelligent planning, automation, and normative analysis. Given the constantly changing situation, more agile execution capabilities have become crucial in the retail, transportation and logistics (T&L), manufacturing, and healthcare sectors. Intelligent automation will play an important role in manual, inventory, and order fulfillment planning.