Top 10 digital transformation trends for 2021 and the companies that will dominate

Author: Anatoliy Goldyrev, Kateryna Goldyreva.
2 min read incl. Executive Summary. 10 min for the whole blog post.

The Importance of Digitalization

No one could have predicted where 2020 would take us: The last six months alone have produced more digital transformation than the last decade, with every transformation effort already underway learning to move faster. Companies are forced to innovate, digitally transform, and adapt permanently to remain competitive and succeed. If they don't, they are doomed to die.

Digitalization is an ongoing process for years already – why do we write about it now?

The world experiences a transition that can be compared to a tectonic plate shift. In the course of the Coronavirus this year resulting in the shut-down of numerous companies, many industries were faced with the hard punch of the digital revolution and forced to go through the process of digitalization and change their business-as-usual strategies. Many companies had to learn the hard way. But also many public institutions like schools and universities struggled when they were confronted with the lack of readiness and the absence of digital strategies. Thereby a new class of technologies was defined!

That's why our first #MAPEGYSERIES was about the megatrend: #DIGITALIZATION. We simply searched for the keyword #digitalization in our MAPEGY Global InnovationGraph, and found thousands of technologies, trends, and millions of players and drivers. With the support of our algorithms and a short customer survey, we selected the top 10 trends only with a heavy heart and published a fully automated report for each of them on LinkedIn in the last weeks: 5G, Smart Home, Smart City, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Digital Currency, E-Learning, Blockchain, Industry 4.0, Digital Health, Augmented Reality (AR).

A short executive summary is followed by a teaser on each of the 10 trends, with a link to the reports. Enjoy reading and browsing!

Top 10 Digitalization Megatrends for 2020

Executive Summary: Top 10 digitalization trends

  • Of course, the USA dominates 9 of the 10 digitization trends. Germany is only in the lead in Industry 4.0, which is due to the fact that this concept was developed in 2011 by the German government's High-Tech Strategy and that Germany has always been one of the leading industrial nations as it has kept its industrial bases.
  • Again it goes without saying that looking at estimated startup funding the United States is also in the lead for 9 of 10 trends. Following in 2nd place we find the UK for Digital Currency, Digital Health, and AR. For Artificial Intelligence it's China.
  • Watch this: the most active companies across all 10 technologies are: Apple, IBM, and Samsung! Samsung as an example is found in the Top 10 of 5G, Smart Home, Smart City, AI, and AR.
  • Analyzing the top 500 Startups for each of the 10 trends, we discovered that 31% are located in the US, 7% in the UK & China each, and only 5% in Germany. London, San Francisco, and New York are the most favorable cities for these startups.

But now, let us take another look at the 10 digital trends described.


1. 5G

5G is characterized by a neck-and-neck race of Huawei and Samsung and everyone is trying to get their hands on.
The introduction of 5G networks will present organizations with more opportunities around fast-moving, streaming data, driving events, and intelligent connectivity. The technology is not in the infancy anymore and its reliability is unlocking new capabilities in the sphere of other megatrends. It has a strong impact on the success of Edge Computing, Cloud Gaming, Smart Cities, Industry 4.0, Mixed Reality, Autonomous Driving, and the list goes on.

In the Wordcloud below, you can discover every trend that is touched by 5G.

Trends Wordcloud for 5G

Trends Worldcloud of technologies/trends related to 5G
Source: Global InnovationGraph by MAPEGY

Check out our free report on 5G here

 

2. Smart Home

Smart homes use 'home automation' technologies to provide homeowners with 'intelligent' feedback and information by monitoring many aspects of a home. The use-cases range from Smart Lighting to Smart appliances and HVAC.  The rapid growth of Amazon's Alexa and other virtual assistants along with smart thermometers are accelerating the transformation of living spaces around the world.

For the top 500 startups, we identified 1.2Bn US-Dollar funding out of which 100 companies from the US account for almost 1Bn.

Looking at the top 10 players in this industry we see many familiar companies that mainly operate in other areas but have started to integrate their devices into the home. Not surprisingly, Samsung, Apple, Amazon, and Google dominate in this space.

Of the top 20 well-funded startups, we discovered that 70% are located in the US. One of these startups is K4Connect. They integrate smart home solutions to serve and empower older adults and people living with disabilities, and the company is exploring broader applications for their patents. With people living longer, there is a significant market opportunity for products and services that can support multiple generations.

Organizations Map Smart Home

Geomap of the organizations in the field of Smart Home
Source: Global InnovationGraph by MAPEGY

Check out the free Smart Home report here 

 

3. Smart City 

What makes a smart city smart? It all starts with the data. SmartCity puts data and digital technology to work with sustainability goals and improving the quality of life. More comprehensive, real-time data gives public agencies the ability to watch events as they unfold, understand how demand patterns are changing, and respond with faster and lower-cost solutions. The affected trends range from autonomous vehicles to digital governance and smart transportation.

Looking at the top 10 most influential companies we find BMW, which announced a partnership with Otonomo a few months before. Otonomo is a data-driven company that focuses on the improvement of the driving experience by analyzing crowd data for smart cities. In this partnership, BMW, for the first time, will share data from its vehicles in 44 countries so it can be utilized in Otonomo’s neutral automotive data platform. The idea behind this is to use the additional vehicle data to enable “smart city, real-time road intelligence and other ‘data for good’ applications”, Otonomo said in a statement. One of the interesting use-cases is parking, where aggregated ultrasonic sensor data from BMW vehicles can be used to estimate parking availability and thus alleviate one of the most frustrating moments in for drivers and root causes for congestion.  

Another example found in the visualized network below is Bosch, which was identified by our algorithms as the partner of Avaya, Huawei, Intel, and Enevo in the field of smart cities.

Organizations Network Smart City

Partnerships in the field of Smart City
Source: Global InnovationGraph by MAPEGY

Check out the free report on Smart City here

 

4. Artificial Intelligence

Welcome to the era of data and advanced analytics. When it comes to artificial intelligence, one thing is clear: It is a growing presence in our offices and homes, which will have a huge impact - on our jobs, our health, and possibly our very existence.

Could Artificial Intelligence improve everyone’s quality of life or will it take over the world?

The range of use-cases is sweeping: everything from image identification to predictive analytics and eLearning is possible and constantly improving.

The high potential can only be truly appreciated by looking at the massive investments occurring in this field. In the past 6 years alone, close to USD80Bn was invested in startups worldwide (Source: Stata). In our analysis, we focus on the top 500 startups which received around USD5Bn.

Based on our algorithms, AI has received the lion share of the funding. Unsurprisingly, we find many big players from Silicon Valley like Apple and Intel but also a lot of successful new entrants disrupting the market. One of the most active startups in the media is Neuralink, which was founded by Elon Musk and is on a mission of developing implantable brain-machine interfaces to cure/treat serious brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and spinal cord injuries.
The eventual goal is human enhancement, sometimes called transhumanism. Not long ago they unveiled a pig named Gertrude that has had a coin-sized computer chip in its brain for two months. The technology is still far away from commercialization but it’s an early step toward the goal of curing human diseases with the same type of implant.

Another controversial but interesting development in the field of AI is sex robots, creating a minefield of implications across society in general.

Top 10 Startups in the field of Artificial Intelligence

Top 10 startups in AI sorted by funding
Source: Global InnovationGraph by MAPEGY

Check out the free report on Artificial Intelligence here

 

5. Digital Currency

The current COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased the preference for using digital forms of payment and avoiding cash transactions.
In 2020 more than 2000 different cryptocurrencies exist, and many of those tokens and coins enjoy immense popularity among a dedicated community of backers and investors. Even the tech giant Facebook is planning to release its own Crypto called Libra in the next few years. What does it mean for the future of hard currency? Will it become extinct? The opinions on this issue are deeply divided.

But what do we understand as Digital Currency? Is it always about Cryptos?

  • Digital currencies are currencies that are only accessible with computers or mobile phones, as they only exist in electronic form
  • Since digital currencies require no intermediary, they are often the cheapest method to trade currencies
  • All cryptocurrencies are digital currencies, but not all digital currencies are crypto
  • Digital currencies are stable and are traded with the markets, whereas cryptocurrencies are traded via consumer sentiment and psychological triggers impact the price

We used our algorithms to identify the number of publications in the field of Digital Currency globally, and discovered around 7,000 research publications with a 40% increase over the past 3 years.
Also, w
e estimated the top 500 startups have received USD1.4Bn in funding. Even though most startups are located in the US, Revolut from the UK is the most funded startup in our ranking.

Startups in the field of Digital Currencies

Top 10 most funded Startups in Digital Currency
Source: Global Innovationgraph by MAPEGY

Check out the free report on Digital Currency here

 

6. eLearning

The current corona crisis has revealed the massive deficits of Germany's schools and businesses in the field of Digitalization. Due to COVID-19 eLearning experienced a breakthrough: Many people worldwide are currently learning digitally. eLearning solutions will continue to remain the first choice of organizations to train their employees as they offer greater flexibility and are easier to deploy. 

Education goes digital

In response to the effects of coronavirus on work, companies like LinkedIn are trying to keep up with the recent changes by taking steps towards educating its users. Professionals across the globe continue to adapt to the new normal with active use of online learning and learning new skills that are the most in-demand. In India alone, LinkedIn members spent over 420K hours learning in July 2020 alone, compared to 97K in July 2019 (source: LinkedIn Learning). Gamification of learning is driving this trend as they will receive a badge after taking an exam at the end of a course. This is helpful for recruiters looking to fill certain types of positions.

No wonder LinkedIn is ranked #1 among the top 10 most influential companies in the field of eLearning. Nevertheless, around 3500 organizations from all over the world are working on and implementing solutions for Digital Learning. Have a look at the Geomap below.

Organizations Geomap for Digital Learning

Organizations Geomap in Digital Learning
Source: Global InnovationGraph

Check out the full interactive report on eLearning here 

 

7. Blockchain

Blockchain is a key pillar of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Many possible uses are emerging and they range from energy markets to digital identity, supply chain, health care, and financial services. The technology is especially effective in fighting corruption.

But what is a Blockchain?

Simply put, blockchain is a chain of digital blocks that contain information. Once the information has been created, it is very difficult to change. It includes information about the sender, the receiver, and the amount of currency. The data is trustworthy because it is bound in a strict framework of rules and cryptographic keys, and only people with the right key can access or modify the data. Blockchain also removes the need for an intermediary, such as a bank or a lawyer. In short, it facilitates transparency, which is the enemy of corruption.
Significantly known as a decentralized process of exchanging money digitally, Blockchain solutions are a promising step forward for businesses as an instrument for sending, receiving, and storing data in a secure environment.

One interesting cooperation can be found between Siemens and the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA). The partnership aims to implement a number of strategies to achieve the Dubai government’s digital transformation goals as part of the Dubai Blockchain Strategy. This strategy will transform Dubai’s government into the world’s first government to conduct all its applicable transactions by Blockchain by the end of 2020.

Top 10 Companies for Blockchain

Top 10 Companies in Blockchain
Source: Global InnovationGraph by MAPEGY

Check out the full report on Blockchain here

 

8. Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 is the Future of productivity and growth in manufacturing industries: We’re in the midst of a significant transformation regarding the way we produce products thanks to the digitalization of manufacturing.

What are the advantages of shifting from traditional methods to digital technologies? What are the impacts of Industry 4.0 on the supply chain and on society as a whole? 

The current industrial revolution is Industry 4.0, which increases interconnectivity and networked intelligence through the Internet of Things (IoT) fueled by data and machine learning. Industry 4.0 is far more interlinked than revolutions before, allowing for improved intra and intercompany communication and collaboration. This transformation makes it possible to gather and analyze data across machines, enabling faster, more flexible, and more efficient processes to produce higher-quality goods at reduced costs.

What insights can we offer after analyzing the data?

With our algorithms, we could identify the top 500 companies for Industry 4.0. Looking at the pie chart below, we find Germany at #1 with 17% of all companies worldwide located there. Big corporations like Bosch and Siemens are driving the next industrial revolution as both a lead operator and lead supplier of Industry 4.0 solutions. But without further innovations, they can get left behind. 

To maintain this standing, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology started a support project in 2019 called PAiCE (Platforms/Additive Manufacturing/Imaging/Communication/Engineering) with 17 research projects and funding of 100 Million Euros. In the projects, a total of over 100 partners from business and science, develop applications in the fields of 3D, engineering, communication, logistics, and robotics. 

Top 500 companies of Industry 4.0

Top 500 Organizations in Industry 4.0
Source: Global InnovationGraph by MAPEGY

Check out the free report on Industry 4.0 here

 

9. Digital Health

eHealth enables healthcare outside of traditional clinical settings and promises to change global health care delivery.
Healthcare industry digitalization is one of the highest priorities in the healthcare sector now.  Not only does it improve current living standards with quicker and easier access to help, but it also improves the current ways of treatment and prevention. 

Telemedicine has been the most prominent driver of the health-tech theme in 2020, due to its particular importance during the Covid-19 pandemic, but less-obvious areas have also opened up. Healthcare chatbots, AI-driven diagnostics tools, and videoconferencing apps for remote appointments are all in high demand in both the private and public healthcare spheres. 

Digital healthcare systems - the hospitals of the future?

Babylon Health is one of the world’s most successful health-tech startups, thriving in less-developed overseas healthcare markets which provides its customers with a number of services, including chatbot-based diagnoses of basic ailments and video consultations with doctors.
Babylon’s first African subsidiary Babyl Rwanda signed a 10-year contract with the Rwandan government in March 2020, offering its chatbot for free to every citizen over the age of 12.
Because localization of the chatbots in new languages is key here, the big players like Google and Amazon could soon compete with more advanced AI language technology. 

Top 10 Startups for Digital Health

Top 10 Startups in Digital Health
Source: Global InnovationGraph by MAPEGY

Check out the free interactive report on Digital Health here

 

10. Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality is the mixture of real-time elements and virtual features that merge into a symbiotic whole: physical and virtual reality at once. The potential applications are limitless. 

Augmented Reality was brought to the masses in 2016 with the mobile game Pokémon Go, which became an instant viral smash hit. Its popularity proved that consumers are AR-ready. Diverse AR content from various fields and more affordable consumer solutions are expected in the next five years. 

Will AR have a significant role in the future?

The AR market is in its early development stage but is growing quickly — especially in the last two years. It's one of the most promising digital health technologies at present and it has the potential to change healthcare and everyday medicine completely for physicians and patients alike. Whether explaining a disease state, treatment method or how a new medical device works, AR can significantly enhance customer engagement and improve education on complex topics.

Analyzing the data backed by our algorithms we discovered that the US is dominating the technology with 70% of the Top 10 companies and startups. Have a look at the top 10 Startups below.

Top 10 Startups for Augmented Reality

Top 10 Startups in Augmented/Mixed Reality
Source: Global InnovationGraph by MAPEGY

Check out the free report on Augmented Reality here

About the author, and data

This analysis was conducted by siblings Anatoliy and Kateryna Goldyrev, both working for MAPEGY, a Berlin-based data science company that makes global innovation visible. Its unique MAPEGY Global InnovationGraph makes the latest trends, emerging technologies, experts, and companies accessible for any high-tech industry in a matter of seconds - from one source, fully automated, and updated constantly. You save time and money on expensive reports and consultants and keep your finger on the pulse of time.

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