Technology investment predictions from Keysight

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Continuing their predictions on the business operations and technology trends that are unfolding through the lens of the pandemic, Keysight executives discuss technological areas that are likely to see investment interest in 2021.

5G remains a strategic imperative for enterprises and governments in 2021

While the pandemic slowed deployments in 2020, in 2021 we can expect 5G to be the focus of intense international interest as 5G networks will drive improvements in power, energy, and financial infrastructures.  However, cell-site zoning issues and related policy will become a bigger issue for national and local governments.

5G will move beyond the smartphone into industrial use cases and the enablement of virtualized healthcare delivery and procedures. Manufacturing and network rollouts will catch up with 2020 device launches, and there will be a greater diversification of 5G devices with multiple price points.

Meanwhile, Dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) and new national spectrum policies will drive widespread 5G deployment as accessibility to user equipment grows to address current coverage issues and cost of deploying mid-band spectrum.

Greater investment in the infrastructure that enables IoT and IIoT (Factory 4.0)

Private 5G networks for industrial enterprises will be emphasized, which will facilitate among other things remote operation and management. A growing remote workforce is predicted to fuel IIoT which will require enterprises to deploy intelligent equipment to effectively manage manufacturing and factory operations from a distance. 

As a result, Keysight executives expect:

  • Increased investment in automation and use of robotics and machine learning to manage facilities, as well as a growing acceptance in leveraging the cloud to automate production lines.
  • New solutions for manufacturing automation, testing and analytics for all components as automotive and other facilities ramp up.
  • Greater investment in IIoT functions for real-time, predictable control, which will require an increase in the number of machines and sensors, and a network infrastructure that can manage this growing number of devices.

Accelerated levels of investment in quantum computing expected  

For 2021, quantum enters a robust research phase in which the primary players will continue to experiment and invest in quantum research for the future. Today there are many competing qubit technologies – leading ones include superconducting, trapped ion, silicon spin, as well as photonic implementations.  These technologies will continue to evolve in 2021 at a rapid pace.

The materials research aspect of quantum will heat up in 2021. This will be supported by a robust investment pipeline, some of which will be funded by major governments as they learn more about the geopolitical and economic advantages of quantum computing.

An increasing number of customers will be accessing time on quantum computers in the cloud in 2021 to run new algorithms to find quantum advantage. More players will enter providing quantum computers, cloud services, or both in 2021, as well as expanding the power of the computers available to users.

Autonomous vehicle (AV) development will continue to evolve  

The automotive sector suffered headwinds due to the pandemic, however production and manufacturing will roar back.

As the number of sensors powering in-vehicle networks continues to escalate, in-vehicle networks will need to keep pace. Electronic vehicle (EV) sales will increase yet they are only a small percentage (3%) of total automotive manufacturing. While traditional vehicle manufacturing stalls, interest in EV will pick up as countries face more stringent emissions standards.

AV investment will likely be modest in the first half of 2021 but should pick up in the second half. More aggressive in Greater China as this region is committed to phasing out conventional gas-burning vehicles by 2035. At the same time, The U.S. is forecast to become more focused on AV and EV development in 2021 with the change of presidential administration which supports these technologies.