Top 10 Emerging Technologies for 2021

December 20, 2021

2021 Emerging Tech in Review. It’s not really a panda burger!

We talked about emerging tech a lot throughout 2021. Series 2 of the ASM Connected podcast has been a great success and our esteemed guests have told us how far we have come and where we are going next. Futurist Matthew Griffin of the 311 Institute, who started out in distribution, even talked about as far forward as 30+ years from now. But in order to predict the future, we must look at the past, said Brett King in episode 3, so we have looked back at 2021 to see how our business has aligned with what the futurists have been talking about.

Starting off with Enterprise Content Delivery Network (ECDN). This has moved rapidly from emerging to essential and we’ve enjoyed this journey with our partner, Kollective Technology. It’s no surprise that big companies are using more video for internal communications and the need for scale has challenged many. In episode 2 of ASM Connected, Richard Potter from Microsoft discusses their focus and commitment to the hybrid and remote working future which Kollective are supporting. Together we’ve helped deliver a greater ROI for users of Teams throughout 2021.

Biometric Authentication reminds us of this year’s challenges, when making payments using facial recognition on our phones was thwarted by our face masks. It was back to entering a passcode which is so last decade. Thanks to our partner, Idenprotect, we’ve seen some great steps forward this year towards eliminating all passwords. In episode 3 of ASM Connected, Futurist, Brett King explains a whole new future of payments technology which will change our in-store experience entirely. Goodbye passwords, hello responsible proactive finance.

Virtual Reality has been building for a few years now. You may have seen a virtual reality tour of Tottenham Hotspurs new stadium before it opened in 2019 or enjoyed the TV show “Your Garden Made Perfect” which introduced many of us to the practical uses of VR during lockdown 1.0, when we all got into gardening. Oculus seem to be leading the charge, but if you listen to ASM Connected episode 5 with Futurist, Amelia Kallman, you’ll hear how Ray Bans, Microsoft and obviously Apple will all be in the race for our brand loyalty in the future. VR has been the most popular answer this year when we’ve been asking our podcast guests about their favourite tech gadgets.

Internet of Things is another buzzword we have all heard a lot about this year. Other than our connected home devices, the enterprise use cases have been slow to emerge outside of the manufacturing sector. However, it’s picking up pace and we may even see a leap directly to the Internet of Everything next year. We’ve seen significant development with our customers in IoT in the utilities and in the facilities management sector this year, but don’t rule out the progress that has been made in the retail and supply chain sectors. In podcast episode 7, Cate Trotter gave us some great insights into the massive transformation in retail. Subscribe to ASM Connected to be the first to hear the episodes with Brett Phaneuf and Inma Martinez; due out early next year, as they discuss IoT projects ranging from autonomous boats to smart cities and cars that are superior to humans.

Robotic Process Automation is the trend that has probably been talked about more than any other.  We all can’t decide whether to fear it or embrace it. I think on every podcast this series we have talked about how AI, machine learning and RPA are supposed to be bringing about the leisure society, but I haven’t seen many people work less hours in 2021, so I think there is some distance to go yet. Even automating simple tasks has been a challenge for many of our customers, but we have been really impressed with our partners at Keysight Technologies, Eggplant who are leading the way in automated software testing. It’s our favourite application of automation as it’s adding value in every sector our customers work in.

3D Printing is an interesting one. The tech is not so new, but it’s the use case and application that have advanced this year. We’ve come a long way from printing that missing Lego brick to solar roof tiles, replacement human body parts, and DNA matched meat free food. In Episode 4 of ASM Connected, Futurist, Matthew Griffin shares his thoughts on 3D printing and is a huge fan. You’ll soon hear our podcast with Dr Ruchi Pathak Kaul who is changing people’s lives with the use of 3D printing as a pioneer of maxillofacial surgery.

API Security is nothing new to us at ASM Technologies. We’ve been working with the industry leaders and pioneers at Forum Systems who have worked in this emerging space for the past 18 years. Everyone is integrating via API’s now. They are like digital glue, but any interface is a threat in a zero-trust world, so the more interactions we create, the more API Security becomes significant.

Device Management sounds a little less sci-fi than some emerging trends, but don’t underestimate the important role it has played in empowering and connecting people during the Covid pandemic. Our partners at Jamf have gone from strength to strength this year with use cases across health, education, business, and public sector bringing the familiar Apple user experience to enterprise and so much more. In the first series of the ASM Connected podcast, episode 2 with Elizabeth Lucas from Jamf covers the important role this technology has played in patient visitor communication in hospitals.

Big Data Security and Analytics has been one our most active trends this year. Our partners at Grafana have been super busy as their open-source platform delivers impressively on the observability imperative. In ASM Connected episode 6 of series 1, podcast legend Dave Russell explains the complexity of the layers of big data, in a way that even we understand.

Finally, Human Insight AI is an exciting trend, even if it sounds a little more niche than the others we’ve reviewed. In fact, the human and societal impact of new tech and our curiosity about AI have been consistent threads during Series 2 of ASM Connected. Keep a look out for our soon to be released podcast with Inma Martinez where we learn how emerging technology in the transport sector is already superior to humans and is improving further to keep us safe. Subscribe here to ensure you don’t miss an episode. Our partners at SmartEye are ones to watch in this emerging trend.

We’ve really enjoyed our contribution to emerging tech trends throughout 2021 and would like to thank all our excellent customers, vendor partners and podcast guests for joining us on this journey.

You’ll have to listen to episode 4 of ASM Connected with Matthew Griffin to hear the story about the panda burgers!

News, Insights & Knowledge

What’s New?

Here’s a selection of the latest news, views and insights from industry leaders and experts from across the globe.


International Men’s Day 2023

At ASM we’re recognising International Men’s Day by celebrating the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities, highlighting our positive role models whilst also raising awareness of men’s well-being.

This year’s theme is Zero Male Suicide as men are three times more likely than women to die by suicide. We can all help address this crisis by encouraging men to reach out for support with their mental health.

We invited all colleagues to a fantastic webinar with ANDYSMANCLUB. ANDYSMANCLUB are a men’s suicide prevention charity, offering free-to-attend peer-to-peer support groups in person and online. Their purpose is to end the stigma surrounding men’s mental health and help men through the power of conversation.

By encouraging the power of conversation, be it a quick chat, a more formal check-in, or a shared story, together we can make a difference.


Tree planting in Malawi

At ASM we are continuing to build a growing, profitable and responsible company that does the right thing for our stakeholders and future generations.

We recognise that decarbonising our complex value chain will be a journey and we are committed to offset 100% of our footprint making us net carbon neutral through a number of projects.

We have planted 10 trees per colleague through Ripple Africa, a charity supporting communities to achieve a sustainable future.

Their tree planting project is one of the largest and most successful tree planting projects in Malawi, providing a long-term solution to fighting deforestation in Africa caused by the destruction of indigenous forest. For every 10 trees they plant one tonne of carbon is absorbed from the atmosphere.

Sustainability, Volunteering

Volunteering with the Scouts

At ASM we’re committed to supporting our community and all our colleagues can take a day out of the business to volunteer for charities or community organisations.

Our Finance team have recently been busy supporting a local Scout group. The store room had become so full of equipment that it was no longer organised or safe to continue their Beaver Scout and Cub Scout sessions. Our team of volunteers took an inventory of the equipment, cleaned items where needed and organised the space.

Organising the space has allowed a clearer view for the leaders to plan fun sessions that provide skills for life.


Vuzix Sales Enablement Session

We were thrilled to host our partner, Vuzix for our November Sales Enablement session at our HQ. Thanks to Jonathan Nelson, Strategic Sales Manager at Vuzix for the engaging and enjoyable session.

Vuzix connects the modern deskless workforce with Assisted and Augmented Reality (aR and AR) wearable technology, providing high-performance smart glasses that enable see-what-I-see remote guidance, teleconferencing, IOT visualisation and digital work instructions.

Adele Hope-Urwin, Head of Vendor Alliances said:

“I am thrilled to have secured our partnership with Vuzix and to add their assisted reality products to our vendor portfolio. As our newest vendor partnership, I’m excited to host Vuzix at our Cheshire HQ for an engaging training session with our sales team”.

Jonathan Nelson, Strategic Sales Manager at Vuzix said:

“We’re really excited to add ASM as a value added partner and are looking forward to sharing our skills and knowledge to continue to innovate and offer an exceptional customer experience to our customers”.


Something spooky at ASM

There’s been some frightening goings on in the office today with all our teams getting involved. 

We held competitions throughout the day with some fantastic entries. Laura Helsby won for her fantastically fiendish cupcakes, Becci Darby created the best pumpkin of the day and Jasmine Elliott spooked the office the most with their fancy dress.


ASM HQ built with sustainability at the forefront

The ASM Group are committed to ensuring ongoing consideration to the environment in all aspects of our operations and this began in 2005, when we were one of the first companies in the industry to complete the IS014001 accreditation, long before the environmental impact of business operations was widely understood by organisations.

We installed an array of solar panels on the roof of the building which power around half of our daily electricity usage and have generated over 43 MW of energy. We also removed the use of electric kettles and instead opted for Quooker taps which are significantly more energy and water efficient.

We continued our ongoing pledge to sustainability by installing electric car charging points to promote the use of electric and hybrid vehicles, in addition to reducing the amount of printers around the building and adopting a paperless office. Numerous trees were planted around the site to create a greener space for our team to enjoy whilst also considering the environmental benefits. To further improve our energy efficiency, we opted for energy saving, motion detection indoor lighting which dim based on the brightness outside, coupled with energy saving LED lights in the carpark.

We’re proud of the collaborative and sustainable environment we’ve created for our team which supports the ESG goals across the ASM Group for the future.


LastPass delivers Sales Enablement Sessions to ASM

We’d like to extend a huge thank you to the team at LastPass, who visited our office to deliver Sales Enablement sessions. We enjoyed meeting the partner team at LastPass and learning more about the capabilities of the products and building on our existing strong partnership.

The team enjoyed a lunch provided by LastPass through the Woodfired Pizza Bar.

Adele Hope-Urwin, Head of Vendor Alliances said

“I am very pleased to be working in partnership with LastPass, with their password management tool bringing practical benefits to our customers.  We have a long term business relationship with LastPass spanning several years and I’m really looking forward to continuing the great success we’ve already had.”

James Greenaway, Regional Partner Manager at LastPass said

“It’s been great to run the sales enablement sessions today, meet the wider ASM team and continue to develop our partnership for the future.”


International Women’s Day 2023

Technology has typically been a male dominated sector but at ASM we’re very proud to say 66% of our workforce is female.

Today we’ve been celebrating all of our fantastic team with some sweets treats while raising awareness about discrimination.

The aim of the IWD 2023 #EmbraceEquity campaign theme is to get the world talking about Why equal opportunities aren’t enough. People start from different places, so true inclusion and belonging require equitable action. Read more about this here.


Top Emerging Technologies for 2022

We talk about Emerging Technology a lot, whether that be on our podcast, ASM Connected or in our day to day work with our customers. During a keynote speech at ASM Connect, Futurist Matt Griffin argued that those who think we’re not living in sci-fi times are wrong, so we decided to explore some of the key emerging tech trends we’ve seen throughout 2022.

Conversations around the newest generation of wireless technology, 5G are happening more frequently as more industries adopt and see benefits. In ASM Connected episode 9, Inma Martinez, Digital Pioneer and AI Scientist shares that anyone offering digital products and services are going to be part of the new telecom industry with technologies such as 5G, Edge and Cloud Computing making up the technology of the new century. 5G differs from 4G and 3G because the benefits go far beyond connecting to a smartphone, and play a vital part in the digital ecosystem of the future.

Want to work from anywhere? With the rise of Virtual Reality (VR), more and more people are successfully thriving in this new digital world. At ASM Connect, Futurist Matt Griffin spoke about the notion of ‘Working from Anywhere’ and how this also extends to working within VR, and not just working away from the traditional office. It seems that everyone is talking about the metaverse and how the internet as we know it will look completely different in the future. Futurist Amelia Kallman in episode 5 of ASM Connected gave us some great insights on what we can expect, such as how it will be a decentralised network of immersive spaces that connect to create one universe. Amelia shared that one of the practical challenges will involve uniting the many spaces which currently exist as a multiverse, such as Fortnite, Roblox and Minecraft, and making them interoperable so users can move from one space to another, like we do with the Internet. There is lots to look forward to with this technology, and who knows, perhaps one day, you’ll be listening to ASM Connected in the metaverse!

Moving onto Synthetic Data, which tends to be most commonly used in the financial services and healthcare industries, is information that’s artificially and algorithmically manufactured and stands in for real life data where there are constraints around using sensitive or regulated information. In series 3, episode 4 of ASM Connected, Simon Godfrey shares insights about the opportunities for public sector organisations to leverage Synthetic Data and Digital Twins to drive better outcomes.

Augmented Reality (AR) is an emerging tech trend that gained popularity during the pandemic when businesses were forced to work remotely. Richard Price spoke about a study conducted in the healthcare sector about patients attitudes to clinicians wearing AR goggles such as Google Glass and Microsoft HoloLens. They found that when clinicians were wearing headsets such as Google Glass, patients weren’t as opposed to them because they were smaller and more discreet, whereas when clinicians wore headsets such as the Microsoft HoloLens patients felt it created a barrier between them and the doctor.

Deepfake technology is frightfully gaining significant traction around the world. This technology leverages machine learning and artificial intelligence to manipulate audio and visual content to replicate someone else’s appearance. Deepfakes can be unbelievably realistic so exercising caution and discretion is paramount. In episode 5 of ASM Connected, series 3, we spoke to Öykü Işık, Professor of Digital Strategy and Cybersecurity at IMD Business School, who shared insights about FakeCatcher, the world’s first real-time deepfake detector, launched by Intel, which detects fake videos with 96% accuracy by looking for clues of what makes someone human, which is subtle blood flow captured in the pixels of a video.

Assisted Reality (aR) is often confused with Augmented Reality (AR) however aR is a reality first, digital second experience. Our partner, RealWear is the world’s leading provider of Assisted Reality wearable devices which connect the modern frontline worker to all the information they need, when they need it. Workers are able to utilise the aR technology to leverage the hands-free verification and visual documentation they need to fulfil their role and don’t risk the same safety concerns linked to bulky hand held equipment.

Finally, Natural Language Processing (NLP). When choosing technology, you should always consider how it helps people to work more efficiently. Our partner, Primer AI are an industry leader in NLP technologies and work with government agencies, financial institutions and more to automate text-based workflows at scale with human level quality. In episode 15 of ASM Connected, Primer AI’s Geoffrey Nicholls MBE and Nick Melgaard spoke about the practical benefits NLP technology can deliver to the defence sector and beyond. Primer AI are experts in addressing some of the National Security use cases such as identifying disinformation campaigns, monitoring global events in real time and responding to cybersecurity attacks.

We’ve really enjoyed working with so many emerging technologies throughout 2022 as well as discovering from our podcast guests about what else we can expect to see in the future. The emerging tech landscape is continuing to grow, but the question is, are you prepared?