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.

News & Events, Sustainability

ASM becomes net carbon neutral

At ASM we have committed to be a carbon neutral business by offsetting 100% of our footprint.

Through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, one scheme we are supporting is the Maibarara Geothermal Power Project in the Philippines.

The initiative comprises two geothermal power plants supplying electricity in the Philippines, with a third plant planned to be added within the next three years which will increase power generation by a further 60%.

ASM has chosen to support this project because geothermal power is less common than the traditional forms of reusable energy which requires innovation and emerging technologies to harvest the potential of the natural power of volcanoes.

By supporting missions such as this we are driving sustainable activities both in our direct environment but also globally, protecting the future for all.

In addition to being a carbon neutral business, ASM continues on the journey of decarbonising our complex value chain in line with our targets validated by the Science Based Targets initiative.

We strive to do business, better.

News & Events, Sustainability

Green team launched to drive Sustainability

At ASM we are continually seeking to build a growing, profitable and responsible company that does the right thing for our stakeholders and future generations within the IT Channel and our communities.

We have launched the Green Team to invite volunteers from across the business to help drive our Environment and Sustainability strategy. By involving and empowering our colleagues, we are accountable and focussed on making real change for the future.

Our Green Team act as Champions across the business to make Sustainability a part of everyday life. The team meet monthly to share ideas, discuss relevant issues and provide progress updates on our commitments.

Keep an eye out for how our Green Team are making a difference.

We strive to do business, better.


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.


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.