The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has fast-tracked many of the technological shifts that were already in progress before this crisis. With people moving online for work, shopping, learning, and entertainment, we identify tech trends in Southeast Asia that will reshape the landscape post-pandemic and the role the tech companies will play in this shift.
Automation and Robotics
One of the tech trends that have gained momentum in the region is automation and robotics. There is a shift in global supply chains post-pandemic with companies moving to dual supply chains i.e. a practice of using two suppliers for a given component or product and for that the capital stock has to increase in equivalence to the output.
With the global industrial robot installed base of the region over 86%, a move or re-shoring to the west would imply that Europe and the US as they expand their production bases will start buying more robots. Given that these countries have higher manufacturing costs and wages, companies would likely look to automation at a lower cost.
R&D is also focusing on bringing the human-robot alliance a notch higher thus enabling robots to respond to gestures and voices as well as identifying the intent of human motions. Various institutions in the region are working on a standardized general interface that will allow industrial robots to connect with IoT and would enable them to communicate with each other irrespective of the manufacturer. This may also make robot leasing a viable solution for medium and small enterprises.
It is expected that the fifth generation of mobile networks will have a greater impact on the global economy than the previous ones. By providing hyper-connectivity, low delay, and high speed, 5G promises to transform the way we live, work, and play. It is being estimated that the 5G development will generate 22.3 million jobs and by 2035 it will contribute over USD 13trn to the global output. This is the reason why China and the US are racing to play the lead in this development.
With e-commerce and remote working becoming the norm, it is being expected that it will drive a corresponding increase in the bandwidth and processing requirements thus benefiting compute-levered providers of semiconductors.
AI as a Service
AI has been at the center-stage for many years, however, now cloud service providers are moving to deliver AI as a service to the masses at economical costs. Many AI platforms are presently offering services such as GPU-based processing for intensive workloads. Big companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon have already created programs that offer ML solutions and training materials. Combining businesses and AI solutions to generated solutions to in-house issues is likely to continue to develop throughout this year.
Increasing adoption of Cloud Computing
With companies prioritizing enterprise resiliency, resource flexibility, and operational redundancy the adoption of cloud computing has seen an acceleration. Besides being cost-effective as there is no need to buy or maintain computing infrastructure, it also provides faster connection speeds along with efficient deployments and software & application upgrades. Within Southeast Asia, Singapore has been the epicenter for public cloud players with new cloud services being established in the city-state first.
The changing competitive and regulatory backdrop for technology and the growth potential in many of the applications will give an edge to the Southeast Asia region.
The above list features a few tech trends in Southeast Asia to watch out for in 2021. As established tech companies and new startups bring innovative technologies, we will have to wait and watch what’s more in store for the region.