A few years back, who thought that flying cars would be a reality–it was a distant and long-overhauled dream. But the rapid rise of technology and engineering concepts is making the impossible turn into “I’m possible” and flipping the current technology on its head.

With most of 2021 spent indoors trying to protect ourselves from COVID-19, it gave ample time to the technological field to come up with some inventions and innovations that can disrupt the engineering field.

Engineering is characterized by ground-breaking innovations and progressions and is constantly evolving and adapting. As new technologies pave the way and become available, we see changes in everything, from managing engineering products to conceiving new designs.

In this article, we discuss some engineering trends that are likely to shape the future of engineering. Knowing these trends can help a business or engineer prepare themselves to implement any desired change. 

Here are six trends that every engineer needs to know in 2021 and beyond:


1. Generative design software will be the next big thing

Generative design is redefining the landscape of the manufacturing industry by providing access to every possible version of a design. 

But, what is generative design?

All an engineer or designer has to do is punch a set of constraints in a generative design software, and it produces an array of design options and solutions. This design software spits out tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of designs based on the constraint and other engineering parameters. 

Usefulness of generative design for engineers

When using generative design software, it becomes a cakewalk to make any number of changes and adjustments to your design, allowing a designer or engineer to build better products, reduce the lead time, and launch products much faster into a target market.

With more traditional design software like CAD, meeting a client’s unrealistic demands of designing a mock-up may be difficult. But, using generative design software, designers can generate design mock-ups and complete tasks which otherwise are humanly impossible to achieve. 

What’s more intriguing about the whole concept of generative design is that it can get a designer’s creative juices flowing. With tons of design ideas at your disposal, it becomes easier for a designer to finalize a mock-up for a product.

If you work in the engineering or manufacturing industry, generative design will likely provide numerous advantages and take your business to another level. 

Generative design mimics the natural design process. It’s a design exploration and a broad design methodology that uses cloud computing and artificial intelligence to produce a range of design outputs. 


2. Robotic process automation will play an important role.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to switch to remote work to protect employees from the deadly virus outbreak. While this transition was to protect lives, it has brought about a sea change in the opportunities, especially in robotic process automation (RPA).

RPA is another technology that’s automating jobs and helping businesses make a significant impact on their bottom line.

With advancements in machine learning, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence, the implementation of RPA is likely to take a new turn and change for good. Smart process automation is one thing that can become a game-changer in RPA.

Thanks to this smart process automation, businesses can derive meaningful insights from repetitive tasks as well. As RPA bots evolve from self-learning AI algorithms, these bots will enter the data in an IT system and find potential patterns. This trend is likely to eliminate the requirement of installing both AI and RPA. 

Interestingly, using smart process automation, businesses can find better solutions. 

RPA in finance domain

Even in the finance domain, RPA is likely to bring about a paradigm shift. Traditional automation may be nearing an end because RPA would remove all the complex financial industry bottlenecks.

Using RPA automation, businesses can create a workflow and identify customer journeys that can help them connect with financial institutions. 

According to a report, by 2025, the entire automation market will see easy-to-deploy RPA models that will eventually eliminate the need for paperwork.


3. Edge computing will continue to rise

With businesses continuing to deal with more and more data, they slowly realize the shortcomings and latency of cloud computing. This gave rise to the concept of edge computing. 

In edge computing, data is used and stored on devices at the network’s edge – far away from centralized cloud servers. By “edge,” we mean that data gets stored and used locally on devices like a smartphone or IoT. Edge computing provides benefits of delivering faster decision making, reducing data transfer, and ensuring offline data processing. 

From processing time-sensitive data in a remote location with low or no connectivity, edge computing acts as a mini-data center. This saves both bandwidth and cloud storage costs.              

Also, edge computing will help in processing large volumes of data in a way it’s cost-efficient, sustainable, and technologically feasible.

For what’s anticipated, edge computing offers exceptional and superior efficiency by eliminating congestion and latency to the highest possible extent. 

According to research, the size of the global edge computing market will reach a whopping $61.14 billion by 2028.

When done right, edge computing has all potential to drive the next phase of digital infrastructure growth. 


4. Blockchain technology will likely be the future of innovations

Blockchain is no longer limited only to cryptocurrency because it’s starting to cut its teeth as a business technology that will bring innovations in every sector.

From eliminating risk in financial transactions to making manufacturing transparent in a supply chain process, blockchain technology creates rippling effects in every sector.

One trend in blockchain technology, called blockchain as a service or BaaS offers

third-party cloud-based infrastructure to every sector operating in building blockchain-based applications and operating in the blockchain. 

Companies like Amazon and IBM are adapting to BaaS models for ensuring better business performance and running end-to-end operations. BaaS offers huge benefits to both developers and customers. 

Interestingly, it allows customers to leverage cloud-based solutions for building, operating, and hosting blockchain apps and related functions of blockchain. 

With the growing development in the BaaS ecosystem, BaaS is boosting different blockchain innovations. 


5. Cyber security will be more important than ever

Though cybersecurity doesn’t seem like a trending technology because it’s been around for a while, it’s constantly evolving. Businesses need to evolve with it for a sustainable future.


Cybercriminals are finding new ways to penetrate a system vulnerability, so it makes sense to be aware of the latest trends and threats a business is likely to face. 

One such area that requires attention is the increasing instances of automotive hacking. With automated vehicles coming packed with software to ensure seamless connectivity for drivers, it comes with a hacking risk.

Engine timing, door lock, cruise control, airbags, and advanced systems for driver assistance uses WiFi or Bluetooth technology for communication. While it makes life convenient for drivers, it makes them vulnerable to threats and potential hackers. 

Gaining control of the vehicle and eavesdropping over the microphone is likely to rise in 2021 and beyond. 

Apart from automotive hacking, brands need to integrate AI with cybersecurity. Having an 

AI-enabled threat detection system in place can help a business predict new attacks and notify a business of any data breach as soon as it occurs. 

While businesses deploy AI-enabled threat detection systems, criminals are also taking advantage of this technology to automate their attack, model-stealing techniques, and use data-poisoning.

So, for a business to prevent their data from getting stolen, they need to use AI-enabled technology that’s disruptive. 


6. Virtual site inspection will rise manifolds

In the civil engineering industry, one trend that is slowly exploding is virtual inspection. With COVID-19 forcing people indoors, municipalities widely use and adopt virtual technology to carry out site inspections to ensure the continuity of a project. 

Virtual inspection requires cutting-edge technology and widespread use of 360-degree video devices and drones to make virtual site inspection a reality.

Interestingly, improvement in wireless networks and printed circuit boards makes it possible for companies to conduct virtual inspections.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual inspections were widely used by different sectors for validating completion and ensuring compliance with building norms.


Wrapping up

These technological and engineering innovations are slowly paving the way to rural areas. One such instance is that AI-powered drones are helping farmers keep an eye on their infrastructure, such as using thermal imaging or keeping an eye on their crops.

This drastic and innovative industry development is likely to bring a landmark change in every sector. The technology influx is going to increase every passing day, so be prepared!

What technology trends do you think you will see in the coming years?

Please share your thoughts with us!