The past year saw increased uptake of digital technologies among enterprises in various sectors. With the use of disruptive technologies such as data and analytics, cloud, blockchain, internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI), enterprises are enhancing their business performance and efficiency. As companies continued to cope with challenges posed by the pandemic, these digital solutions came to their aid and helped in keeping their businesses up and running. As such, enter­pri­ses have now entered a new phase whe­re the deployment of new-age solutions is the norm and any company not doing so would find it difficult to survive. takes stock of the key technology trends that dominated the enterprise space during 2021…


AI is seeing increased adoption among enterprises across all sectors due to the plethora of benefits it offers. With the help of AI, the edtech sector is personalising the learning experience of each student. AI tools and devices are also enabling global classrooms, which are accessible to all, irrespective of their language or disab­i­lities. For instance, Leverage Edu, a care­er guidance platform, uses AI to mentor students in their career journey. The tool helps them receive guidance for college ap­plications and suggests program­m­es to improve their skills.

In the healthcare sector too, AI is hel­ping in creating a personalised environment for both patients and healthcare ser­vice providers. It is transforming the app­roach to diagnosis and paving the way for faster and more precise methods of con­ducting surgeries.

Further, AI has been significantly altering the media and entertainment landscape across user engagement, content creation and distribution. With the help of AI, en­te­r­prises are now creating more visually appealing, interactive, data-intensive and personalised content. Further, AI helps in meta-tagging content. With AI-based video intelligence, enterprises can analyse video content frame by frame, thus appropriately tagging objects. This helps in structured or­ganisation of content, making it easily discoverable. In addition, companies in the me­dia and entertainment sector are using AI to conduct targeted advertisement campaigns. Leading players such as Spotify and Netflix use AI and machine learning (ML) algorithms to study the behaviour of individual users in order to recommend personalised watchlists.

With the help of AI, retailers too are gaining a thorough understanding of customer behaviour and preferences to anticipate their next buy. Furthermore, AI-en­abled demand predictions help retailers in efficient store and inventory manageme­nt. In fact, according to NASSCOM, the Indian retail industry is set to witness AI- and data-led disruption opportunities by 2024. Some other benefits of AI are scan-and-go shopping and facial recognition. One of the key applications of AI te­ch­no­logy in the retail sector has been chat­bots. AI-based chatbots are enhancing custo­me­rs’ shopping experience by providing support and assistance throughout. This helps companies reduce the cart abandonment ratio, thereby improving the churn rate. Meanwhile, data collected from AI systems helps in deciding optimum pricing. This assists retailers in deciding when to reduce prices and when to increase them depending upon demand and availability.

AI has made inroads into the logistics sector too, playing a significant role in str­eamlining enterprise operations. By using cognitive automation, enterprises can save time, reduce costs and increase productivity. In terms of managing warehousing operations too, AI-based solutions can help collect and analyse key information regarding the functioning of key devices and machi­nes, and help with inventory processing. Moreover, AI-based self-driving vehicles can help reduce the opex involved in trans­po­rtation, thus helping reduce overall ex­pen­ses in logistics. AI is also being increasingly used by logistics players for predictive demand and network planning.

As a growing number of businesses are using AI, it is redefining the entire BFSI eco­system in a major way. With the inc­re­a­se in the amount of automation and dyna­mic systems, AI is helping in decision-ma­king, enhancing customer experience and improving operational efficiency for businesses. Another benefit is that it provides strategic supervision for extracting the most value from data, which is more important now than ever owing to the flood of data coming in from a wide range of sources.


IoT is another great technology that has found multiple use cases in various sectors. Enterprises across the logistics sector are increasingly deploying solutions such as RFID tags, GPS and specialised sensors to carry out real-time tracking of shipments and consignments. By deploying IoT de­vi­ces, companies can not only track their shi­p­ments, but also make sure that the whole transportation process runs smoothly. The­se solutions are enabling them to detect any potential breach in the service-level agreement or turnaround time early on and take actions accordingly. In fact, the adoption of IoT-based tracking solutions is enabling logistics players to fast-track their shipments. Further, the deployment of sensors along with packages and consignments is fast gaining traction. In fact, connected as­sets are the most common use cases for IoT devices as they have higher value, lon­ger lifespans and lower mobility than packages. In addition, the deployment of IoT devices in facilities and warehouses can help monitor and improve the use of utilities such as lights and machines, thereby allowing facility owners to substantially save on costs.

Within the healthcare sector, the internet of medical things (IoMT) is enhancing operational and clinical efficiencies, and revolutionising the delivery of healthcare services in India. With the help of IoMT, professionals are able to track the progression and treatment of diseases, monitor patient health, and alter their medication accordingly. Further, this enables professionals to track patients’ medicine usage and ensures adherence to treatment plans, and provides real-time information on disease symptoms.

Meanwhile, IoT technology in the media and entertainment space is enabling enterprises to deliver content to connected devices. Although the technology is nas­cent in the media and entertainment sector, it is expected to pick up pace going forward. At present, companies are leveraging IoT in advertising to offer the right blend of creativity and data-driven decision-making. With IoT, organisations in the sector can analyse the viewing patterns of consumers and suggest content and ad­vertisements accor­dingly. The media and entertainment industry is also allocating a major portion of its IoT budget to areas such as product moni­toring, supply chain and customer monitoring, and monitoring of premises. Moreover, with the help of IoT technologies, digital content provi­ders and agg­re­gators can take advantage of the work-from-home trend for new services. This en­a­bles content providers to deliver and mone­­­tise their content on a multitude of new devices. Thus, entertainment companies are integrating IoT technologies on their platforms to enhance cu­s­tomer experience.

IoT is also making inroads into the retail sector. It helps retailers modernise op­erations and supply chain management as well as improves in-store marketing eff­or­ts of retailers and brands. According to industry reports, the global market for IoT hardware for retail applications is ex­pected to be worth over $94 billion by 2025. With IoT, retailers gather data to fur­ther analyse and make informed decisions for product placement and stock co­n­trol, and increase efficiency. IoT devices are facilitating in-store navigation by helping customers find the desired product. The­se devices are also being used for predictive equipment maintenance and contactless checkout/self-che­ckout mechani­s­ms. For instance, Zara uses RFID across its stores for item-level tracking and re­ple­nishment, which has dramatically reduced the cost of stocktaking and reporting.

Cloud and data analytics

The cloud emerged as one of the core technologies that enterprises across industry verticals turned to for transforming th­eir business operations. Media and enterta­inment companies are using cloud computing applications to improve their operatio­nal efficiency. According to industry repor­ts, over 73 per cent of the companies run at least one application on the cloud. The on-demand characteristics of cloud computing provide the levels of scalability required to cost-effectively meet volatile demand. Further, the cloud provides the flexibility to craft new business and revenue models that can cater to fragmented audiences. Cloud computing solutions also enable me­­dia organisations to reduce roll-out cy­cles and the time required to market new con­tent plans. Meanwhile, various data analytics solutions help industry players analyse data regarding the type of content being consumed. With the use of analytics, in­teresting hypotheses are generated, whi­ch are combined with human intelligence to improve the decision-making of enter­pri­­ses. Apart from traditional analytics, co­m­panies are adopting audience analytics, through which social media reactions are analysed to make valuable decisions regar­ding product launches.

Like the media and entertainment sector, the banking industry too is leveraging cloud computing technology for various aspects. The technology has tremendous utility in streamlining and cutting down business costs for financial service organisations. Hybrid cloud services are being used to derive business value directly from emerging technologies to ensure business continuity. Banks can lower data storage costs through cloud-based services, which enable them to save on capital and operating expenditures while ensuring customer data is protected. Cloud computing also facilitates safe online payments, digital money transfers, wallet payments, etc.

Big data

Big data is yet another technology trend that witnessed significant traction during 2021. Enterprises in the healthcare, logistics, retail, travel, hospitality and manufacturing sectors leveraged big data analytics to derive fruitful insights and enhance operational efficiency. The technology solution helps retailers in deriving analytical benefits from customer data and predicting purchasing behaviour. It also en­ables them to better understand consu­me­rs in terms of branding and product management. Besides, it helps retailers in efficient operational management. With big data technologies, retailers can reduce su­pply chain costs by making the whole process more agile. Further, the technology is being used to formulate models for determining optimal product prices.

The BFSI sector too saw increased up­take of big data technology. Technology and digitalisation have transformed BFSI organisations by providing them with real-time actionable insights to make informed decisions, creating competitive advantages and elevating customer experience. Addi­tionally, banks can now more easily share potential products, upsells, cross-sells and strategic planning with their customers. Big data analytics gives banks the ability to market more effectively. It can also be very effective in ensuring optimal performance and in making crucial decisions when the timing is important, in risk function areas such as risk, compliance, fraud, NPA monitoring and calculating value at risk. The adoption rate of data analytics among the largest banking firms in India stood at 74.5 per cent in 2021. At $88.5 million, private sector banks have the highest average annual analytics budget per company, followed by e-commerce enterprises at $50 million. ICICI Bank, Flipkart and HDFC Bank have the largest analytics units am­ong Indian firms, while Myntra, Flipkart and Bharti Airtel have the highest analytics penetration.


AR/VR too witnessed increased uptake during the year. As brick-and-mortar stores within the retail sector are increasingly facing challenges due to the rise of e-comme­rce, traditional stores are moving towards transformation of their showrooms. AR and VR technologies have given a whole new definition to customer experience by inc­rea­sing the interaction through smart dres­sing rooms, beacons or AR catalog apps. With the help of these AR/VR devices, retailers are creating an immersive interface with lifelike experiences to show the utility of products. Meanwhile, the measures un­der­taken amid the Covid-19 crisis have played a huge role in increasing the demand for AR systems by allowing customers to ad­opt a try-before-you-buy approach. For in­stance, Ikea created the “Ikea’s Place” app, where it allows shoppers to access ite­ms from Ikea’s inventory via a live view function on their smartphones.

In the healthcare sector too, AR/VR can significantly enhance the delivery quality of tele-health. These technologies have been a big help for the sector during the Covid-19 pandemic. From enhancing pa­tient and provider visits to helping educate medical students through procedure simulations, AR/VR has been turning science fiction into reality.

Further, AR, VR and mixed reality are altering the way consumers consume content. They provide a fully immersive and pe­r­sonalised viewing experience. AR is be­ing effectively used in the entertainment space for promotional campaigns in mo­tion pictures, television and other media. Me­anwhile, VR is being used to draw users deeper into the content, providing an im­mersive viewing experience.


Blockchain too holds immense potential and offers multiple use cases across sectors. In the logistics sector, the technology solution can enable the synchronisation of multiparty logistics across the value chain, thus eliminating the duplication of documentation processes. This can help achie­ve an integrated end-to-end logistics system. One of the key attributes of the technology is its traceability, something that can add great value to the management of supply chains. Using blockchain-based solutions, users can track the movement, status and quantity of their goods. Furth­e­r­more, if there is any irregularity in the sh­ipment process, a blockchain network will be able to immediately detect it and al­so identify its origin. In addition, block­chain is proving to be an increasingly cost-effective solution. Block­chain enables lo­gis­tics companies to track and record acti­vity logs. This ensures an extra level of tra­nsparency, traceability and co­ntrol, thus offering logistics players a greater competitive edge. Further, smart contracts on the blockchain platform are wri­tten in codes and have the ability to au­tomate transactions across supply chains.

The technology has also started having a profound impact on the BFSI sector. San­tander, a global bank, predicts that by 2022, blockchain-based systems will be in a position to save banks $15 billion to $20 billion a year. Blockchain technology is helping banks in India solve the issues of handling letters of credit, GST invoices and e-way bills. It has the potential to disrupt banking and financial markets, according to the Reserve Bank of India. Indian BFSI players such as Axis Bank and ICICI Bank have shown a keen interest in experimenting with blockchain technology. Through its “Thought Factory” initiative, Axis Bank is exploring new block­ch­ain use cases in collaboration with start-ups. Moreover, a consortium of 11 public sector banks – including India’s largest bank, SBI – has formed a company called In­dian Banks’ Blockchain Infrastructure Com­pany Private Limited, under which the first steps of this transformational pro­cess will be undertaken. The move is ex­pected to eliminate paperwork, reduce the transaction processing time and provide a secure environment. Furthermore, it co­uld be a boon for medium-, small- and micro-sized enterprises.

Outlook for 2022

Advanced and emerging technologies are making fast inroads into all sectors, and catalysing transformation across industries. Going forward, enterprises across sectors are expected to incur huge investments in digital solutions such as AI, ML, cloud, IoT and blockchain. Owing to the pandemic, a majority of the companies have already embarked on their digital journey and will focus on strengthening their ground in this area now.

As we step into 2022, both the the immediate and long-term future of enterprises across industries will be defined by the development of cutting-edge technologies.

Effective capitalisation of these opp­ortunities, however, would require ironing out some of the challenges that continue to plague the adoption of digital solutions. These include cyberthreats, lack of a skilled workforce and lack of knowledge in terms of deploying case-appropriate solutions. Once these challenges have been brought down to a minimum level, organisations will be able to tap the full potential of new-age technologies.