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5 Trends to Watch in 2021: Emerging Technologies

  1. Digital Health – The convergence of digital and health care technologies has been accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With social distancing mandates, there has been an increased focus on telemedicine and mobile health, surgical robotics, smart devices, and health analytics. As a result, there is a rise in digital health innovations coming to market that will also need to comply with the evolving regulatory landscape while protecting patient data. Such technologies in the digital health industry will continue to develop to bring efficient and personalized treatments to a wider population, in some cases testing the limits of increasingly comprehensive U.S. and global privacy regulations.

  2. Agribusiness – Advancements in software and connected hardware technologies continue to have an impact on the agriculture industry. The combination of data gathering, artificial intelligence, and internet connected technologies are improving productivity and efficiency for crop cultivation, weather monitoring, and the health and wellness of livestock. Connectivity and access to these technological advancements can be an obstacle depending on geography. Emerging technology companies have an opportunity to address these challenges and shape the future of agribusiness.

  3. Batteries – Technologies continue to become smaller and more powerful, however, the cost, size, and amount of power required to operate those technologies is a limiting factor. Advancements in battery technologies have continued to evolve and industries are becoming more focused on implementing battery power. For example, with automakers committing to transitioning to electric motors over the next decade, the increase in development of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) technologies and countless other industries developing portable electric-powered devices, the demand for smaller, lighter, and more powerful batteries has grown. The race to perfect and protect the next jump in battery technology is on.

  4. Data and Privacy – The volume and variety of “big data” has created numerous new economic opportunities for creating value from collected information. Meanwhile, the pandemic has moved companies to embrace remote work for more employees and brought increased focus on the need for robust data security for every company. As rules and regulations for how data can be aggregated, used, and stored have evolved—along with consumer expectations, the methods for securing and protecting data is more important than ever.  Technologies like blockchain have been created and continue to be used and improved upon to provide a secure mechanism for protecting transactional data. Companies will continue to innovate ways to gather and protect data as remote work continues and big data becomes more valuable, while regulations become stricter.

  5. Artificial Intelligence – Companies are continuing to find more and better uses for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to improve their deliverables, services, and productivity. AI can be used to improve and optimize a broad range of industry areas including transportation, fintech, security, healthcare, agriculture, gaming, robotic process automation and many more. As AI becomes more advanced so will the number of inventions that can be created to improve our daily lives in each of these industries. Additionally, non-human AI created inventions will continue to be a debated topic among patent offices and practitioners.

About the Authors

Chinh H. Pham is a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig LLP where he chairs the firm’s global Emerging Technology Practice Group and co-chairs the Boston IP Practice Group.  His practice focuses on the strategic creation, implementation and protection of intellectual property rights for technology and life science clients, ranging from ventured backed companies to multinational corporations. As part of his practice, Chinh works with his clients to leverage their key innovations for strategic commercial and business opportunities.

Brian J. Assessor is a registered patent attorney at Greenberg Traurig and handles drafting patent applications, patent prosecution, and related matters for solo inventors, start-up companies, and corporate clients in a variety of technological areas. His computer engineering background provides him a unique perspective when advising clients on intellectual property matters related to software and hardware.