2021 Trends For Data Centers, AI, And More

Domain-specific architectures for AI and growing SmartNIC deployment are just two of the trends that will have an impact this year.


Previously, we took out our crystal ball and looked at some of the trends, technologies and changes that we expect to be embraced by the auto industry in 2021. Today, we are shining a light on technologies and trends that we predict will have a significant impact on the 5G, data center, AI and software, healthcare, and IIoT markets this year and beyond.

For wired and wireless networking equipment, we believe adaptability, open standards, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will drive the evolution of 5G networks in 2021. Operators want to control their own destiny and mix and match best-in class-hardware and software in new 5G disaggregated systems. Our adaptable SoCs and RF solutions will help lead the way.

In the data center, we predict that SmartNIC deployments will surpass traditional NICs with hyperscalers and cloud service providers. SmartNICs provide compelling TCO and performance benefits and coprocessing is becoming a must-have for efficiency with today’s high-speed networking requirements. Another big trend we see in the data center is the growth of interactive live streaming. Interactive live streaming services will allow for engaging watch parties with friends, sports betting, and deeper engagement with our favorite brands and teams – and will drive an increasing need for the ultra-low-latency live streaming performance that our data center accelerator cards can provide.

Looking at the global AI market, we believe domain-specific architectures (DSAs) will represent the future of AI inference. DSAs utilize adaptable hardware that is customized for each group of workloads to run at the highest efficiency. In 2021, AI inferencing will continue to move away from fixed silicon approaches in favor of adaptive computing and the benefits of DSAs.

Up until last year, unlocking the power of hardware adaptability was unattainable for the average software developer and AI scientist. In 2021, new open source tools are simplifying programming and will allow software developers and AI scientists to harness hardware adaptability for next-generation applications. With this new ease of programming, FPGAs and adaptable SoCs will become more accessible for hundreds of thousands of software developers and AI scientists.

In healthcare, we predict that telehealth including remote monitoring, wireless communications and video conferencing will account for more than one-third of all patient care within the next 5 years and more than half by the end of the decade. Finally, for the industrial IoT solutions we power, we believe robots will proliferate beyond the factory floor and into our shops and communities  –  as businesses worry about close proximity of workers and to reassure consumers about health and safety protocols in the face of the ongoing pandemic.

2021 is shaping up to be a milestone year for the impact of technology on both business and society. Xilinx will continue to be at the forefront of driving innovation across the wide variety of technologies we enable with our highly flexible and adaptable processing platforms. Here’s to a bright and healthy year and all that it will bring.

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