12 Top electrical engineering trends in 2021
Ranked the leader among Top Engineering Service Providers by Goodfirms, at Skelia we believe keeping up with engineering trends is like breathing — it’s a must. Yes, this is our secret to being a leader in the industry.
This insightful article will share our in-depth insights and twelve hot trends everyone in the electrical engineering landscape needs to take advantage of before it’s too late. While one would expect stagnation in every industry due to the pandemic, fortunately, it’s a different story for the electrical engineering landscape.
Scientists and electrical engineers around the globe have made notable strides that will make 2021 quite interesting. In fact, most developments that have been in progress for years will come to fruition in 2021.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The advent of 5G technology, which has speeds 5x faster than its predecessor (4G), has enhanced IoT significantly. The Internet of Things is a collection of “things” connected through the internet, from electronic devices, people, buildings, roads, processes, and even animals — virtually everything we see around.
Typical examples of IoT devices include wearable technology, smartphones, and a variety of sensors.
With the 5G network’s extensive rollout in 2021, a surge in electrical engineering IoT devices is anticipated. In the construction industry, we’ll see smart grids, Visible Light Communication, and Smart Lighting. Further, expanding on the construction industry, electrical contractors will also witness a rise in demand for installing IoT systems in buildings.
This will go yonder to the continuous electrical engineering services for the maintenance and performance monitoring of the IoT systems installed. In other words, electrical engineers who have become well-vested in IoT will enjoy the best paying contracts this year. The intertwining of electrical engineering with IoT means electrical engineers have to adapt to this growing trend.
Project Management Software
The increase in sophistication of electrical engineering demands a simplified way of keeping records for all tasks underway. In 2021, more contractors are relying on software to minimize time lost on paperwork. Client Relationship Project Management Software is becoming the standard de facto for scheduling and billing, tracking customer interactions, and ultimately saving loads of time often spent on paperwork.
Today, electrical engineering contractors use cloud-based programs to keep their information safe and accessible at any given moment. This enables them to use less time in offices and be more on the field.
A decade ago, people solely relied on electricity from a national power grid. A grid is a network of power lines that transmit electricity from the power source to the public. While this conventional power grid will remain for a while, it has been significantly improved over the years.
Today, we have a “smart grid,” which is expected to become the standard from 2021 onwards. This advancement allows communication between power networks and technology, enabling operators to obtain diverse information from the system.
The smart grid also works conveniently for households and companies that no longer depend on electrical power companies. That’s right, most consumers now generate their own power, and this trend is expected to increase in 2021. Smart grids allow these persons to easily manage and sell their surplus owing to advanced delivery infrastructure. Smart grids have also become valuable as they improve safety. They minimize accidents by providing a higher level of control when multiple power sources are involved.
To keep up with these developments, electrical contractors need to learn to work with smart grid technologies. The phenomenon of smart grids will only grow since it enhances efficiency and minimizes costs.
Wireless transfer of electricity
The wireless transfer of electricity was invented in the USA at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Behind this invention were Professor Marin Soljacic and his team. This technology allows electricity to be transmitted over distances through the air, wood, granite, plastic, and grass. Although still in its primitive stages, a lot of its application has been seen in 2020.
Most electronic companies could leverage wireless transfer of electricity in making wireless charging devices for smartphones, laptops, and earphones. Car manufacturers, including Toyota, Thoratec, and Intel, also licensed this technology in their electric vehicles & wearable devices.
The application of wireless power transfer is expected to progress even further in 2021. Finally, we might be able to totally get rid of the power cables that people use daily. Even though it may not be all of them in 2021, the near future promises fascinating advancements.
Wearable devices have become very popular over the past few years. The most talked-about are Apple Watches, which are believed to notify users of vital health conditions such as cardiovascular diseases before they escalate.
But did you know that there is more? In electrical engineering, wearable devices significantly help to improve safety on the job. Electrical engineers can choose from a range of devices that minimize electrical shock risk when dealing with charged circuits.
One example is such a device is “Proxxi.” This device was created to mitigate accidents associated with electrical contact. The manufacturer used two bracelets; when the user gets into proximity with energized equipment, the device notifies the user of the impending danger. The information is automatically sent to a mobile app, which the user can review at any time.
Wearable devices are also being used for access to electrical equipment. They enable operators to communicate, thus replacing mobile phones. Good communication improves safety in the workplace.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence has become a major topic in all sectors of science, electrical engineering included. It is believed that in 2021 moving forward, electrical engineers will need to add a little AI knowledge to their expertise. Learning AI will assist the engineers in:
- Forming algorithms required for the interpretation of data;
- Creating/ improving old programs;
- Developing new strategies in electronics;
- Developing machine & AI learning platforms;
- Image processing;
- Creating algorithms to help with troubleshooting, etc.
To simplify the process, electrical engineering companies can work hand-in-hand with Skelia to outsource some of the above processes.
The use of prefabricated products is met with varying opinions among electrical engineers. Some are concerned that they threaten their role as engineers. However, prefabricated products may not be as much a threat as they are purported to be. They only help to bridge the gap of labour shortage in the electrical engineering field.
Most electrical engineers prefer to use prefabricated products on big projects that have similar layouts. This significantly saves time, thus allowing the project to be completed early. The engineer won’t have to spend too much time on repetitive work that can be done offsite. Another advantage of prefabricated products is that they promote safety on the job site. The engineer will be exposed to fewer hazards. With all these perks, indeed, we are going to see more of them in 2021.
Energy-saver lighting tech
A few years ago, LED lamps were super expensive, a situation that forced most people to consider other options. Fortunately, with the recent advances in electrical engineering, that’s not the case anymore.
According to reports, energy-saver bulbs consume less than 80% of the energy required by conventional light bulbs. And the best part, today they are also affordable. Energy-saver bulbs save each home an average of 100 dollars in utility bills annually. With the continuous improvement of this energy-saving technology, LED bulbs are expected to become the standard in 2021 and beyond.
Improved battery technology
It’s inarguable that solar and wind energy are the purest forms of sustainable energy. However, these only work best if they work with batteries, and in light of this, various electrical departments and companies around the globe are working relentlessly towards proficient batteries.
With improved battery technology, the industry of electric cars will also make significant strides this year. More innovations in the field of robotics will also be witnessed.
For years, robotics tech has been infamous for robbing people of their jobs. This is true and sad for people in the manufacturing business.
Meanwhile, in the electrical engineering sector, this tech is a benediction! In fact, robotics technology is synonymous with safety. Today, the riskiest electrical engineering tasks are executed with robots. For instance, instead of assigning humans, the life-threatening task of cutting underground power cables, robots can be used instead.
The year 2020 saw a massive manifestation of drones. The entertainment industry really could not need more. However, 2021 will see an increasing diversification in the use of drones. Besides shooting fancy Instagram videos or music videos, drones will also be instrumental in the construction industry. When used effectively, they can minimize 5 of every ten accidents that could occur on the worksite.
Electrical engineers are already using drones to scrutinize areas with significant electrical risk before sending a human to work on the problem. Drones are also being used to gather information on a job site before work begins. This helps contractors to analyze the area quickly, hence increasing productivity when the project starts.
Electric vehicles (EV)
Beginning this year, the share price of Tesla, one of the most prominent electric car manufacturers in the world, has been soaring. This is after the company passed a staggering $100 billion milestone!
What this entails is that electric cars are just about to take over. According to experts, one decade from now, over 100 million EVs will fill the roads. Many investments are being made towards EV technology, which will see much change in 2021 alone.
The growth of the EV business will further be propagated by things like improved battery technology, IoT, and AI, just to mention a few.
Earlier, electrical engineering development was limited to small experiments that made use of batteries & static charges. Later, more sophisticated innovations were witnessed after the likes of Michael Faraday, Thomas Edison, André Ampére, and Nicola Tesla kept pushing the limits. These discoveries are the cornerstone of sophisticated electrical engineering inventions we see today.
The year 2021 could be the year most electrical engineering ideas and, initially, half-baked concepts finally come to fruition. Many electrical engineering developments are underway — if they don’t become a reality in 2021, they will undoubtedly do in the nearest future.