The opening line of Gartner’s “Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2021” really says it all. “Disruption is the hallmark of 2020”. Yep, it’s that time of the year again. As we approach the new year, we look at potential technology trends for 2021.
After a year like no other, 2020 has had a considerable impact. Not just on how we work, but on the technology that we use. Never before has there been such an emphasis on technology. As many businesses struggled to keep their doors open, they had to look to technology to keep their businesses going. With the masses working from home, a dependence grew on video conferencing, instant mail, cloud computing, e-commerce, and much more.
With these profound changes in work practices, the think tanks have come out in force. They predict that the world of work has changed forever. Very few think that we will see an en masse return to physical offices, and remote workforces seem to be very much on the cards for the period post-COVID.
Apart from working from home, the World Economic Forum predict that technological advances, such as automation, AI, Robotics and more have accelerated. As a result, they expect that by 2025, technology will displace 85 million jobs. While this is an alarming number, they believe that 97 million tech-focused roles will replace these roles. The problem with this is that there are not enough skilled people to take these roles.
According to WEF, the most in-demand roles for the next five years will include software development, cloud computing, data analytics, artificial intelligence, robotics, and more.
What technology trends for 2021?
So what tech trends can we expect for 2021? Well, Gartner’s technology trends for 2021 are live, and they reckon that the pandemic has reshaped trends for the year. This should hardly be a shock to anyone. One of the things that many of these technologies have in common is the need for software developers to build, work with, manage and grow these technologies. So, what tech trends are in store for 2021?
1. Internet of Behaviours
Many of you might still be trying to get your heads around the Internet of Things, or IoT, where effectively your technologies interact with other technologies, making pretty much everything work together like clockwork at the touch of a button, or a swipe of a touch screen. Well, the Internet of Behaviours, or IoB, is something different.
Garter puts it nicely when they explain it as the capturing of “digital dust”. It takes information about people’s lives from various sources, and companies will use that information to influence behaviour. Gartner tells us that the information will come from numerous sources such as “commercial customer data to social media and facial recognition”.
While this type of technology may seem pervasive to some, it may be beneficial to both consumer and company if used correctly. Of course, with GDPR, there will be plenty of barriers in the way of this tech, but Gartner still thinks that it will be big in 2021.
2. Total Experience
Some sort of “experience” always arises on Gartner’s lists. Over the years, they have spoken about areas such as multi-experience, customer experience, employee experience and user experience. Well, this year, it’s a combination of them all to bring Total Experience – which ultimately makes sense – especially now that we are living in a time when how we do business has completely changed.
3. Privacy-enhancing computation
So, perhaps to combat IoB (mentioned in point number one), privacy-enhancing computation will become more popular to protect people’s data further. Gartner tells us that this is done using three different forms that protect data. Firstly is that data is stored in a trusted environment where data can be processed through “parties and hardware-trusted execution environments”. Secondly, data should be processed in a “decentralised manner” – which includes “federated machine learning and privacy-aware machine learning.” The thor form transforms data before processing or analytics. “Intros on drive: trusted third
It includes differential privacy, homomorphic encryption, secure multiparty computation, zero-knowledge proofs, private set intersection and private information retrieval.”
4. Distributed Cloud
Distributed cloud computing incorporates locations in cloud-delivered services. It uses three origins; firstly, the public cloud, secondly, the hybrid cloud and thirdly, edge computing. Stackpath’s definition of distributed cloud is as follows: “Distributed Cloud Computing generalises the cloud computing model to position, process, and serve data and applications from geographically distributed sites to meet requirements for performance, redundancy and regulations.”
5. Anywhere Operations
Entirely apt for the times in which we live, Anywhere Operations” is just that. It is an IT operating model that is “designed to support customers everywhere, enable employees everywhere and manage the deployment of business services across distributed infrastructure. The model for anywhere operations is ‘digital-first, remote first.'” It is no surprise that this has made Gartner list on technology trends for 2021.
6. Cybersecurity Mesh
Once again, as the world becomes more reliant on technology, we must be all secure in what we are doing. The cybersecurity mesh is a “distributed architectural approach to scalable, flexible and reliable cybersecurity control.” Ensuring that everything is secure will enable the secure access and use of digital assets, no matter where either is located.
7. Intelligent Composable Business
With COVID-19, many businesses learned more about their processes. And, while some were able to continue work from a separate location, others didn’t fare as well.
Intelligent composable business is where leaders will sit down and re-examine their processes. They will look at better access to information, augment new insights and create an architecture that is “composable, modular, and can change and respond more quickly as decisions are made.”
With these architectural changes, the decision-making process will also change, with a focus on the autonomy and augmentation of decisions.
8. AI Engineering
There will be a significant focus on DataOps, ModelOps and DevOps over the next year as AI engineering improve and increases. Once again, COVID-19 has shown the need for further AI to keep doors open, and the next few years will see growth in this field.
With better AI, machine learning, and processes, businesses will look to automate as many IT processes as possible. As mentioned above, the benefits of automation became quite clear for businesses during restrictions and lockdowns. Brian Burke, Research Vice President at Gartner, says, “Hyperautomation is irreversible and inevitable. Everything that can and should be automated will be automated.”
Take Control – Be ready.
Many reports on technology in recent months have spoken about trends that have been sped-up due to the pandemic. There can be no doubting that it has altered how we work and how business is done. In October 2020, the World Economic Forum told us that COVID-19 has sped up technological changes so much, that they predict that as many as 85 million jobs will become displaced by 2025, only to be replaced by 97 million tech-related roles. The problem is that there are not enough developers. The window is narrowing for upskilling.