Trends 2021

2021: A bluffers’ guide to what may happen in technology

Future-gazing in a time of pandemic, regime change, populism and wave after wave of new technologies. Piece of cake.

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Well, what a great year it’s been for everybody, so long as by ‘everybody’ we mean Zoom shareholders, Jess Bezos and Joe Biden. Usually, the end of December is “the most wonderful time of the year”, especially for hacks asked to churn out 500 words on what’s going to happen next year. You can’t go far wrong and if you do, nobody will notice because they’ve been at the eggnog. Letting daylight in on magic for just a second, here’s the MO: lists, bullets, strong opinions, pub. And this year many of us maybe won't even get the pub, which rather takes away the fairy-tale ending.

In this space last year, I failed to mention a pandemic shutting down businesses, occasioning massive IT disruption and the complete re-engineering of how IT and technology serve we wage slaves. My bad. This time around, calling 2021 is as slippery a task as juggling eels but these pixels will look lonely without some wordage on top, so let’s go hard or let’s go home. And we’re all sick of home now, aren’t we?

Transformation everywhere

I think it’s going to be a year when smart companies innovate their way out of a tight spot. They already accelerated rather than paused digital transformation and should double-down in 2021 because there’s no viable alternative. So, fresh apps, portals, supply chains, channels to market and beyond it is, because if you think change is tough, bankruptcy is 10 times worse.

AI, let’s go, to paraphrase The Ramones

AI has been doing the alluring dance of the seven veils for years now but 2021 is the right time for its eagle-flight into the mainstream, if you’ll forgive the mixed metaphor. The ecosystem has been built and now’s the time to plough in resources, equipped with case studies, best practices and knowledge of how to avoid what happened to those that went in early.

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