Given these developments, here are five tech industry trends we’ll see within the next 11 months:
1 Work from Home (WFH) culture sets off a renewed focus on smart collaboration and office set-up of the future. As companies examine the functionality of the workplace, we’ll start to see more traditional office workspaces become periodic collaboration hubs, while home offices become the day-to-day workplace.
The office will likely transform from many desks, conference rooms, and shared amenities to a cooperative business center supporting specific project-based priorities on an ongoing basis.
As a result, employers will need to equip their full workforce with the right tech tools, deployment, and IT support to maximize productivity and collaboration – for both working from home and in the shared workplace.
2 5G and Connectivity Will Be in the Spotlight. 5G became a reality in 2020, but the global pandemic overshadowed its launch. In 2021 this will begin to change.
5G has infinite possibilities, many of which are yet to be explored. It is more than just ‘very fast internet,’ as it can enable many more products and services. It will also enhance augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences, which in themselves have unexplored possibilities.
5G will continue to transform personal computing as more PCs – joining tablets and smartphones – embrace always-on and always-connected capabilities, offering freedom from reliance on Wi-Fi alone. This is especially critical now as multiple household members stretch home Wi-Fi networks at peak hours while working and learning from home.
3 New Form Factors for New Generations. 2020 saw the introduction of foldable technology in PCs and smartphones that reshaped the potential of portability and productivity. These devices will move to the mainstream in the coming years as more panel suppliers offer more incredible options at lower price points.
Further out, we may even see foldable tech extended to external monitors that can be folded and unfolded, rolled and unrolled, to expand and contract based on the number of viewers watching.
These displays may one day also be embedded into our smartwatches, textiles, or even toys that extend like a scroll. Enterprise-grade, AR-enabled smart glasses for more versatility in remote maintenance and training, for example, will also come to the fore.
4 Heightened Cybersecurity and Transparency. Security of sensitive information will be a top priority in 2021 because of the proliferation of data, the ever-growing number of entry points, and hackers becoming more resourceful.
With the traditional network suddenly moving away from the corporate environment, the perimeter has now expanded to all devices connected remotely to the cloud or other work devices – where even smart home devices may add risk to corporate networks as employees log in from home.
Below-the-OS attacks, where hackers dive deeper into the computing stack for vulnerabilities, are also a growing risk. More remote and cloud infrastructures in the new normal also mean companies will need to grapple with how best to keep themselves secured with integrations of partner security services.
Ultimately, organizations will need to commit to a more agile, business-centric approach to security that doesn’t replace their existing security models but instead places security within the context of the organizational strategy.
5 IoT, Edge, and Blockchain Technology Will Become More Popular. The Internet of Things (IoT) has made tremendous strides over the past two years. It is becoming part of homes, businesses, and cities as people strive to make their lives simpler, streamlined, and more connected.
An IoT ecosystem consists of web-enabled smart devices that use embedded systems, such as processors, sensors, and communication hardware, to collect, send and act on data they acquire from their environments. IoT devices share the sensor data they collect by connecting to an IoT gateway or other edge device where data is sent to the cloud to be analyzed.
With IoT, a considerable amount of information is generated, which is then analyzed by cloud servers to extract only the useful data. This data is then fed back into IoT to increase its accuracy and relevance.
The truth is, deploying IoT at scale can be a tricky task. Everything looks different. IoT applications, gateways, and smart devices are installed differently and can be scattered across an organization’s physical locations.
As these IoT technologies become more prevalent, so too will connected products that require greater autonomy and speed, and edge computing will help facilitate this by rapidly analyzing their information.
With edge computing, products can immediately process information at its source rather than first divert it through the cloud. This makes technology like autonomous cars possible.
Lastly, Blockchain – a fantastic piece of data regulation technology, will most definitely become more popular in the coming months. When Blockchain technology first appeared on the public’s radar a few years ago, it was often conflated with Bitcoin and crypto currency.
However, while this was happening – the importance of Blockchain technology itself was overshadowed. 2021 will shine a light on the importance of this technology as the focus turns to enable digital trust.
The reason for this is that Blockchain technology can record transactions between two parties without the need for third-party authentication and is thus often referred to as a digital ledger. The information in this ledger is open and decentralized, which makes it ideal for identity management and tracking sources of assets and data, thus playing a vital role in the identification of information.