Hackernoon logoTechnology Trends of 2021: Our Top Five Picks by@qarea

Technology Trends of 2021: Our Top Five Picks

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@qareaAnna Khrupa

Researcher/Marketing Manager at qarea.com

The end of 2020 has come and gone! This means it’s time to analyze what has happened to the world of technology during the last twelve months and define the things (technologies, activities, strategies, and so on) to focus on in 2021. In today’s post, we’re listing down the top 5 technology trends we believe will rise this year.

Anyone working closely with technology or investing in it should pay extra attention to such forecasts if wanted to assure continuously high ROI and successful releases.

Trend #1: Remote Everything

Talking about the technology trends of 2021 is impossible without addressing the elephant in the room first. The global pandemic has changed every single sphere of our lives, and high-tech is no exception. While in the recent past things like digital transformation and business reshape seemed to be buzzwords, coronavirus spreading quickly turned them into a necessity. People started working, resting, dating, seeing doctors, working out, partying ― basically, living ― from their homes. And regardless of how tired we all are because of that, this tendency won’t go anywhere with 2021 coming around. 

2021 will continue the technological acceleration trend forced by the COVID-19 quarantine.

This means both digital products and internet coverage will be gradually becoming more and more accessible in 2021. Healthcare, commerce, customer service, business management, and other sectors are getting prepared to rely even more on digitalization. In terms of technologies enabling this trend, we recommend to keep an eye on the following:

5G mobile network coverage spreading nationwide, including with the use of 5G core as-a-service projects like one offered by Hewlett Packard Enterprise;

IoT embedded systems that will be tailored to support connections of critical responsibility due to the 5G standard implementation across large regions;

Wi-Fi 6E standard that will be present in about 300 million new hardware device models released in 2021, as Wi-Fi Alliance expects.

Trend #2: Internet of Behavior

Internet of Behavior (IoB) is the term offered by Gartner. It is an extension of the Internet of Things (IoT) that ties together technology, behavioral studies, and data analytics.

As we already mentioned, many processes and activities were forced to move to the digital space this year. Naturally, this led to more online user data generated than ever before. Analysis of this data is a valuable source of information for businesses, especially in the e-commerce sector, but not just that.

The desire of companies to understand their potential customers better inspired the appearance of IoB as a standalone strategy. 

Briefly spelling, IoB is about studying user behavior and influencing it with the gathered information and feedback. For example, healthcare devices like smartwatches and fitness trackers, which also became very popular amid the pandemic, work by gathering user information about location, physical activity, heart rate, weight, and body composition, sleep time, calorie consumption, and burnout, etc.

People wearing them agree that smartwatches and tracker vendors collect all this information and process it. In their turn, companies can use such data for targeted marketing increasing their sales and making customer experiences more personalized. Other than advertising, IoB technology is also applicable in healthcare, automotive (for self-driving systems), and business management (for ERP systems development).

Trend #3 Next-Level Ethics & Security

Advancement in technology always raises a discussion about the ethical implications it brings. Things like online doctor consultation or drug prescription management with a mobile app are great, but you won’t be able to enjoy them if you don’t share the most sensitive information with the software vendor.

That’s why in 2021 companies will be paying extra attention to the ethical and data security aspects of their digital products. Cybersecurity protocols will be getting more sophisticated to enable privacy-enhancing programming, therefore will require higher budgets. Machine learning is going to be the it-technology to identify the attack early and even generate the defense pattern without human involvement.

As for the actual tech stack, you can expect to see a rise in popularity of programming languages related to ML development (Python, C#, C++, and JavaScript among others).

The need to comply with all the digital ethics standards will also bring changes to the software development and testing service market. While requests like third-party functional testing or full-cycle quality assurance services are no longer new to the IT industry, in 2021 we’re going to see businesses looking for data privacy and digital ethics assurance services.

Considering the complexity of modern user data protection standards and their implementation in practice, setting up a separate testing process to assure ethical collection and storage of data doesn’t seem to be an overkill for companies in 2021. 

Trend #4 Business Accessibility Through QA

This year has shown us how important it is to keep businesses accessible to the public no matter what. To keep both customers and workforce able to access products and/or services a company distributes is determinative for its future.

Understanding that, many companies working in completely different industries from banking to entertainment and commerce started forcing the anywhere operations model described by Gartner in one of their recent articles. The term summarizes the number of development approaches and technologies applied collectively to achieve resilient back-office operations and stable distribution of the company’s products and services.

And when it comes to achieving technical stability and resilience in practice, software quality assurance comes under the spotlight.

Independent QA services that offer a holistic approach to software testing and check not only functionality of a system, but its accessibility and performance under compromised conditions will be on the rise next year. 

In 2021, the pursuit of business accessibility will also increase the demand for technologies enabling digital mobility and stable data connectivity. These include Cloud computing and mobile software development with .NET, Java, and Golang programming languages.

By the end of 2023, it is expected that 40% of companies will try to integrate the anywhere operations model in their business management approach. Numbers seem promising, so we recommend keeping an eye on projects like PaaS (platform as a service) and Cloud enterprise management software. 

Trend #5 AI Engineering & Automation

Despite the disruptive situation the IT industry happened to be in this year, the investments in Artificial Intelligence did not decrease much (7% at max) even in the most critical months. Furthermore, according to the Gartner poll, many companies are planning to increase their AI-dedicated budgets in 2021. Why? We believe this means AI models actually started giving back the results proportional to the investments in them.

AI programming and techniques will be predominantly used in DevOps processes establishment in 2021.

Applying artificial intelligence to their software solutions, many organizations report higher robustness, more powerful performance, scalability, and responsiveness increase without handing any extra resources for the program maintenance.

As for the programming languages, we predict market demand growth for Lisp, Python, C++, and Prolog programming languages for AI development specifically.

Summing up

Some people are glad that 2020 is over, while others are joking fussily about 2021 being a sequel of what we’ve witnessed in the last twelve months. The only thing we can be sure about is that the world of technology is not going to slow down for a minute.

The trends we highlighted in this post are just the tip of the iceberg of what the upcoming year holds for us. Let’s explore the 2021 innovation together!

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