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2021 Tech Predictions

Posted: 9 Feb 2021

2021 Tech Predictions

As 2021 predictions emerge from key players in the IT sector, Eolas Recruitment selects a few highlights.

Making accurate predictions is notoriously difficult. History is littered with examples of industry leaders who got it wrong, among them vacuum manufacturer Alex Lewyt who predicted in 1955 that nuclear-powered vacuum cleaners would probably be a reality within 10 years and the President of the Michigan Savings Bank who in 1903 told Henry Ford’s lawyer, “The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty—a fad.”

In the tech sector, Steve Jobs got it wrong in a 2003 interview with Rolling Stone magazine when he stated that the subscription model of buying music was bankrupt. The following year, Bill Gates suggested at the 2004 World Economic Forum that the problem of spam would be solved within two years. We’re still waiting for that to happen.

However, history also provides plenty of examples of predictions that proved to be surprisingly accurate.

Tech predictions that came true

Early examples include Nikola Tesla, born in 1856, who predicted the future advent of wireless data transmission. Move on a century and in a 1999 interview with Wired magazine, Jeff Bezos correctly predicted that online shopping would take hold by 2020 while Bill Gates, in his 1999 book, Business @ The Speed of Thought, predicted, “Constant video feeds of your house will become common, which inform you when somebody visits while you are not home.” The following year, The Simpsons predicted Donald Trump’s presidency in the ‘Bart to the Future’ episode!

Jump forward to 2020, and this time last year few were predicting the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic would have. However, the changes forced on companies due to concerns about public health have profoundly altered attitudes to remote working in many sectors.

2021 Tech Predictions

So, what can we expect in 2021? Here are ten highlights from our round-up of this year’s tech predictions.

  1. Security threats look set to remain a strong theme in 2021. Microsoft’s Corporate Vice president Ann Johnson suggests that now is the time to adopt a Zero Trust approach based on three principles — verify explicitly, use least privilege access, and assume breach. Johnson says it’s time to move away from passwords plus SMS and voice calls as authentication factors. “For most users on their mobile devices, we believe the right answer is passwordless with app-based authentication, like Microsoft Authenticator, or a hardware key combined with biometrics.”
  2. With more people than ever working from home, Trend Micro predicts that cybercriminals will offer access to hacked routers as a new service for threat actors aiming to break into home networks. Trend Micro also predicts that APIs may be targeted as cybercriminals attempt to break in to enterprise systems.
  3. Forrester predicts that companies “will double down on technology-fuelled experiences, operations, products, and ecosystems in 2021. If this comes to fruition, we may see customer service and online sales making more use of virtual and augmented reality technologies enabling users to do things like try on clothing and accessories or experience 360-degree virtual reality events like music festivals.
  4. Dell’s latest tech predictions, reported in SiliconRepublic suggest that the needs of remote workers will see game-changing ‘intelligent PCs’ emerge to facilitate collaboration in hybrid working models”.
  5. Deloitte predicts an increase in the use of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) for training purposes in companies and educational institutions. They estimate global sales for enterprise and educational use of wearable headsets for VR, AR, and MR will grow by 100 percent in 2021 over 2019 levels, as will sales of software and services related to this technology.
  6. Writing in the Irish Independent (28 January 2021), Tech journalist Adrian Weckler noted that big tech firms may face privacy fines this year with a number of investigations currently under way. Whether any fines that are imposed will be sufficient to satisfy big tech critics remains to be seen. With technology enabling more surveillance of citizens than ever before, striking the right balance between privacy and security is proving difficult for policy makers, regulators and the tech industry.
  7. The Data Protection Commissioner recently published updated guidance on the transfer of personal data from Ireland to the UK however issues affecting data transfers to countries outside the EU and EEA are likely to remain on the agenda this year.
  8. Some people predict robots may become more human-like in 2021. A recent article by Johnny Wood for the World Economic Forum reports that 36% of respondents in a global Ipsos survey think it “likely that robots will look like, think like and speak like humans in the next year.”
  9. The cashless society may finally be here. More of us will use digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay this year, partly in response to health concerns arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic. Writing in the New York Times recently, Brian X Chen observed that “germaphobia finally pushed more of us to try the contact-free phone payments as opposed to a card swipe.”
  10. Got a video-doorbell? Adrian Weckler’s article (28 January 2021) highlights that you could fall foul of the Data Protection Commissioner if you fail to comply with data protection legislation.

Opportunities for tech workers

When it comes to making our own predictions for 2021, Eolas Recruitment anticipates plenty of new opportunities for permanent and contract IT workers.

“Already, we are seeing increased activity due to more new projects getting sign off for 2021. There is a lift in demand for Project Management and Programme Management contractors — a trend that is likely to accelerate over the coming months,” comments Senior Recruiter Stephen Daly.

Meanwhile, echoing some of the 2021 predictions highlighted in this article, Managing Director Vincent Flynn says Eolas Recruitment anticipates strong demand this year for software developers and engineers in areas like cloud projects, data privacy and IT security.

“For employers, now is the time to be thinking about resourcing requirements, focusing on blending permanent and contract roles because of the additional flexibility that this gives in uncertain times. For candidates, having an open mind when it comes to applying for roles is more important than ever in the current market. Taking on a temporary or interim role can be a great way to gain experience and advance your career in the industry. Keeping in touch with our specialist IT recruiters helps you to get to know what’s happening in the industry and where the best opportunities are,” says Vincent.

As always, for further information and/or advice about Eolas Recruitment, we encourage you to check out our informational videos and online reviews or reach out to a member of our team to arrange a chat.

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