5 Tech Predictions for 2021

Covid-19 brought the world to a standstill and 2020 is the year most people would like to forget. For the tech companies though, 2020 proved to be a great year as far as the bottom line goes.

Sulabh Gupta
Dec 6, 2020 · 5 min read
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Image by Marcus Spiske on Unsplash.com

In 2020, we saw organizations around the world adapting to the changing circumstances and witnessed digital transformations that would have taken years to happen under normal circumstances.

With a promising vaccine around the corner and the new year just a few weeks away, here are the top 5 tech predictions for 2021:

  1. Increased Focus on Quantum Computing Use Cases

While several companies have made claims about quantum advantage and/or quantum supremacy, Quantum Computing is still a fairly new concept. It is no secret that the big technology companies are pouring millions of dollars to fund researches in Quantum Computing and will continue to do so in 2021.

I think in 2021, the big tech companies would shift their focus to promising use cases that could be realized in the next few years. Some use cases may include anticipating a rare type of cancer in a patient in its infancy by looking at the MRI scan or using quantum computing to build batteries with greater energy density. It would probably take decades for Quantum Computing to be mainstream but these use cases would pave the way for more and more complex problems that we can solve using quantum supercomputers. While there will be an increase in focus on quantum computing from the big-tech companies, I expect certain organizations to move away from investments in Quantum computing because they realize that the technology is not moving fast enough.

2. Increased focus on CyberSecurity

While all the advancement in technology is great, the same technological advancements in AI and Quantum Computing could make us more susceptible to hacking due to the sheer volume of calculations these technologies can do.

I think there will be a lot of interest in 2021 by tech companies to accelerate post-quantum cryptography development to safeguard the internet and every bit of data that is on there. Humankind cannot afford to build quantum computers without a workable crypto algorithm that is too complex to solve even for a quantum computer. The U.S govt. recently passed the National Quantum Initiative Act, which is a great first step but the clock is ticking and we need to act now.

Even though we are a few years (if not decades) away from a hacker using some quantum computer to run algorithms that speed past all the 2-factor authentication or any other safeguards you have today, there is no denying that the risk is too big to not take proactive action and I think 2021 will be the year where the governments and big-tech companies will put a lot of focus on developing advanced cryptography and cybersecurity.

3. 5G goes Mainstream

Covid-19 has forever changed the way how we interact with each other. Videoconferencing, virtual collaboration and remote work would continue in a post-covid world which means our need for reliable technology for connectivity and bandwidth is more than ever. With more IoT devices than ever and a plethora of streaming services, 5G seems to be the most realistic and only solution to our ever-increasing demand for higher speed and bandwidth.

In 2021, without a doubt, we will witness the 5G networks going mainstream. Several phone manufacturers across the world including Samsung, Apple, Xiaomi, Huawei, Motorola have already launched 5G capable phones. 5G will also allow advanced technologies like AR, VR, and gaming platforms like Stadia and GeForce to become more viable and work better than ever.

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Image by Jason Blackeye on unsplash.com

4. Delivery Drones will Fly High

2020 gave a big boost to the eCommerce sector because people were confined to their homes for the majority of the year. Amazon, over the years, has banked big on short delivery times and it has paid off. No wonder that Walmart is following in the same footsteps with its Walmart Plus program. However, the race is not for the same day delivery anymore. Customers expect the goods to be with them within a couple of hours and the closest solution we have for this kind of expectation is drones. Amazon recently received federal approval to operate its fleet of delivery drones and will start with the delivery of packages up to 5 pounds with Amazon Prime Air service (Source: CNBC, 2020).

In 2021, I believe there will be a lot of advancement in the technology for drone delivery. Companies like Uber and other food delivery services would try delivery by drones. Other use may include delivery of vital medicines, groceries, etc. Expect some drone delivery news from big courier companies like FedEx.

5. Remote Collaboration — Virtual and Augmented Reality

VR and AR have been around for a few years now but the last few months have forced us to be more open to the possibility of a truly global workforce. People over the world have collaborated virtually in ways that didn’t seem possible before.

I think in 2021, the VR and AR technology would further improve to help tackle the challenges we faced and facilitate remote work that wasn’t possible without a face to face meeting. For example, an optician may be able to carry out eye-tests entirely in VR. A construction company can show you how the house would look like through AR sitting at home.

Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 already has a tool called “Remote Assist” that allows technicians to collaborate and solve problems reducing travel time and costs and facilitate the training of new employees. The applications for advanced VR and AR technology could range from performing a complex medical examination to fixing a car and everything in between.

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