The 5 biggest technology trends in 2021 everyone must get ready for now

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It might seem strange to be making predictions about 2021, when it’s far from certain how the remainder of 2020 is going to play out. No-one foresaw the world-changing events of this year, but one thing is clear: tech has been affected just as much as every other part of our lives.

Another thing that is clear is that today’s most important tech trends will play a big part in helping us cope with and adapt to the many challenges facing us. From the shift to working from home to new rules about how we meet and interact in public spaces, tech trends will be the driving force in managing the change.

In many ways, Covid-19 will act as a catalyst for a whole host of changes that were already on the cards anyway, thanks to our increasingly online and digital lives. Things will just happen more quickly now, with necessity (long acknowledged as the mother of invention) as the driving force. And should it be the case that – as certain US presidents have predicted – Covid-19 “magically disappears” – the changes it has brought about will not, as we will have learned to do a lot of things more efficiently and safely.

Here’s my overview of how the major tech trend that I identified in my most recent book Tech Trends in Practice, are likely to play out during the next year. Some will play their part in helping us to recover “normality” (whatever that means), while some of them will make it easier for us to understand and navigate a changed reality.

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Why ‘as-a-service’ models will reign in a post-pandemic world

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It’s hard to think ahead when we are up to our necks in the misery and fear of a pandemic, but every CEO should be focused not just on how to survive, but how to thrive in the COVID-era. I say era because this is not a passing phase, but a new reality.

COVID is accelerating many societal and technology shifts and reversing others. The COVID-era is a technology-driven era with widespread and often forced adoption of trends like work-from-home, online retail, pickup/delivery services, entertainment-as-a-service, telemedicine (well, tele-you-name-it), and machine-learning. Embodied in this change are deep behavioral shifts that, even given a decade, might never have reached these proportions. Enabling nearly all of these shifts is an “… as-a-service (XaaS)” capability be it data, infrastructure, platform, software, or experience. XaaS was already on it’s way to becoming a juggernaut, with a market value of $93.8 billion in 2018 and projected to triple to $344.3 billion by 2024, but it’s now on a whole new COVID-triggered upswing.

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