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2021 tech industry predictions: part II

What will be going on in the world of tech this year? A number of the Babel team shared their technology industry 2021 predictions last week, with the rest of the gang revealing their techie forecasts in part II of the series, below.

Imogen, Consultant

“My prediction for 2021 is that there is going to be a huge surge in the adoption of climate change strategies by businesses, especially with Biden going into US office. I think that AI will play a crucial role in getting these strategies up and running.”

Jen, Campaign Director

“Farmers must continue to acclimatise to mounting pressures of feeding a growing population, adjusting to life post-Brexit, and learning to adapt and conform to changes brought about by consumer diet fashions and environmental regulations. I predict that, in order to achieve these things, the role of agricultural technology (agritech or agtech) will really come to the fore.

“Over the past couple of years we’ve seen farmers adopt autonomous, robotic technology in the fields; utilise sensors and artificial intelligence to ensure animal welfare; and use hand-held devices and applications to support with decision making. This year, with food supply chains under the microscope more than ever and continuing technological advancements, I believe that we’ll continue to see an upwards trajectory in agritech innovation and adoption, improving farming efficiency and driving the yields from the fields.”

Jenny, Managing Director

“No surprise that homeworking needs to feature here, but I predict some kind of tech-led evolution to make you feel more connected; could we see hologram-based meetings, avatars in a virtual world or re-creating your office in augmented reality? The opportunities could be endless!”

Katie, Director

“I predict that in 2021, we’ll see a steep escalation in nation-state cyber-attacks. Following the SolarWinds hack, Biden pledged that the US will ‘respond in kind’. In the wake of last week’s confirmation that Russia was responsible, we can expect to see an American retaliation in the coming months.  This in turn is likely to fuel a response from Russia, reigniting past tensions, and fanning the flames for cyber warfare.”

Matt, Campaign Director

“I predict that the global tech giants will start to spin off non-core elements of their business, creating new standalone companies in efforts to limit the impact of regulatory action over competition and anti-trust concerns.”

Paul, Director

“One of the interesting telecoms stories of the past month has been Ericsson CEO’s U-turn on Huawei; he’s now lobbying for the Huawei ban to be overturned. This move has left many in the industry quite baffled, as Ericsson is one of the companies that, on face value, has a lot to benefit from the Huawei ban.

“However, the ban of Huawei is accelerating OpenRAN, an initiative which looks to bring more diversification into telcos’ supply chains and is considered by the US and other markets as a way to help find alternatives to the Chinese giant. OpenRAN also poses a threat to Ericsson and Nokia, two giant telecoms incumbents that are renowned for supplying fixed hardware that OpenRAN promises to offer more competition to. So could the Huawei ban accelerate the OpenRAN conundrum facing Ericsson and Nokia this year? We’ll have to see.”

Simon, Associate Director

“After a dreadful 2020 for a large portion of the retail sector, I’m hoping for a more successful 12 months for retailers. A successful vaccine programme will no doubt mean that we can hit the high street with renewed vigour. Yes, the ecommerce firms that had a bumper 2020 will continue to thrive, but there remains a huge appetite for traditional ‘bricks-and-mortar’ stores, particularly those smaller businesses and independents which have not historically had an online presence.

“The experience of the past 12 months will lead many retailers to further invest in tech, from contactless transactions to AR and VR, all aimed at enhancing the shopping experience and encouraging people through their doors.”

Susie, Director

“The pandemic will increase investment in, and roll out of more automated delivery from drones and autonomous delivery bots. By summer 2021 we’ll see more pilots of these being trialled. These will be accompanied by advances in hygiene and self-cleaning technology to counter the spread from human contact.”

We can’t know for sure how this year will pan out. But we can help brands plan PR and communications for the months ahead. Get in touch to find out more.

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