Jan 8th 2021

2021 tech industry predictions

What’s 2021 got in store for the technology industry? Can we expect to see flying taxis swooping through our skies and robots roaming our streets? Or will it be another year of Zooming from work meetings to social engagements, tapping away at folding/flipping/6G phones?

We asked the Babel team to share their tech sector predictions for the year ahead. Part I is below, with part II launching next week. And if you want to see how well our crystal ball-gazing fared last year, then check out this piece by Babel’s CEO Ian.

What’s your outlook for the year ahead? If you don’t know, want to know, or are thinking “oh no!” then get in touch – we work with brands across the tech spectrum and deliver great PR results.

Abbie, Senior Campaign Executive

“I predict electric innovation will take over as consumers demand more transparency from businesses around their carbon emissions. Consumer expectations around the use of green technology have never been higher.

“With government subsidies available to help businesses buy electric vehicles, I expect to more commercial fleets of EVs take to the road. Getting to carbon neutral will take a variety of forms of power (hydrogen, fuel cells, solar, wind etc.) but this year, with government support, businesses have the potential to do more to aid the smooth transition away from fossil fuels.”

Declan, Campaign Manager

“I think 2021 will see much of the same in tech-land: More slow and steady 5G rollouts; more of the shift from cinemas to sofas for our entertainment; more talk about Huawei and US/China relations; and more gadgets cropping up that we didn’t realise we needed (and probably still won’t need).

“One thing I’d like to see happen in 2021 though is a greater effort to close the digital divide. Whether that comes from governments or from those within the industry itself, 2020 showed just how dependent we’ve become on connectivity, and this year should be the year we improve access to the digital world for all.

“On a similar note, I also predict the 5G conspiracy theories on social media will reach a new level of ludicrous hilarity this year – looking at you Uncle Jim….”

Dan, PR and Digital Marketing Manager

“The main trend I’ll be interested to watch play out in 2021 is how work patterns develop post-lockdown, and what other technologies will emerge from any shift. My assumption, to some extent, is that working from home is here to stay. From talking to friends and colleagues, I get the impression a mix of being at home for a couple of days and then being in the office for the rest of the week could be a good balance.

“I think technology wise, this will mean Zoom and the other conference services will go from strength to strength, as well as collaboration tools such as Slack being indispensable for many of us.

“At home I think fitness apps such as Peloton will continue to be popular, especially as gyms are currently closed. Mental health apps such as Calm and Headspace will have a bumper year (and rightly so) as many of us are increasingly aware of the importance of looking after our mental well-being in these unsettling times.”

Ed, Campaign Manager

“The SolarWinds hack in December sent shockwaves through the cybersecurity industry. In 2021, we’re likely to learn that many more major organisations were and are continuing to be impacted.

“Nation state cyber activity is also likely to escalate in the wake of the incident following news that US officials have attributed the attack to Russian-affiliated hackers.”

Holly, Senior Content Manager

“2021 will see workers of the world, unite! Or at least, it’ll see concerted efforts from those employed by major tech companies to ensure better working conditions and greater negotiating powers. The formation of Alphabet Workers Union this month may be just the beginning.

“Events in 2020 highlighted the existence – and, arguably, growth – of a digital divide, but they also highlighted the gap between the power and money of tech giants, and the employees of the tech giants who lack both.

The transition to WFH suited many white collar workers, who embraced digital services like ecommerce. A win for these consumers and a massive win for the c-suites at these firms. Many of the firms’ employees working in entry level roles, however, have fared less well. In 2020 there was a steady drumbeat of stories of covid outbreaks in warehouses and gruelling working conditions due to the digital services boom. Something has to change, and hopefully the move by Google employees will set the keynote for worker empowerment for the year ahead.”

Look out for part II next week, when the rest of the Babel team will be sharing their thoughts and hopes for year ahead…


Holly Ashford
Holly Ashford SENIOR CONTENT MANAGER