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Looking into the crystal ball: Tech predictions for 2021

communication technology
(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/violetkaipa)

2020 was a year of evolution for many sectors of the tech industry due to the reality of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many tech leaders had to pivot their strategies by shifting to a largely remote-work model and assessing new markets that were impacted by unforeseen economic impacts. 

The tech industry has had major changes this year and because of that many experts are predicting new or evolved trends in 2021. Below multiple tech experts highlight their top predictions within the technology industry for the new year. 

Krishna Subramanian, president and COO at Komprise:

“In 2021, cloud storage costs begin to overtake compute costs. For the past three years, cloud cost optimization has been a key priority for businesses. In fact, Gartner predicted that 80 percent of businesses will outspend their cloud budgets in 2020. A bulk of these costs so far has been in the compute, since cloud object storage is relatively cost effective. But this is changing, since cloud file storage is typically ten times more expensive than S3, and file data is way more voluminous than block data – all of which underscores the importance of using cloud file storage just when you need it. In 2021, enterprise IT organizations will begin adopting cloud data management solutions to understand how cloud data is growing and manage its lifecycle efficiently across the various cloud file and object storage options.”

Anshu Sharma, CEO and co-founder, Skyflow:

“Every large company is on a long-term transition to digital and cloud - so they can effectively compete against the likes of Amazon, and the Silicon Valley startups who are aiming for them. Companies like Nike, JP Morgan Chase, and Walgreens have been trying to transform and in 2020 they all got an unintended boost in their push to the cloud - because they had to. The Fortune 500, having seen relative success with cloud and digital are not going back. They are all doubling down. 2021 will be the year of the digital double down.”

Patrick Harr, CEO, SlashNext:

“Over the last 30 days, 10 percent of company users were phished, according to live data we compiled across more than 100 large and mid-sized enterprises. Every day, SlashNext Threat Labs detect 21,000 new phishing attacks, almost double the number of threats from a year ago, and SlashNext Threat Labs are seeing an alarming 50-75 percent attacks getting past conventional phishing defenses to compromise enterprise networks. So, if you think your current defenses will keep you safe, think again. And in 2021, we anticipate this problem will get much, much worse.”

Stowe Boyd, analyst, Gigaom: 

“The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technologies that were popular before, but which are now essential. One example has been the combination of work chat tools and video conferring, as typified by Microsoft Teams and Slack. Microsoft has seen a dramatic uptick in usage, and the release of Google's new take on the former GSuite, now known as Google Workspace, which also integrates work chat and video conferencing represents another challenge for Slack. As the two leaders in what we might think of as 'business operating systems,' Google and Microsoft present a difficult challenge for Slack, since companies will not want to pay extra for functionality, they already have access to in their communications and file storage platforms.”

Saad Siddiqui, principal, Telstra Ventures:

“The unrelenting pace of open source innovation will continue in 2021, particularly in the areas of data analytics and data infrastructure, leaving many Fortune 1000 businesses and other SMBs struggling to keep pace with, and integrate with, open source innovations. Unlike large tech players, who can afford to hire an army of engineers to constantly change things and add their own herbs and spices to improve their operations, most businesses and newer vendors don’t have as many talented engineers or can’t hire more engineers to keep pace with change. To address this talent wall, we’re seeing the rise of a hybrid open source business model, whereby open source data analytics companies like Incorta and infrastructure companies like Rancher Labs monetize closed source, out-of-the-box capabilities that deliver open source innovations while requiring less time and resources for enterprises to derive value.”

Cornelia Davis, CTO, Weaveworks:

“2021 will see the emergence of common distributed operational patterns widely implemented across all industries, and with the coming of 5G and the edge, this could not be timelier. There are several signals that foreshadow this, such as the adoption of GitOps as a defacto standard and best practice for operating Kubernetes and its workloads. IT systems will not only enjoy greater resilience, and security, but having GitOps in place also lays the foundation for massive scalability and growth.”

Yiannis Antoniou, analyst, Gigaom: 

“Responsible AI / ML will become the hottest topic in the cloud ML industry. Given society’s increased emphasis on combatting unfairness and bias and the overall interest in better interpretability and explainability of machine learning models, cloud providers will invest and enhance their ML offerings to offer a full suite of responsible ML / AI capabilities that will aim to satisfy and reassure regulators, modelers, management and the market on the fair use of ML. Meanwhile, AI / ML will continue to see explosive growth and usage across the whole industry, with significant enhancements in ease-of-use and UX combining within a responsible AI / ML framework to drive the next growth spurt of this sector.”

IT Experts