I’ve been asked by one of our PR agencies to prepare a series of articles for their national media about the new technology trends in 2021. This is generally a task I plan to work on every year but somehow never seem to get around to. Perhaps this year will be different. After all it has already been different in so many other ways thanks to Covid-19.
Ironically, I don’t actually see any major new technology trends emerging in 2021. The key metric to watch will, rather, be the speed with which the now-familiar digital transformation drivers such as Machine Learning, AI, IoT, and Cloud are being adopted. While there has definitely been a great acceleration in remote working this year, for example, we are already seeing growing resistance to the idea that it is some sort of panacea.
Yes, there are some jobs that you can do just as effectively at home as you can in the office, perhaps in some cases more so, but only if you have a nice quiet space of your own to retreat to away from the distractions of family life. For most people, that’s simply not possible.
When life returns to some semblance of the previous normal, I suspect that a new hybrid model will emerge for knowledge workers. Many will spend a couple of days in the office catching up with their colleagues and carrying out the intensive discussions required for major initiatives like product and market development and spend the rest of the week at home on the more routine aspects of their job. Assuming they have somewhere to hide themselves, they might even have the opportunity to engage in the kind of reflective “deep work” that will be required for driving long-term innovation and growth.
Let’s see about that…