IT Tech trends for 2021

As businesses adapt to the ‘new normal’, we break down some of the tech trends most likely to shape IT strategies as businesses prepare for life post-Covid...

Gary Luther


A decade ago, no-one would have guessed we’d all be working from home over video chat, communicating with computers through smart speakers, and connecting devices. Today, the opportunities available in the tech environment are growing all the time. Perhaps at a greater pace than ever before, thanks to the events of 2020.

So which innovations are most likely to drive the biggest results for your business?

Below, we examine some of the tech trends encouraging the biggest digital transformations in 2021 and beyond.

1.   Remote working tools

Workers have been demanding more flexibility for a long time now. However, it’s been difficult for many companies to make the initial shift to remote working. During 2020, the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic pushed many organisations to begin testing the waters of flexible work much faster.

In 2021 and beyond, the lockdown restrictions and office issues may diminish, but the demand for remote work will continue.

For most companies, the key to success will be implementing the right tools for ongoing collaboration and communication. Microsoft Teams is becoming an essential part of the collaboration landscape, but until recently, it’s struggled to deliver the telephony features that business leaders need. That’s why Nice Network now bridges the gap with its market-leading Teams Talk solution.

Teams Talk combines collaboration technology with your company’s PBX, delivering a trusted UC solution that is high performing and easily scalable.

2.   Increased automation

As the workplace continues to evolve, another major focus will be the rise of automation. Businesses need to find new ways of keeping employees efficient in all environments. Modern companies will begin to evaluate their processes to see where they can replace repetitive tasks with machines and automation.

Thanks to the rise of 5G, there have already been a lot of major shifts in the digital landscape with a focus on automation. Companies are beginning to use bots for things like data entry and managing supply chains. There’s also a rise in the number of chatbots managing customer service queries. Moving into 2021 and beyond, the presence of automation is likely to grow even further. This will allow human workers to turn their focus more to the tasks that matter most.

3.   Social wi-fi

The internet emerged as an essential tool for all businesses and consumers in 2020, driven by the demand for things like location tracking, and app access. If you run a hospitality or retail business, social Wi-Fi will allow your customers to log into your internet in exchange for their social or email details.

This technology is invaluable for collecting data about your customers and building a community that of customers and company advocates . As we look to the future, social Wi-Fi will allow companies more scope to connect with and serve their customers like never before.

In the age of track-and-trace safety where people need to order from their phones, rather than speaking to people in-person, and check-in at locations, this tech will be a real must-have.

4.   Edge AI brings intelligence to everything

Regarded by many to be the next generation for artificial intelligence, the arrival of Edge-focused Ai is a solution that helps Ai algorithms to run on a network’s edge – closer to the devices collecting data. The sudden changes in network traffic that occurred following Covid-19 lockdowns and the shift to home working will accelerate the move towards edge computing.

The benefits of edge computing will include everything from increasing efficiency, to processing information closer to the users that need it. By embedding Ai solutions at a local level, manufacturers can reduce issues with latency and accelerate insights while reducing cloud costs and usage. Connectivity expenses will also drop, as the processing part of the data locally reduces bandwidth and cell data usage.

5.   Further investment in remote device control

With employees working more frequently in remote locations, companies will need a reliable way to manage devices outside of the workplace. Remote control systems and mobility management solutions can help companies support their mobile employees securely and consistently.

Now that team members are spending more time on the road, and out of the workplace, a mobility management solution will allow you to manage mobile endpoints with ease. With the right system, you can track devices if they go missing, remotely wipe information that may be accessed by a third-party, and even update firmware for your employees.

A mobility management system can give employees access to convenient support when they have an issue with their technology. At the same time, tech professionals can remove dangerous apps and tools from work assets from a distance.

6.   Hybrid cloud takes over

For a while now, we’ve been aware that companies are increasingly making the shift to the cloud. However, not everyone wants to move to the cloud all at once. SaaS applications and on-site solutions may work together to provide companies with a more adaptable way to shift from on-site into the cloud.

Today’s companies have more freedom to experiment with the way they build their communication stacks, technology strategies, and more. You can keep some of your data centres on premise if your industry has strict rules about where you store information. There’s also the option to shift things like communication through VoIP onto the internet.

7.   Companies experiment with IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been a trending topic for a while now. The experts even say that the IoT market will be worth $1.6 trillion by 2025. As the world becomes increasingly connected, IoT promises to simplify the workplace and make our work lives more convenient. For instance, future engineers may even be able to control and troubleshoot certain machines from a distance with IoT.

There are still a few barriers for companies to consider when implementing IoT, like bandwidth restrictions and how to implement intelligent connections, but working with a vendor such as Nice Network will help to side-step these problems.

8.   5G starts to transform the world

For a while, organisations have been referencing 5G as the “next big thing” for businesses. Qualcomm even says that the 5G landscape will generate around £9.3 trillion in value by 2035. Going forward, companies won’t be able to underestimate the power of 5G. Reduced latency and better connection times will improve the way that we communicate with remote workers in a dramatic way.

5G also paves the way for better edge-computing results and IoT connections, empowering some of the other trends that are likely to appear in the years ahead. In an increasingly mobile landscape, we’ll all be more dependent on speedier connections. 5G could even help companies to experiment with things like drones and virtual reality (VR).

9.   Cybersecurity remains essential

Cybersecurity has always been a crucial consideration for companies. However, the demand for better protection and security will be greater than ever post-pandemic. Hackers have exploited the COVID pandemic to expand campaigns against companies around the world. There’s been a 600% increase in attacks on cloud servers, and a 238% increase in attacks on banks.

The increasing demand for mobile and remote working will likely make considerations about cyber security even more pressing in the years ahead. Companies will need to think about how they can prepare for the new workplace, using things like enterprise mobility management, improved password strategies, and even VPNs.

10.                 Artificial Intelligence is everywhere

Ai has been one of the most essential trends of the workplace for several years now. Today, it not only helps with automation, but assists companies in gaining and leveraging information at an incredible pace. Moving into 2021, we’ll continue to see an acceleration on the democratisation of data and Ai that began with COVID-19.

Overnight, most organisations found themselves working to create a faster solution to their problems with partners around the world. Ai, data, and machine learning became the key to creating rapid solutions to problems. The work that started in this industry during 2020 will continue in 2021, and open the door to a host of future trends.

Ai is no longer just a “possible” future trend for businesses, it’s a crucial component of the way we work and communicate.

11.                 Innovation and sustainability

Finally, the confusion and chaos of 2020 didn’t just push companies to think more carefully about how they could innovate to increase productivity. As a community, we all began looking at how we could work together to protect one another, and the planet we live on. Going forward, there’s likely to be a greater focus than ever before on sustainability and eco-friendliness.

Companies will likely begin their path to sustainability with a BYOD strategy. Most employees are working from home already, which means less need to invest in in-office tools that then need to be recycled and replaced. This reduces the risk of growing e-waste in the enterprise.

Remote working will also reduce our impact on the planet, thanks to virtual meetings and reduced travel. Investing in sustainability now will help your business to thrive and connect with clients tomorrow.

Interested in finding out how your business can prepare for life post-pandemic? Contact Nice Network today and challenge one of our experts with helping you streamline your operations.

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