10 Technology Related Predictions for 2021

1. Chatbots will become mainstream.

In 2021, expect to see chatbots in most new vehicles, at the doctor’s office, and taking your order in fast food restaurants. We will see chatbots enabled with the ability to initiate financial transactions such as car payments, credit card payments, insurance payments, and house payments.

Don’t be surprised if your first job interview with a company is with a chatbot. Companies will realize they can screen more candidates, then apply AI technology to help them identify people that are a good fit for the company.  We should see some organizations start using chatbots to help in their screening process when evaluating candidates.

2. Government Agencies will perfect their IT asset management strategies.

In 2021, we will see government agencies perfect their IT asset management strategies. We should see more of an integrated approach that aligns IT suppliers and IT services with IT asset inventories. Government agencies have realized that IT asset management is a critical component for many government programs using a continuous diagnostics and mitigation approach to cyber security. As a result, most government cyber security programs are now listing IT asset management in their requirements for cyber security compliance.

IT asset management requirements could impact how government agencies make technology acquisitions in the future. This will be an interesting area to watch going forward.

3. AI Regulation will be introduced to ensure responsible AI development.

In 2021, we should see new government regulation for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in order to promote responsible AI innovation, to protect consumer privacy, to ensure fairness with non-bias AI development, to protect AI intellectual properties, and to ensure consumer safety.

4. Wider adoption of AI unsupervised learning modules.

In 2021 we will see AI unsupervised learning algorithms introduced into big data projects as well as AIOps. Unsupervised learning algorithms give AI the ability to “venture outside the box.” As AI machine learning ventures beyond predefined parameters, structures, or labels, unexpected or unknown data that impact results will be exposed that would not have otherwise been exposed.   

Unsupervised learning algorithms will process and categorize structured and unstructured data at a pace we have not experienced in the past. Anomalies and unknown data structures will be identified and labeled, giving an advantage to those using this type of machine learning technology over those who don’t.

Unsupervised learning algorithms will enhance network monitoring solutions in the area of performance management. Unsupervised machine learning modules will be able to identify patterns and anomalies impacting performance that were not considered by the developers who created the ML solution.

5. A shift to full process automation vs isolated task automation.

In 2021, many organizations will shift their focus to enterprise level automation versus individual task automation.  These automation strategies will be driven by business objectives, not technology.  Competition will drive organizations towards full process automation that will be made possible with updated programmable fabrics, integrated consoles, and new automation tools.

6. Cloud Infrastructure will become much more decentralized.

In 2021, we will see cloud innovation move away from centralized cloud data centers to distributed cloud computing solutions in order to reduce costs and increase performance. The influx of IoT into mainstream business will drive cloud computing to the edge, where most of the data will be created and processed. According to Gartner, “by 2022, more than 50% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside the data center or cloud.”  

Edge Computing along with 5G will propel the gaming industry to new heights, allowing developers to create real-time lightning-speed AR and VR experiences for gamers like never before.

7. Wide spread adoption of Augmented Reality (AR).

In 2021, we will see the wide spread adoption of Augmented Reality (AR) as new products are released in several key markets, such as health and fitness, business collaboration that accommodates the remote worker, and a very competitive gaming industry

When everything shut down in early 2020 because of Covid 19, people had to change the way they conducted business, the way they exercised, and the way they interacted with their friends and family. This has created an opportunity for companies to create solutions to meet the needs of a new world in which we live. Fueled by a social distance culture and facilitated by technology such as 5G, distributed cloud computing with edge technology, Artificial Intelligence with enhanced Machine Learning (ML), and a very competitive gaming industry, we will witness Augmented Reality take off in 2021 when many new AR products hit the market across several industries.   

8. More than 50% of IT Service Management (ITSM) tickets will be initiated through self-service portals. 

According to a survey published on happysignals.com, only 30% of incidents were initiated through self-service portals from May 2019 to November 2019.

In 2021, We will see more than 50% of help desk tickets initiated through self-service portals because of improved self-service technology upgrades that provide relevant knowledge articles, improved search capabilities, intelligent chatbots, sophisticated back-end processes, friendlier easy-to-use interfaces, and new self-assessment capabilities with self-healing features. Increased usage of self-service portals will be fueled by organizations as a way to cut costs in addition to an influx of Gen Z employees joining workforce

9. More than 30% of IT Service Management (ITSM) tickets will be resolved without human intervention. 

In September 2019, Gartner claimed that “time-consuming live interactions, even when only one step in the resolution journey, mean that resolution will cost 80 to 100 times more than a fully self-service fix.”  

Historically, the problem for many organizations is that only a small percentage of their incident cases could be investigated and resolved without human intervention. In that same Gartner report, Gartner claimed that “surveyed service leaders report that as much as 40% of today’s live volume could be resolved in self-service channels.”

In 2021, we will see self-service incident resolutions not involving a human analyst jump from around 10% to 30% as new innovated self-healing technology powered with AI and machine learning (ML) are introduced to the network and integrated into the service management platform. 

10. Amazon will lose market share to a new fierce competitor.

Over the past decade, Amazon has dominated online retail with unbeatable prices and a streamlined distribution model. Over the past year, Amazon stock has increased by more than 79% and they were listed as the 28th largest company in the world by Forbes. So who could possibly challenge such a dominant player in online retail? How about the 29th largest company in the world, Walmart.

Shares of Walmart jumped 6.3% when they unveiled their new online subscription program in September 2020.  If executed properly, Walmart is positioned to steal market share away from Amazon in 2021.  Amazon has a fine-tuned model for distributing and delivering products to consumers, however 90% of people in the United States live within 10 miles of a Walmart store. Walmart could dominate Amazon with “same day delivery” and “store pick-up” options for almost everybody in the Country. In 2021, online retail will become extremely competitive as Amazon faces this new fierce competitor.

-follow me on Twitter @marcelshaw

About Marcel Shaw 61 Articles
Marcel Shaw is a technology blogger focusing on ITSM, ITAM, and Endpoint Management at marcelshaw.com. Marcel has worked as technical consultant for more than 25 years for industry leading IT companies with a focus on United States government agencies. Marcel's experience also includes working as a legal expert witness for IT management. Marcel writes about industry technology trends and best practices. He incorporates his views and his many years of experience to provide unique technology advice for people that manage and support IT solutions. Marcel Shaw graduated from Brigham Young University in 1991. Marcel has worked in both pre-sales and post-sales roles for companies such as Softsolutions, Novell, Dell, Softricity, Gateway, Landesk, and Ivanti. Marcel’s expertise and experience include networking technologies (LAN, WAN), IP infrastructure. Internet Caching technology, Storage and Fibre technology (SAN), Security Standards and Technologies, Document Management, Directory Services (NDS, AD, LDAP), Federal Security Standards and Requirements (DIACAP, FDCC, USGCB), ITIL, Asset Management (ITAM), endpoint Management, and endpoint security. Marcel has worked extensively with United States federal agencies solving IT problems. These agencies include USDA, NIST, FDA, DEA, DHS, FBI, DHA, Whitehouse Communications, Army, Air Force, Navy, Joint Task Force, NIH, Social Security Administration, IRS, NOAA, and FAA among others. All of Marcel's posts are edited by Carrie Shaw (@carrieshaw). She is not only a very good editor, but a great wife. Thank You