Future IT trends: what to expect in tech in 2021
It’s no secret that 2020 has been a tough year all over. From Covid-19, to Brexit negotiations and everything in between – it’s not been short of challenges. So with such an unpredictable year behind us, now’s the time to look ahead to 2021.
If there was one word that sums up the last 12 months, it has to be ‘unprecedented’. Never before have businesses worldwide had to adapt so rapidly. With more workers than ever now working remotely, this has undoubtedly had a knock on effect on how we interact with our workforce. But now the genie is out of that bottle, will it be so easy to return to the traditional office 9-5?
Statistics throughout the year have shown that workers no longer wish to be tied to their offices like they used to be. Some are opting to work a system of part-time home and part time office while others are refusing to return to the office altogether. How will this affect the tech trends of 2021?
VoIP and video conferencing
“Can you hear me? Now I can hear you – can you hear me? Now I can’t see you – are you still there? I think you’re muted…”
Sound familiar? The start of the pandemic saw a massive boost in the use of video conferencing platforms such as Zoom. Riddled with safety and security issues, businesses flocked to these platforms to keep their workforce connected whilst they worked from home. And who can blame them? A shining solution in a panic fuelled March, these relatively low-cost platforms seemed like the perfect solution for an uncertain problem. However, it quickly became apparent that it wasn’t necessarily a long term option.
Fraught with security issues, plagued by trolls and ‘Zoom-bombing’ – many found themselves looking into a longer term business telephony option.
VoIP (standing for Voice over Internet Protocol) has been around for a lot longer than you might think. Often misunderstood, VoIP is a well-established technology in the world of telephony. With more plans moving to cloud-based telephony and the ISDN switch off due in 2025 – VoIP systems are fast becoming the new normal.
Flexibility, security, and in-built disaster recovery ensures that you can connect to your telephony system no matter where you’re working from. As long as you have access to a computer or smart device and a Wi-Fi or 4G connection – you’re connected. Better still, it’s ability to be customised entirely around your business needs for a fraction of a cost. It’s surprising that it took a worldwide pandemic for it to come to prominence.
As well as it’s connectivity, customisation and affordability – VoIP is quickly becoming the industry standard for businesses big and small, and 2021 will definitely see it continue to rise.
Hybrid cloud Infrastructure and the boom in remote working practices.
At the start of 2020, many employees were working from the office as there wasn’t the infrastructure in place to work anywhere else. Whether it was a lack of hardware or the appropriate access to systems, COVID19 and it’s lockdowns forced the hands of many businesses to jump to a new way of working far sooner than they had anticipated. Many of those reactive decisions were made with the understanding that life might return to normal, but with the rollout of the new vaccine across the UK, it’s uncertain when it will be totally safe to return to work.
With 2021 looking a little brighter than its predecessor, it will give businesses the space to breathe and assess where the pitfalls lie in their disaster recovery. This is the perfect time to start assessing processes, procedures and infrastructure capabilities. Whether it’s investing in mobile and cloud capable tech, or reviewing the policies surrounding remote working – a holistic view of IT infrastructures is going to be a must for everyone post-pandemic.
Safety and security
One of the biggest pitfalls of reactive working in 2020 was the breakdown of data security. There’s only so much you can prepare for in your policies and procedures, and a worldwide pandemic certainly wasn’t on our bingo card at the start of the year.
From workers using their home systems to process sensitive information to companies without access to VPN remote desktops – there have been some true horror stories. Massive fines aside, the danger to your business by using unsecure channels and unsafe data management is much more harmful than you might expect.
According to Forbes “a 238% rise in attacks on banks, and a 600% increase in attacks on cloud servers was observed from January to April 2020 alone”. With more of our workforce working remotely, the likelihood of your business falling victim to a cybercrime or data breach isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.
2021 will likely see the rise of new and improved security systems. But why wait for the industry to lead the way? By reviewing all of your security protocols and maintaining a high level of reporting and training for your staff, you’re already over the first hurdle. Once you’ve identified any holes in your procedures, gaps in staff training or general hiccups that could become massive headaches – you’re in the position to adapt, update, or even upgrade. Starting the year with strong cyber-security really will set you up for a stronger 2021.
Shrouded in mystery and fuelled by conspiracy theories, 5G is set to roll out and become the situation normal for the UK in 2021. With a lot of criticism and confusion as to the necessity of a mainstream 5G network, COVID19 made it quite apparent that the current infrastructures and 4G network that we have come to rely on are still not quite up to speed with our needs and expectations.
The mainstream roll out of 5G could be the difference for many businesses, and could give access to millions more meaning that remote working becomes a safer and more secure option for businesses across the UK.
With tech that is 5G-ready having been on the market for some time, you’d be forgiven for thinking that your systems are already ahead of the game. However, there will be updates to systems that might take a while to get your head around. Whether it’s how it will boost your business, or if it is going to render your old ways obsolete – now is the time to be wrapping our heads around how 5G is going to change our practices, and what we can do to prepare.
So what will 2021 look like?
Who knows! Sadly we haven’t found a reliable crystal ball, but with the boom in remote working and cloud-based practises over the past year, we have so much more room for expansion. Believe it or not – we are still in the early days of all of these daily practices, so who can predict where we might find ourselves next year?
The great news is that we’re here to help you find your way through 2021 and beyond. If you think that your IT infrastructure could use a review, or you want more eyes on your policies, get in touch. From cyber-security to upgrading systems; whatever your concern, we’ve got your back. For more information, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.