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Setting the year in motion: Top tech trends for 2021

Setting the year in motion: Top tech trends for 2021 

Welcome to 2021, where the outlook for the tech sector is strong. Despite severe buffeting, tech has weathered the worst of the pandemic storm and is expected to rebound with conviction. Gartner predicts global IT spend will increase 4% this year to reach $3.8 trillion, and that the biggest growth categories will be enterprise software due to the acceleration of digitalisation, along with data centre systems.

UK businesses that have been cautious – not just because of the pandemic but also because of Brexit – will finally be able to see a clear path forward and will ramp up their tech investment. According to Gartner, “Moving forward, digital transformation will not be subject to the same ROI justification it was pre-pandemic as the mandate for IT becomes business survival, rather than growth.”

As a tech PR agency, GingerMay benefits from unique insight into the technology landscape and, in the next 12 months, we expect to see a variety of emerging and nascent technologies finally coming to fruition. Here are three of the trends we predict will feature prominently on the tech agenda in 2021.

Acceleration of digital transformation

Last year saw more digital transformation than the whole of the last decade, and its acceleration at scale will continue to be one of the key tech trends for 2021. Most people will be glad to get back to face-to-face contact and real-life events as soon as it is safe to do so. But the advances in connected living brought about by the pandemic will endure, and will continue to flourish over the coming months.

Technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have really come into their own, enabling immersive and interactive digital experiences for locked-down consumers. Blippar, for instance, made history by delivering the world’s first product launch entirely in AR, introducing the OnePlus Nord smartphone to hundreds of thousands of consumers across the globe. The future of the VR and AR sector looks formidable, with IDC estimating a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost 77%, to create a market worth over $136 billion by 2024.

Other areas that will continue to thrive include technologies relating to ecommerce, which now accounts for over 30% of total retail sales in the UK, and those linked to remote working, with Zoom one of the best performing tech stocks of 2020. Sectors that have delivered entertainment and distraction – including gaming, esports and video streaming – will continue to accelerate. The fintech sector will also experience further growth, as financial institutions get more comfortable with artificial intelligence and automation, and consumers demand more flexible services and payment options. All of these developments will be underpinned by rapid advances in connectivity, with 5G already available in over 100 UK towns and cities and ready to enable new technical capabilities.

A push for carbon neutrality

The pandemic has inadvertently accelerated the debate on carbon neutrality and climate change by dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which are down 13% in the UK year-on-year. As governments kick-start economic recovery and businesses get back on track, they must be careful not to reverse this positive change and to continue on the path to carbon neutrality. The UK Government has already set ambitious targets to reduce the country’s emissions at least 68% by 2030 – compared to 1990 levels – while ultimately aiming for net zero emissions by 2050.

Technology can play a key role in reducing carbon emissions through more efficient use of energy and natural resources, the ability to assess the environmental impact of business activities, and the introduction of more sustainable business practices. Many of the tech giants have already committed to sustainability targets, with Microsoft planning to be carbon negative by 2050, removing as much carbon from the environment as it has emitted since 1975. Apple is committed to carbon neutral supply chains and products by 2030, while Amazon will be net zero carbon across the business by 2040.

But it won’t just be the big tech companies driving sustainability. Any innovative technologies that help businesses reduce their carbon footprint and streamline corporate commitments to sustainability will see a surge in interest and investment over the coming year.

Cookieless advertising technology

In the advertising technology sector specifically, the depreciation of third-party tracking cookies will be a key driver of change this year. Although some browsers already block cookies, Google Chrome – which accounts for almost two-thirds of worldwide browser market share – is expected to withdraw support by 2022, meaning this is the year the industry must find a viable alternative. There are a number of solutions in the pipeline, including a promising community-owned, open-source identifier from Prebid known as SharedID.

In an adtech market that’s already heating up following the Pubmatic IPO at the end of last year, this quest for alternatives to the cookie is likely to drive mergers and acquisitions activity in the space. A recent Business Insider article predicting which ad tech companies could be hot acquisition targets for 2021, focussed on providers specialising in identity or cross-media measurement that have a solution for cookie depreciation. As Matt Prohaska of Prohaska Consulting explained, “Any company that has decent methodology in a post-cookie world with some liquidity around having a stable of buyers or sellers will be in high demand.”

With multiple factors coming together to build momentum in 2021, the tech sector will be a dynamic and competitive environment. To find out more about the PR services GingerMay can offer B2B tech providers to help them stand out from the crowd, please get in touch at hello@teamgingermay.com.

Welcome to 2021, where the outlook for the tech sector is strong. Despite severe buffeting, tech has weathered the worst of the pandemic storm and is expected to rebound with conviction. Gartner predicts global IT spend will increase 4% this year to reach $3.8 trillion, and that the biggest growth categories will be enterprise software due to the acceleration of digitalisation, along with data centre systems.

UK businesses that have been cautious – not just because of the pandemic but also because of Brexit – will finally be able to see a clear path forward and will ramp up their tech investment. According to Gartner, “Moving forward, digital transformation will not be subject to the same ROI justification it was pre-pandemic as the mandate for IT becomes business survival, rather than growth.”

As a tech PR agency, GingerMay benefits from unique insight into the technology landscape and, in the next 12 months, we expect to see a variety of emerging and nascent technologies finally coming to fruition. Here are three of the trends we predict will feature prominently on the tech agenda in 2021.

Acceleration of digital transformation

Last year saw more digital transformation than the whole of the last decade, and its acceleration at scale will continue to be one of the key tech trends for 2021. Most people will be glad to get back to face-to-face contact and real-life events as soon as it is safe to do so. But the advances in connected living brought about by the pandemic will endure, and will continue to flourish over the coming months.

Technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have really come into their own, enabling immersive and interactive digital experiences for locked-down consumers. Blippar, for instance, made history by delivering the world’s first product launch entirely in AR, introducing the OnePlus Nord smartphone to hundreds of thousands of consumers across the globe. The future of the VR and AR sector looks formidable, with IDC estimating a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost 77%, to create a market worth over $136 billion by 2024.

Other areas that will continue to thrive include technologies relating to ecommerce, which now accounts for over 30% of total retail sales in the UK, and those linked to remote working, with Zoom one of the best performing tech stocks of 2020. Sectors that have delivered entertainment and distraction – including gaming, esports and video streaming – will continue to accelerate. The fintech sector will also experience further growth, as financial institutions get more comfortable with artificial intelligence and automation, and consumers demand more flexible services and payment options. All of these developments will be underpinned by rapid advances in connectivity, with 5G already available in over 100 UK towns and cities and ready to enable new technical capabilities.

A push for carbon neutrality

The pandemic has inadvertently accelerated the debate on carbon neutrality and climate change by dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which are down 13% in the UK year-on-year. As governments kick-start economic recovery and businesses get back on track, they must be careful not to reverse this positive change and to continue on the path to carbon neutrality. The UK Government has already set ambitious targets to reduce the country’s emissions at least 68% by 2030 – compared to 1990 levels – while ultimately aiming for net zero emissions by 2050.

Technology can play a key role in reducing carbon emissions through more efficient use of energy and natural resources, the ability to assess the environmental impact of business activities, and the introduction of more sustainable business practices. Many of the tech giants have already committed to sustainability targets, with Microsoft planning to be carbon negative by 2050, removing as much carbon from the environment as it has emitted since 1975. Apple is committed to carbon neutral supply chains and products by 2030, while Amazon will be net zero carbon across the business by 2040.

But it won’t just be the big tech companies driving sustainability. Any innovative technologies that help businesses reduce their carbon footprint and streamline corporate commitments to sustainability will see a surge in interest and investment over the coming year.

Cookieless advertising technology

In the advertising technology sector specifically, the depreciation of third-party tracking cookies will be a key driver of change this year. Although some browsers already block cookies, Google Chrome – which accounts for almost two-thirds of worldwide browser market share – is expected to withdraw support by 2022, meaning this is the year the industry must find a viable alternative. There are a number of solutions in the pipeline, including a promising community-owned, open-source identifier from Prebid known as SharedID.

In an ad tech market that’s already heating up following the Pubmatic IPO at the end of last year, this quest for alternatives to the cookie is likely to drive mergers and acquisitions activity in the space. A recent Business Insider article predicting which ad tech companies could be hot acquisition targets for 2021, focussed on providers specialising in identity or cross-media measurement that have a solution for cookie depreciation. As Matt Prohaska of Prohaska Consulting explained, “Any company that has decent methodology in a post-cookie world with some liquidity around having a stable of buyers or sellers will be in high demand.”

With multiple factors coming together to build momentum in 2021, the tech sector will be a dynamic and competitive environment. To find out more about the PR services GingerMay can offer B2B tech providers to help them stand out from the crowd, please get in touch at hello@teamgingermay.com.

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