Top ten tech trends for 2021 [Sponsored]

Passionate about disruptive technologies and as the CEO of Kalon Venture Partners, Clive Butkow has offered insight into the top tech trends to keep an eye on in 2021. 

Here are the top ten tech trends for 2021

Kalon Venture Partners is a registered Section 12J Venture Capital Company. 

Butkow highlights that due to the changing dynamic and development of technology, many local businesses will move towards the adoption of new technologies.  

“In 2020 the African technological landscape saw tremendous changes. However, unlike in previous years, terms such as 5G, cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and data analytics were no longer just concepts at tech conferences but became part of day-to-day business operations. Africans are increasingly looking to online digital platforms to carry out activities such as banking, shopping, and trading. As application workloads shift to the cloud, the need to protect cloud-based data increases. Many South African businesses are deploying data protection in the cloud to address this need. The migration to cloud computing, AI adoption, and digital transformation are some of the technology trends expected to increase in 2020 and beyond.”

Top ten tech trends

1.Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

“Local businesses that make use of AI technologies have managed to create a competitive advantage even though the AI market is not as ripe as it is in more developed parts of the world. As more businesses seek to improve their competitive advantage, they will venture more into AI-based business solutions and provide unique services,” explains Butkow.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have the following outcome;

  • Improved business performance
  • Using AI to enhance the customer experience 
  • Using AI to drive up revenue and sales 
  • Predict future outcomes 
  • AI as a service through tech platforms 
  • Assist with personalized education 
  • Used in everyday life, e.g., Google searches, Netflix, etc. 

2.Big Data

With a reliance on the creation and output of data, utilising it as an effective technological tool, a business is able to grow and scale its current operations.  

Some of the benefits include: 

  • Quicker and improved decision making in real-time
  • IOT Devices – more smart devices 
  • Live in a world where we need to make real-time decisions – automate data analysis 
  • Data as an asset 
  • Apps for sensing movement of people and assets 
  • Intelligent algorithms that can extract insights automatically by spotting patterns that were previously unknown 

3.Cloud Computing Revolution

When referring to the cloud computing revolution this means the storage and processing of data in a third-party data centre. 

”The Edge will be the next important shift in IT infrastructure for South African businesses. Mobility, 5G networks, AI-enabled applications, the economic demands of many markets, and IoT devices mean businesses will augment traditional core data centres with decentralised data centres, adding edge elements to their essential core. Cloud services like storage, data transmission, and computing are on the rise and shape the operations of many local enterprises. Edge won’t replace the cloud paradigm, but businesses will build on their cloud initiatives and develop new capabilities to create, process, and securely store and protect data at the edge of their enterprise networks,” comments Butkow

Access to this type of information can be critical and provide the following benefits; 

  • Gain greater flexibility and scalability – scale operations up to deliver demand real-time demand
  • Enables faster and reliable computing – revolution that we are experiencing working from home, shopping, etc. 
  • Organisations will adopt a cloud-first mentality when it comes to building or upgrading IT infrastructure.

4.Faster Networks and 5G

Referred to as the 5th generation on mobile networks, this will have a ripple effect in the tech space and result in the following;

  • Faster connectivity
  • Enables real the data sets to be analysed – wearable devices 
  • Reimagine business processes and the customer experience 
  • Enable IOT – 20-billion devices today and soon to be 200 billion connected devices 
  • Enables edge computing using mobile phones and other connected devices
  • Events industry, autonomous cars, drones, telemedicine, etc. enabled by 5G 

5.Extended Reality – Virtual Reality and Augmented Design

XR is an emerging umbrella term for all immersive technologies and refers to virtual reality and augmented design, a concept that is being implemented in a range of various industries. 

Virtual reality and augmented design can be a tool used for the following: 

  • Enhances customer experience
  • Finding better ways of selling products across e-commerce – beauty, accessories, etc. Shopping online and “trying on things” – try before you buy
  • Meetings using VR and AR with headsets creating a 3 D experience
  • Replicate the online and offline shopping experience using AR and VR:
  • Real-world is being extended into the digital world – 3D meetings 

6.Enhanced E-Commerce

Butkow has forecasted that this year an enhanced version of what we currently understand as eCommerce will arise. This will result in the following: 

  • E-commerce will continue to grow rapidly, and bricks and mortar businesses will need to integrate online and digital products and services 
  • Growth in AI to provide hyper personalised recommendations for e-commerce customers 
  • Last-mile delivery services 
  • E-commerce infrastructure layer, e.g., no-touch payments, digital marketing, etc. 
  • E-Learning platforms proliferation from school to retirement learners 

7.Cyber Security

Cybersecurity refers to the practice of defending computers, networks, and data from malicious attacks.

With the rise of technological tools, companies are having to ‘beef up’ their security to protect their valuable data through cybersecurity. 

  • Growth in digital components have created enhanced security threats and more vulnerability to cyberattacks
  • Increasing automated attacks by AI and companies need solutions to ward them off 
  • Protecting the end consumer from phishing and spoofing

8.Social Engagement

The process of communicating or engaging in an online community. It is not news that social media has taken society by storm, impacting the business sector and being a pivotal tool for business operations.

  • Enhance consumer experience: companies need to ensure they engage with customers across social media 
  • Remove automated responses and businesses require a strong presence 
  • More authentic use of social media which is not curated 
  • Engaging various influencers

9.Voice Interface and Chatbots

This can be defined as an AI-based computer program that simulates human conversations. 

The adoption of this will result in the below: 

  • Increase in users around conversational AI, in both consumer and enterprise applications 
  • Chatbots becoming more intelligent, such as; Microsoft 
  • Reducing call centre infrastructure investment 
  • Contact centre solutions to enhance customer experience 

10.Digital Platforms

A platform is a business model that creates value by facilitating exchanges between two or more interdependent groups.

The platform economy results in the following:

  • Transforms how we interact with the world – Gig economy 
  • Connecting buyers and sellers 
  • Auto insurance platforms increase user experience with mobile phones
  • Remote training and distance learning – personalized education  
  • Online financial services

This article is supplied and sponsored by Kalon Venture Partners.

Featured image: Christopher Gower via Unsplash 



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