Breaking News! It’s the middle of December and COVID is still here.

This is hardly a surprise! Pick up any paper, or however you consume your news and it is front and centre. What has been pushed aside in the normal news cycle at this time of year? That’s right, retrospectives on the year that’s been, which in 2020 will depend largely on where in the world you find yourself.

Historians will look back and have copious material to comment on when it comes to 2020. While I could add to the commentary, instead a look forward to the year ahead seems more appropriate in what is traditionally a season of hope and new beginnings.

The Tech Industry, responsible for driving many significant cultural changes in recent times is often itself resistant to change. They say “necessity is the mother of invention”. What 2020 has demonstrated is that when pushed, the industry has responded in all manner of ways.

Take for example conferences and trade shows. Once the goto for companies to show off their latest innovations, collaborate, network and generate leads. Quite rightly shuttered with no international travel and ‘super spreader’ now part of common vocabulary. However these important functions are still required. Enter the virtual conference, which admittedly feels different but fulfils the basic requirements as well as bringing new benefits.

So here are some predictions on what next year will hold:

  • The number of disruptors will grow strongly. So many long held traditions have been interrupted, so many jobs have been lost. In the same way that a wild fire causes devastation, it also is an important precursor to new green shoots.
  • Versatility will be key. While COVID 19 vaccines are now rolling out, uncertainty and the need for sudden changes to plans will be the norm for some time yet. Those companies that can quickly ‘pivot’ to smooth out the bumps and take advantage of opportunities will do well.
  • Fundamental change will have occurred. The trend of high tech worker migration prioritising quality of life over high cost / density cities will continue. The result …. changes to architecture, city growth, distribution of political opinion, and uniformity of public works investment.

And perhaps more of a hope than a prediction:

  • A company we have never heard of applies AI and ML to the audio portion of Skype/Zoom/Webex/Teams/Meet/etc. After fixing the mute button problem they become the next billion dollar unicorn!

This coming season means many different things for different people around the world. For me it is a time to take a break, shovel snow, and spend time with family… something I have done more than usual this year. Contrast that with my ASTC colleagues down in Australia where the traditions are similar, just adapted for summer.

Whatever this time means for you, we hope that you get the chance to have a refreshing break after the year that was 2020.