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10 tech predictions that could mean huge changes ahead

CCS Insights published 100 tech predictions for the next few years, and the COVID-19 pandemic lurks behind many of them.

An ongoing health crisis and a global recession: even for the most attuned of analysts, the past months have brought in a load of unexpected events that have made the coming years especially difficult to envision. 

Yet research firm CCS Insights has taken up the challenge and delivered a set of 100 tech predictions for the years 2021 and beyond. The exercise is an annual one for the company, which last year anticipated, among many other things, that the next decade could see the rise of deep fake detection technology, or the adoption of domestic robots in some households. 

One year later, and many of those predictions have been affected in one way or another by the COVID-19 pandemic. "What we've seen in the last few months has completely transformed a lot of the areas we cover," Angela Ashenden, principal analyst at CCS Insights, told ZDNet. "So, many of the predictions that we've put forward this year could only have been this year."

Underpinning many of the trends that the analytics firm identified for the next few years is, unsurprisingly, the radical transformation of work that the health crisis has brought about. CCS Insights anticipates that, in 2022, more than half of all office-based employees will still mainly be working from home, while a third of large firms by then will have cut their spending on office locations by an average of 20%.

There have been plenty of reports delivering similar verdicts since the global work-from-home experiment started in March. The latest statistics from the UK's Institute of Directors, for instance, show that almost three-quarters (74%) of company directors said they would keep increased remote working even after the crisis subsides, while more than half reported that they intend to reduce the use of workplaces.

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