Welcome to the September 2021 edition of Top Conversations in Technology, where we break down which topics are leading, rising and falling each month to help technology marketers maximize relevance and adapt to changing market dynamics. In this month’s analysis, we focus on variations in news and blog citation volumes month-over-month (versus August 2021) and year-over-year (versus September 2020).
Big Picture: As someone who is already panic-buying holiday gifts, I can tell you I’m not super surprised that September discussions were all about Supply Chain. The topic gained 35% in coverage volume and moved up to #3 in the rankings (behind only the forever-hot topics of #1 Cryptocurrencies and #2 Bitcoin). That’s its highest point in our 33 months of analysis. Let me say that again in another way: Supply Chain reached its highest point in market and media conversation since the pandemic began. Apparently, Santa’s toy shop delivery issues outpace even the great toilet paper and hand sanitizer shortage of 2020.
Leading Topics: There were more shifts in the top 10 than we’ve seen in recent months, but some topics held their ground. #1 Cryptocurrencies (up 2%) and #2 Bitcoin (down 2%) remained at the top thanks to everyone’s insatiable appetite for NFT gossip and crypto-opportunities for the masses. #6 E-commerce (down 5%) held firm in the spot it has held since April. #7 Drones (up 3%) and #8 Misinformation (up 16%) also held their respective rankings from August into September.
Meanwhile, Supply Chain jumped to #3, bumping #4 Smartphone (up 6%) and #5 Blockchain (down 2%) down in the rankings. #9 5G (up 14%) and #10 Artificial Intelligence (up 15%) each moved up one spot, pushing Cybersecurity down to #11 and out of the top 10 for the first time since April.
Moving further into the Top 20, #14 Video Conferencing (down from #12) and #24 Contact Tracing (down from #18) lost ground. #19 Open Source (up from #21) and #20 Layoffs/Furloughs (up from #22) gained ground. The latter may seem surprising but was fueled by discussions about the impact of initial pandemic layoffs, especially for truck drivers, and the current inability to move cargo.
What’s Climbing: Only 11 topics showed 50+ percent gains from August to September, and only three of them ranked in the top 100. These included #91 Identity Management (up 56%), #58 Workplace Safety (up 53%) and #92 Supply Chain Sustainability (up 52%). The biggest gains were in the low-ranking topics:
- #185 Serverless Platform – up 254%
- #192 Thermal Monitoring – up 141%
- #183 Humane Technology – up 106%
The highest-ranking topic with a substantial gain was #3 Supply Chain, but it is interesting to note that the average gain overall in top 25 topics only 9%. That said, other higher-ranking gainers included:
- #78 Election Security – up 42%
- #45 Facial Recognition – up 36%
- #49 Metaverse – up 34%
What’s Falling: Nearly half of the topics analyzed (89 of 195) decreased in citation volume from August to September (up from 67 of 195 last month). Seven topics registered drops greater than 50%, all of which ranked lower than 160. This included:
- #161 Identity Protection – down 78%
- #195 Business Services Management – down 75%
- #194 Utility Computing – down 67%
- #189 Everything-as-a-Service/XaaS– down 64%
- #187 Asynchronous Video – down 63%
- #171 Video Messaging – down 61%
- #193 Voice Interface – down 52%
The average loss in top 25 topics was 5%, with the biggest drop seen in #24 Contact Tracing (down 19%) and #14 Video Conferencing (down 11%). Substantial losses for top-100 topics in September included:
- #74 Security Operations/SecOps – down 40%
- #88 Supercomputer(s) – down 23%
- #30 Big Data – down 21%
- #48 Data Breach – down 20%
Looking Ahead: As September rolled into October, Supply Chain woes intensified. President Biden enacted federal legislation to help alleviate port congestion and get cargo rolling, all while unemployment soars and goods sit waiting to be available (to procrastinators maybe?). The question is what kind of rebound will E-commerce have heading into the holidays, and will there be a means to deliver the purchased items? My recommendation: Buy your coffee and holiday party booze now, as prices won’t be going down any time soon and supply may end up being as dry as January.
Questions? Comments? See a topic we are not tracking? Please share below, and we will address in future installments.