Another year, another blog article about the latest technology trends. But 2020 was somewhat different – for starters, it was a blur – days, weeks, months all started blending together into one – it was January, February, March, and then the rest of the year.
And secondly, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated technology in a way we have never seen before! Because let’s face it, COVID-19 forced businesses to adjust not by choice, but by necessity. If you’re a local restaurant and you weren’t on Grab Foods, FoodPanda, Deliveroo or any delivery platform, you are now. If you’re a business that had never considered working remotely before, chances are you’re now fully or partially remote. And if you’re an enterprise organization with thousands or even tens of thousands of employees and you had been thinking about investing more in your own internal technologies, COVID-19 has most likely made that decision for you.
Major disruptions — whether it be a pandemic, an unstable economy or the shifting of a major industry — always reveal opportunities for technology to advance society forward. For instance, in 2020 alone, videoconferencing went from being a slightly stigmatized form of work communication to our everyday standard.
So here are some other technology trends to watch out for in the new year as we get used to the “new normal”:
#1: 5G Will Go Mainstream
5G is something that has already been made available in Singapore, but will become more accessible in 2021. I mean, if you are planning on getting the new iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro, you will definitely be using 5G for those devices!
This is because COVID-19 has made it more necessary and urgent for a reliable and fast connection. With most of the workforce working from home or remotely now with split team arrangements or only going into the office once or twice a week, such digital collaboration and videoconferencing tools have become a part of our lives. Hence, the value of 5G will therefore skyrocket in 2021!
#2: Smart Work from Home Technologies
COVID-19 has shifted the way we do things and carry out business. Initially, it would be radical to allow employees to work from home on a large scale. Even when employees were asking for enhanced work flexibility, it was never to be.
Yet, with lockdowns and restrictions in place, this has forced the world to think differently, and accept employees working from home. In fact, many businesses have resigned to the fact that such work-from-home policy might even outlast the pandemic! We have seen many tech giants extending the work from home flexibility to their staff. Some like Twitter have even given their employees the option of working from home entirely for the rest of their working careers.
And part of what made all this a reality is the deployment of smart work from home tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Such apps have witnessed massive usage over the past few months, and this is expected to continue even in 2021.
#3: Artificial Intelligence
AI has continued to improve operations for many companies and businesses. The pandemic even made its usage more common. AI, data, and machine learning have played an unmatched role during this coronavirus period.
We have seen how AI has helped in the suggestions customers get when shopping on Amazon, or even when they are watching movies on Netflix. More companies will benefit from AI since the cloud continues to enable access to the rising computing power, software, and frameworks. It’s estimated that 45% of companies using artificial intelligence have increased their total spend per customer.
#4: Wearable Technology
Wearables have been on the rise for the past five years or so. But the whole narrative changed in March when, suddenly, people could no longer go to the gym. Companies then started defining our “new normal,” and at-home athletics became synonymous with smart workout devices, wearables, and remote competitions and leaderboards — with everyone tuning in from their living rooms.
According to a Gartner report, consumer spending on wearable technology will double by 2021. And if you’ve been following Apple’s innovation closely, then you already know the company is set to debut its first augmented reality headset in 2022 — with the goal of replacing the phone in your pocket with a pair of glasses. Imagine that!
#5: Digital Health
Healthcare is known for being a slower-to-adjust industry in regards to technology, but after being so heavily accelerated over the past year due to COVID-19, the innovation here is no longer a choice — it’s a necessity.
A terrific report by the World Health Organization explains what the next five years of digital health innovation can look like and what the industry’s strategy should be for utilizing these new technologies: “The vision of the global strategy is to improve health for everyone, everywhere by accelerating the development and adoption of appropriate, affordable, scalable, and sustainable digital health solutions.” This includes smart and connected devices, advanced computing, big data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics. For instance, the newest polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test allows for faster COVID-19 testing!
Hence, if there’s one thing the COVID-19 pandemic has shown society at large, it’s how quickly we can adapt, innovate and create when we need to. And as technology continues to embed itself into every facet of our everyday lives, our “new normal” will continue to evolve faster and faster.
Want to read more about what other technology trends to watch out for in 2021? Click here to read Gartner’s top strategic technology trends for 2021!
This article is brought to you by eVantage Technology.