While many businesses are still reeling from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has continued to evolve at a steady pace. Cloud applications and eCommerce technologies were particularly popular, largely because remote work is now the new norm for most businesses.
This year, we expect technology to continue providing new opportunities for businesses across every industry sector. Here are the top trends that are likely to affect businesses in a significant way in 2021.
Artificial intelligence (AI)
Without AI, it would be extremely difficult to carry out complex calculations based on the huge amounts of data we now collect. This has implications on so many big decisions across society, from how we manage healthcare and the spread of the infection during this crisis to larger spending trends and resource allocation.
Machine learning algorithms often make giant strides every few months and they get better and better at finding answers that we didn’t know we could even look for. Whether it leads to more efficient logistics and distribution or access to new insights, AI is going to become more accessible to individuals and businesses as a powerful tool for forecasting, analytics, and much more.
Work from home (WFH) technology
Considering strict social distancing regulations throughout the United States, businesses had to experiment with a plethora of services and products to remain productive and competitive even if their employees could not leave their homes. Cloud solutions for communications, project management, collaboration, and other purposes saw unprecedented levels of adoption and many people got their first taste of working from home.
Companies such as Microsoft and Google continued to provide new features and support to their cloud-based products and services. This new trend has seen the total upheaval of numerous business models, with a significant number of companies switching to the cloud as their model in the future as well. Some folks are even considering making remote work a more permanent arrangement , which they can do, thanks to cloud technology. This offers massive benefits including lower travel costs, work flexibility, and increased productivity.
Automation and robots
While automation and robotics are not new trends by any means, the deployment of some of these ideas and their timelines have changed dramatically. Telemedicine and the use of robots to provide direct care has safeguarded many doctors from exposure while maintaining life-saving medical procedures for patients who needed them.
Autonomous vehicles continue to take steps forward while large automakers continue to add AI features to new vehicles to make driving easier and safer. Drones are going to continue evolving and drone delivery is closer to becoming a viable option. Expect even more in 2021 as health and safety concerns continue to accelerate the increase of automation and robotics around the world.
Technology has always been a measuring stick for human progress but telecommunications advances are where people feel the changes the most. The move from 2G to 3G resulted in the feature phone making way for the smartphone, but the jump from 3G to 4G had major impacts on various aspects of human life because of what this allowed people to do.
The latter was so tangible and stark that if you switched over, there was no turning back. 5G has the same tantalizing potential as 4G once did and it outperforms 4G at the same exponential rate that 4G improved on 3G. We’ve seen it roll out in some parts of the world but it hasn’t truly been unlocked yet, and 2021 is going to see more adoption of this new technology.
VR and AR
VR feels like it has been around for such a long time now but it was never more accessible than it was in 2020. The various headsets, programs, features, and games have made VR a much richer and fuller experience. Similarly, AR helps us see things in our spaces and surroundings unlike ever before, and it has moved from a mere gimmick to useful tool. For instance, IKEA apps with AR have helped shoppers imagine how products would fit in their homes.
Do you want to stay ahead of the technology trends that are driving business and society in 2021? Contact our IT specialists at NetQuest today to see how we can help transform your IT and your business.