New year, new tech expectancies. As we step into 2021, our horizons and future plans are bult on different metrics set by the previous not so good year. Technology has said its word and power in the world. Now we can guide our hopes according to its pace because we can count on it like never before.Let’s take a look into what to expect from tech in 2021 based on the trends set by how technology impacted last year.
1. Elementary is the new essential
Since last spring our devices’ duties were updated from helping companions to office, networking and social suppliments. The ways we use them slightly changed. The regular phone screen that we used to regard as an escape, a chatting portal or an innocent distraction in a long meeting turned to the meeting place itself. This is why simple apps turned into essential tools. Notes, weather apps and timers were peaking at the beginning of lockdown due to the need for better planning.
For starters, let’s take social media apps like Whatsapp, Facebook or Facetime, the latter coming as default apps on some phones. 2020 was about social distancing so the social aspect was compensated through messenger as well as delivery and entertanment apps. Now that the new normal is here, the trends will shift to transport apps such as Uber but soon enough AirBnB will be back in the preferences, expects Net Solutions.
2. There’s no going back to cash payments
Cash or card has been the choice to make since the ‘50s when card payment begun but now the choice is wider yet simpler. It’s just contactless. The pandemic and the need to keep our hands sanitised have pushed card payment to the skies even in places that used to be cash-only. Farmers’ markets, countryside merchants, craftsmen and most small business are embracing card payments and this is only the beginning.
In 2021, card payments are supposed to raise even further than last year’s growth of 9%, according to Visa and Mastercard. Get ready for more digital payments with wearables, sound-wave besed and voice based payments this year.
3. Trust in chatbots raises
As well as one’s openness to customer relations calls, our openness to chatbots will touch new levels this year. From finding the right shoe size on a fashion website to asking a frequent question, chatbots will be in charge. And people trust them with such matters. According to Chatbots Magazine, 69% of consumers already prefer chatbots because of their ability to provide quick replies to simple questions. Any small business can use a basic chatbot on their Facebook business page or website. So step by step, this technology is expanding and will be widely adopted in 2021. Outgrow predicts that 80% of businesses are projected to integrate some form of chatbot system by 2021.
4. AR comes into our lives seamlessly
We’ve all heard of augmented reality but when was the last time you’ve used it? May it be for entertainment purposes, on platforms such as Snapchat or Instagram. May it be for commercial purposes: trying on glasses on a website. The latest Apple and Android phones have the capacity to detect a room’s depth in order to allow users to place furniture in their homes in AR.
It is an easy to use and increasingly accessible tool to in 2021 we can expect advertising to take advantage of this format. According to eMarketer, the ad budgets invested in AR are expected to grow with 71% compared to last year.
5. Wi-Fi is getting a boost
The pandemic taught us that the internet connection at home care be unreliable and it’s easy to understand why. If in 2018 the number of internet-connected devices per person was two, Cisco expects a raise to up to four by 2023. But what about the devices from work?
When working from home, the number of internet-connected devices of one person doubles so how much can a Wi-Fi router take? Luckily, 2021 is the year when the 2019 technology of Wi-Fi 6 will get more popular. This networking standard a new networking standard is better at providing bandwidth to more devices at the same time instead of allowing one device to put monopoly the network. So it’s not about the speed but the improved share of network for all connected devices. The routers wit Wi-Fi 6 are yet to come this year.
6. The era of contactless experiences
If we pay contactless then why don’t we replace all contacts with the appropriate technology? Using radio waves to detect objects precisely and allow for distance payments in a café, restaurant or library. This technology was firstly introduced on smartphones two years ago but hasn’ t been used much until now. Like the IOS technology that knows when two users are looking for the same password, so will a POS know you’re around it and send a notification on your phone.
7. Visual recreation
If in 2020 everything strived to digitalize and accommodate work from home, in 2021 the focus will shift to digitalizing the way we stay healthy. Expect virtual reality recreation spaces accessible with VR headsets. Facebook’s VR division, Oculus, is planning to bring relaxation in VR to the reopening offices. Microsoft’s AltspaceVR allows for hologram meetings so there will be a VR time at any moment of one’s day in 2021.
8. Tech is getting more natural
This year is expecting to be the time of cognitive intelligence, as Sony calls it. A new technology for TV screens is coming and it allows for superior immersive sound experience. These outsmart the regular AI capacities we know to date. With a system that mimics the human brain by detecting the focal point in any image and devides the screen in order to accommodate human sight. Get ready for a new TV experience in 2021.
9. Fighting Cybercrime
During the pandemic, cybercrime increased tremendously. Hopefully, 2021 it the year we’ll start conquering it. If we look at the predictions of Cybercrime Magazine, the global damage of cybercrime expected for 2021 is $6 trillion USD. This is as large as a world’s third-largest economy after the U.S. and China but good predictions are also coming.
App Privacy is becoming a bigger concern, therefore companies will invest more in security and data protection in 2021. Since we’re now spending more time at home, attacks will occur on home computers and networks. This is due to infrastructure holes and that is why multi-factor authentication (MFA) will become increasingly populas, Passwords will become insufficient. You can find more information on cybersecurity trends this year in this article on Top security predictions for 2021.
10. New opportunities for health
Last year was a reminder for the importance of health. This year is the time for updated health policies and tech growth in the field of medicine and health. From apps that help us monitor our health from home to telemedicine and virtual doctor visits, 2021 will be the year of the new med.
Tracking health with apps
After seeing how certain groups are more vulnerable in front of a virus like COVID-19, people have started to adopt preventive treatments. As opposed to the solutions-oriented approach of traditional Western medicine, the new trend is to apply preventive measures. Beth McGroarty, Vice President of Research at the Global Wellness Institute, believes that without a strong scientific backbone, prevention is not enough. This is where tech comes in!
Apple already launched a free app that helps users track their symptoms of COVID-19. There are other apps like this that do even more than just scanning for one illness’ symptoms. When synchronizing data to such a tracker, the diagnosing process can be speed up and even life-saving. Teamscope, Flaredown and Tally are a few of the apps already helping with tracking symptoms. We can definitely expect a growth of the sector in 2021.
Jake Pyles, the CEO of CipherHealth predicts that telehealth will standardize and constitute a full 30% to 40% of interactions. After the shift to telemedicine in 2020, both pacients and doctors identified an optimization in processes. The action of going to a hospital can be both risky and resource consuming, especially in situation like an epidemy. So hospital visits will remain a need only in severe cases, when a call or a videoconference with a doctor is not enough.
When it comes to situations that require the patient’s visit to a hospital surgeries are at the top of the list. Luckily, robotic technology can help with performing surgeries that are safer for both the patient and the medical staff. Remember how the pandemic caused a shortage of personal protective equipment even in the countries with the most developed health systems? This is concerning not just the virus spread but all medical acts. Remote surgeries using robotic tech will be the most optimal choice this year where hospitals afford for such equipment.
Maybe not so new to one’s agenda but certainly mandatory on everyone’s radar. These trends are just the first popping up at the beginning of the new “new normal”. All these technologies will be around as long as they remain relevant for keeping us a sense of normality. Get your tech set up and be ready to embrace the emerging technologies of 2021!