2020 has been a year like no other. Tech is integrating into people’s lives more than we ever would have thought. Part of this is due to ongoing pre-pandemic technology trends, but a larger part is due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has uprooted our definition of “normal” for the time being, forcing everyone to adapt.
This “new normal” has shown us that innovative software and tech aren’t just convenient wants, rather they’re helping us keep our families safe, our jobs secure and bolstering the economy.
According to a recent report in the New York Times, consumers and businesses are shifting their habits to accommodate a contactless world. Facebook says it’s seen its traffic for video calling and messaging explode during the pandemic. Microsoft says it’s seen the use of its collaboration software, Microsoft Teams, increase to 44 million daily users. And even before companies started sending their employees home, many were leaning on tech giants like Amazon, Google and Microsoft to help them organize their business data. This trend will likely increase as many are adapting their collaboration, security and data access systems to accommodate remote work.
It can seem like big tech are the only ones involved in this trend. Have you been watching the stock market lately? However, there are plenty of opportunities for software companies big and small to be innovative and provide value during these strange and uncertain times.
Looking toward the future
Tech and software companies, perpetual agents of change, were anticipating a level of disruption in the new decade, but no one anticipated anything quite like this. As we walk the path to recovery from the effects of Covid-19, there a few key trends to consider if we want to keep pace with the change. Many of these trends involve enterprise risk management, workplace productivity, artificial intelligence and enhancing the human experience. Here’s what to watch for in 2021 and beyond:
A shift toward more ethical AI
Artificial intelligence is ingrained in almost everything we do. It can help businesses process an abundance of data through various channels, like voice recognition or behavior algorithms. Everything from website chatbots to Amazon’s Alexa all utilize artificial intelligence to increase productivity and help make better business decisions
For years, many companies focused on harnessing AI to reduce operational costs and increase revenue. But now, ethical considerations have created a necessity for companies to reevaluate their current practices. Have you watched the Netflix documentary, “The Social Dilemma”. There’s also an expectation that companies should find responsible yet efficient methods for utilizing AI in the new decade. This may require them to rethink their and their customers’ values while considering the effect on individuals and society as a whole.
Expanding the internet of things
Internet of things has already changed much about the world we live in. It integrates data from everything, like our smartwatches and cars, to provide us with convenience and efficiency. IOT devices and architecture are what allows your smartphone to control the light switches in your house, monitor your fitness activities and track your sleep cycle.
Amid the pandemic, the health care sector is starting to optimize IOT. As indoor spaces remain a current health risk, health care companies are looking to create a more accessible and personalized health care system, allowing patients to receive diagnoses, treatments and check-ups more efficiently. Some are even utilizing IOT to reduce the spread of COVID-19 through early diagnosis and monitoring through a series of IOT-enabled apps and devices.
However, health care companies must figure out how to keep patient data secure, as apps and devices that utilize IOT can be prime targets for hackers.
The use of cloud technology to drive innovation
Cloud technology is challenging the traditional server storage methods for many companies. Over the next few years, more of them are expected to switch to services that include server-less cloud-based technologies and container platforms. This shift is challenging the traditional cloud vendor market dominance and paving the way toward distributed enterprise software, prompting new opportunities for cloud providers, edge providers and software vendors.
Enhancing the 5G network
With its high-speed connectivity, broad bandwidth and shorter lag times, it’s no surprise 5G is so popular. It’s already prominent in places like the United States, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Norway and China. And now, countries like Germany, France, Canada and UAE are all working to accelerate their 5G initiatives. According to a recent report, the planet is expected to have 645 million people on 5G, with profits for 5G-related services expected to grow to $410 million by 2025. This will provide developers and other tech firms working with 5G plenty of opportunities to expand. In 2021 the 5G buildout will continue into less densely populated areas of the US, and Europe, Africa and Asia.
Progressive web applications that enhance user experience
Like traditional web and mobile apps, progressive apps are designed to enhance the user experience. However, unlike traditional web applications, PWA’s can be used offline and can send push notifications to users, like a traditional mobile app. They’re interactive, fun, highly responsive and easy for users to install on their mobile devices. They’re also safe and secure. A few examples of companies that successfully utilize progressive web apps include:
- Pinterest: Promotes user experience by allowing people to save recipes and other content they find on the site.
- Trivago: Enhances customer engagement through faster loading times.
- Uber: Allows users to access app in areas with poor service quality or internet connection.
- Starbucks: Provides quick and responsive performance for customer orders.
- The Washington Post: Provides readers with great user experience through fast web loading times and fresh daily content.
Because these big companies have found substantial value in their progressive web applications, others will see and likely follow suit.
Changing with the times
2020 has changed the tech landscape in ways we never imagined. But, as society changes, so must our software and technology, furthering the quality of life for others and find innovative ways to make our days a bit more connected and efficient. By understanding the upcoming trends in 2021 and beyond, we can paint a clearer picture of what will move us forward.