While the events of 2020 did turn the planet into something of a ghost town, there was one area of the world that was more bustling than ever: the internet.
As the onset of the coronavirus crisis caused mass disruption and halted countless people’s lives across the globe, many took to their digital devices to help them get through the indefinite period of distress and uncertainty.
But, it’s not just individual people who had to make a sudden switch. Organizations of all kinds were forced to adapt, fast, to the new demands of our so-called “new normal.”
As the world slowly gets back to how it was, it’s worth taking a look at the tech trends that made the biggest splash in 2020. Here are four that made their mark, and look set to continue their reign through 2021 and beyond, regardless of what the future holds.
4 Tech Trends Shaping The Past, Present, & Future
1# The Internet of Things
The rise of the Internet of Things (also called IoT) has been rapidly accelerated as a result of the pandemic.
Not only does it make life more convenient for consumers who want increased connectivity and more control over the products they own, but it’s also been a blessing for businesses on an industrial scale. In fact, this is where it has really come into its own.
Tech blogger, Antoine Bechara says, “IoT helps businesses to be more flexible, adaptable, and resilient. Just look at platform-as-a-service applications as an example. These solutions have helped to keep so many struggling businesses afloat and even help some thrive. In the face of such volatile circumstances, that is nothing short of miraculous.”
Also able to offer improved data handling opportunities, many are turning to IoT to help them gather, store, and analyze crucial data more securely.
Automated solutions were already on the up before the pandemic hit. But, the coronavirus brought with it a sudden influx in online activity that has yet to subside. As a result, automation became more valuable far quicker than anyone anticipated.
Robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) are two of the solutions that have received the lion’s share of investment in recent months. And, moving forwards, it looks like investments in these technologies will just keep on coming, as 41% of bosses in 45 countries said they want to continue funneling more resources into accelerating automation.
It’s not hard to see why. Automation saves valuable time and money, as laborious, repetitive tasks are carried out automatically. Helping companies to improve efficiency and productivity, those that continue to automate their systems are most likely to fare well as the current climate of uncertainty drags on.
3# Augmented reality
The new norms that were sprung upon us forced distance between friends, family, and colleagues. As such, augmented reality (AR) was brought in to bridge the gap in areas where face-to-face interaction proved itself to be necessary.
Particularly useful for training and on-site service support, AR technologies allow two or more people to look at the same thing in a shared, immersive environment, despite being in entirely different places. With everyone’s eyes on the one thing, it is far easier to train someone or work with them to find a solution to a problem.
Described as “the next best thing you can do in terms of being physically there,” some businesses have even introduced AR as an alternative to teleconferencing and instant messaging. In doing so, their employees feel far better connected, as well as more productive and motivated.
4# The cloud
Cloud has always been at the forefront of the digital shift. Over a period of years, it proved itself to be an effective way for businesses to improve their adaptability, reduce inefficiencies, and expand their scope.
But, thanks to the coronavirus, companies that had previously been prioritizing risk assessing cloud solutions over diving into them headfirst had to suddenly switch up their strategy. And, thankfully, the risk paid off. Cloud technology has helped to make businesses more secure, by minimizing disruptions caused by working habits.
In China alone, it was estimated that public cloud spending grew by 58% in 2020. If the current predictions are anything to go by, the recent increase in finances being directed towards cloud tech will only continue across the world.
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Author: Luke Fitzpatrick