2020 TRENDS IN TECH (& 4 Disruptive 2021 Trends)
This year’s been full of surprises; some good, some not-so-good. The global pandemic that’s been at the forefront of our thoughts throughout this year isn’t over yet, and we’ve all had to adapt in certain ways to get to our “new normal.” The silver lining to this year is that humankind has found new, innovative ways to connect and communicate, challenging preconceived notions of how the world should work.
But a lot has happened since January 1st, and it’s hard to keep track of all the changes we’ve seen… Which is why we’ve rounded up some of the most notable 2020 trends in tech for you to enjoy before ringing in the New Year.
THIS YEAR IN TECHNOLOGY:
- Drive-in movie theaters made a comeback (and we invented some new drive-in events, too; like drive-in concerts, drive-by birthday parties, and drive-thru haunted houses.)
- Corporations worldwide stepped up to help in our time of need. Companies like 3M™, Apple®, and even Razer© shifted production to make more masks, providing protection for millions of people. And distilleries, large and small alike, pitched in to help create much-needed hand sanitizer during a global supply shortage.
- Creative ways to date safely became a big thing—with some utilizing drones, dinner delivery, and even personal bubbles.
- (“Dating during coronavirus” was a hot search on Google™, too.)
- After closing doors in person, museums opened up their collections to audiences online via virtual tours.
- Delivery services like Instacart®, Doordash, GrubHub®, and Uber Eats® have more than doubled, with many turning to contactless delivery for both grocery and restaurant take-out options.
- uBreakiFix joined the delivery craze, too, launching 640 mobile repair labs in a nationwide “We Come to You” campaign to offer on-site phone repair right from your driveway.
- Social media changed the way we protest. With many areas under strict lockdown orders, many turned to the internet to digitally protest civil injustices, and online activism gained major traction.
- Big names like Verizon®, AT&T® and Sprint® continue to launch 5G nationwide— and, with an enormous number of people reliant on online schooling or Zoom business meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic, telecom anticipates even more demand for these low-latency networks.
- The mask emoji got super popular.
- Bidets are booming. Thanks to a supply shortage of toilet paper in many areas, more consumers than ever are turning to bidets as an alternative to keep their tushies fresh.
- More than 17,000 first responders and healthcare professionals received free repair services for their phones through the “Frontline Heroes” initiative by Samsung, in partnership with uBreakiFix.
- As we find new ways to connect without meeting in person, more people are playing video games than ever. (And with the recent launches of both the PS5 and XBox Series X, we don’t see gamers slowing down anytime soon!)
- Services that help foster a community environment at home have gained steam during the pandemic. Standouts include HouseParty, which allows group video chats that are great for playing games together, and Peloton, high-end exercise bikes that allow monthly subscribers to remotely participate in live fitness classes streamed by an instructor.
Tired of 2020 and already getting ready for next year?
4 disruptive tech trends to look out for in 2021
1. AI & NLG
Ever gotten help from a chatbot, or had Gmail complete a sentence for you? Then you’ve already seen AI and NLG in action! With many services forced to find alternatives to providing answers in-person, some have turned to automation. As bots across the board become smarter and more intuitive to user needs, natural language generation (NLG), especially combined with artificial intelligence (AI) technology, is predicted to see a major uptick in use.
2. INNOVATIVE USES FOR BLOCKCHAIN
Many companies are expected to find new ways to apply blockchain technology over the next year. Some unexpected contenders (like the United States Post Office) already have big plans for blockchain tech in 2021, which we’re looking forward to seeing in action.
3. TELEMEDICINE TAKES OFF
Telemedicine has reached new heights throughout the pandemic, with healthcare professionals worldwide reaching out to patients remotely through phone calls, video-chats, mobile apps and emails. Virtual visits lower costs, with the added benefit of increased healthcare accessibility across the board—particularly for elderly, bedridden, immunocompromised or pediatric patients who have difficulty getting to a physician in person. A new hybrid trend of telehealth check-ins with in-person visits is likely to be a part of our “new normal” in 2021.
4. CLOUD-NATIVE TECH
Cloud-native technologies, like serverless computing platforms, are growing rapidly, and we expect these local technologies to continue advancing throughout 2021. Cloud-local technology allows for fast build-outs with fewer resources. And with many working from home, the ease of serverless computing allows for faster development (and execution) of projects, especially for software vendors.