Tech trends to watch in 2021Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Six major technology applications are among the key trends to watch out for in 2021. They are:
Expansion in remote working and videoconferencing
Increased competition in remote educational delivery tools
New uses in artificial intelligence (AI) for creativity and augmented reality (AR)
Enhanced connectivity through 5G
Telehealth and telemedicine
Cybersecurity and distributed cloud infrastructure across different locations.
Dwayne Russell, general manager of MC Systems, the technology company of The Jamaica National Group, says remote working and videoconferencing have become the new 'norm' for life in 2021 with the imposition of social distancing measures resulting from the pandemic. “The need for remote collaboration of distributed groups for businesses, schools and other organisations has significantly increased the use of existing virtual platforms and has created a surge in new service providers on the market,” he says.
Professor Hopeton Dunn, graduate director for Media Studies at the University of Botswana, indicated that the first trend to watch is a continued rapid expansion in videoconferencing applications, such as Zoom, Go-To-Meeting, Skype, Lifesize and Google Hangouts. “As face-to-face corporate meetings remain risky, given the expected slow pace of roll-out of anti-COVID vaccines globally, corporate executives, government institutions and small businesses will continue to need cost effective and user friendly, virtual conferencing resources,” he notes.
Remote educational delivery technologies
Dr Wade Marr, president of the Vector Technology Institute, says social learning will become a feature in 2021. He says with the growth in online education, learners will work in groups to complete projects in much the same way done in the workplace through collaboration methods and tools. “This collaborative learning style will help in a more student-centred approach of learning from each other and development of skills outside of the set curriculum,” he says.
Expansion of AI
Russell says AI will continue to drive many applications and enable new ones in the digital domain in 2021. “The use of AI and AR has grown in 2020 and 2021 will evidence further growth with replacing of more tasks accomplished by robotics and less input of humans as a factor of the pandemic. The integration of AI and AR into businesses has created transformational changes and benefits where the customer experience is greatly enhanced and improved even in the absence of human interaction. The use of AI and AR will increase with the development of 5G Internet,” he predicts.
Enhanced connectivity through 5G
Russell notes that although the development of fifth-generation (5G) technology is new, it gradually grew in 2020 and will expand further in 2021. “The need for higher-speed Internet and well-connected homes and smart cities has made 5G Internet technology and infrastructure relevant. Some Internet and telecommunication service providers across the globe have already started the implementation of this infrastructure and in 2021 others will follow suit,” he says.
Further expansion of telemedicine
Russell says that with health care being of significant importance in the pandemic, the health industry's landscape has had to transform to meet the demands of large numbers of people requiring speedy medical attention.
Cybersecurity & cloud services
Russell explains that cybersecurity has become increasingly relevant during the pandemic, as evidenced by recent increases in cyber-attacks on small and large enterprises. Data privacy has become critical in businesses' operation, especially in the environment where collaboration and data sharing occur across various physical locations and with much of their staff relying on a cloud network for operations, he adds.
Turning to the disadvantage to humans, he says some negative consequences might result, such as depression and loneliness for those who crave and prefer physical interactions. Although technology has allowed greater virtual collaboration, some, especially from the older generations, have not adapted to the new reality and still have challenges adjusting to new technology. “The pandemic has influenced the increase in all these trends and has taught that an acceleration in digital transformation and automation becomes more and more critical for companies with a focus on efficiency and sustainability,” he says.
Source: MC Systems.
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