By Anna Nilsen
Technology has allowed many businesses to flourish over the past 12 months in spite of the complex challenges faced.
Looking forward, a number of innovations will continue to inform how organizations across all industries operate. Here is an overview of a few of the most impactful solutions and services that will catalyze productivity and growth in 2021.
5G will speed up and stabilize wireless connectivity
The fifth generation of cellular networking is finally here, and the rollout of coverage is gaining traction in many areas, allowing for connection speeds that are up to a hundred times quicker than incumbent 4G services.
From a business perspective, 5G has a wide range of applications, from allowing online casino operators to guarantee speedier and more consistent connections to their smartphone-owning customers, to empowering manufacturers with the ability to connect a multitude of machines in the production line and allow for orchestrated real time reactions to take place.
Similar perks will be provided in the automotive sector, where vehicles with smart, internet-enabled features will have better access to the digital services that set them apart from their predecessors thanks to 5G’s coming of age.
Remote working will remain the norm
2020 saw a major move towards remote working in the business world, especially in industries where office employees could easily be accommodated in home working scenarios rather than needing to share the same physical space as one another.
This trend looks set to gain further momentum this year, as many organizations have effectively proved that working remotely is not just viable but in some cases preferable.
Virtual meetings via Zoom, collaboration over Microsoft Teams, communication through Slack and video conferencing on Skype will remain relevant and all but essential as 2021 progresses.
Furthermore the potency of cloud-based services which are not tied to on-site servers, but instead hosted on public infrastructures, will break down yet more barriers and increase investment in this segment of the business tech market.
Automation and AI will imprint themselves in unexpected places
Much of the discussion around automation has been focused on how it will change the game for industries like manufacturing and bricks and mortar retail, where replacing human workers with robotics and AI-driven devices is shaking things up significantly.
However, while these areas will indeed feel the increased effects of this technology in 2021, it is also worth mentioning how other businesses will begin to reconfigure themselves in wake of emergent solutions that automate other processes.
Everything from customer service-focused chatbots on websites to behind-the-scenes big data solutions that drill down to extract useful insights from information generated by various aspects of an organization’s operations will demonstrate just how significant AI and automation can be.
Automation in the automotive space is also on the cards, and while self-driving vehicles are still in the very early stages of entering the mainstream, the likelihood of the transport sector being majorly disrupted by this is growing.
AR & VR will continue to diversify their capabilities
Augmented and virtual reality technologies have been a talking point for almost a decade, but as innovations are still being made in this area, it makes sense to consider them as crucial to defining the technological state of play in 2021 as well.
Most significantly it is the potential for AR to be used to allow for workers to interact remotely with machinery and individuals, while feeling like they are in close proximity to them, that will make this tech relevant.
Businesses need technologies like these to remain agile, and as affordability increases along with adoption rates, more companies should be in a position to benefit.