The world of technology has always moved at an incredible pace, but 2020 has been exceptional. Through necessity, tech experts and companies worldwide have been working on communication tools and other innovations that have helped us stay in touch with our loved ones during what’s been a very difficult time. Medical technology has come on in leaps and bounds, and discoveries and inventions that might not have been made for years have been accelerated to the point where they’re almost ready to be unveiled to the public.
2020 hasn’t been a great year for almost anybody, but the emerging tech trends that have come out of it – in some cases because of it – promise to make all of our lives a little better in 2021 and beyond. While the history of making predictions about the technology of the future has been littered with failures, here are a few technology trends that we believe will make a big impact in the year ahead.
More Data Will Move To The Cloud
The office of the future will probably be smaller than the office of the past. Thirty years ago, offices had rows of filing cabinets holding valuable paperwork relating to the past, present, and future business operations. Since the digital revolution, all that paperwork has been scanned and stored on hard drives. For the largest companies, that’s generally necessitated the use of servers and external hard drives to ensure that data is kept safely and backed up. That won’t be the case for much longer because central storage is becoming a thing of the past. The merits of moving to ‘the cloud’ have been debated for almost ten years, but we’re finally seeing the idea gaining widespread acceptance. With cloud storage, all of your essential information is available to you at the touch of a button on any internet-connected device you have. That’s an enormous convenience, and that’s why it will eventually become the default storage option.
Gaming Will Move Away From Consoles
This is bad news for Microsoft and Sony, both of whom have released new flagship video gaming consoles within the past two months, but consoles don’t represent the future of gaming anymore. As we’re beginning to see with Google Stadia and Amazon Luna, the games of the internet will be streamed across the internet to smart devices with no need for bulky hardware. This will be as big a revolution as the one that casinos experienced when online slots websites became a reality. When programmers and gaming companies mastered the art of turning physical slots into online slots, it was no longer necessary to have one gaming cabinet for each slot or even to go to a ‘bricks and mortar’ casino at all. Online slots allow players to play UK slots through their laptops, phones, and tablets. Video game streaming platforms allow gamers the same freedom, and once people become accustomed to the new format, it will be ‘game over’ for the consoles of the past. There will probably never be a PlayStation 6.
People Will Embrace 5G
Regardless of what you might have read on social media, 5G does not cause pandemics, cancer, or any other form of illness. It’s just an upgrade compared to 4G, and the same things were said about 4G when it replaced 5G. 5G is so much faster than 4G that it’s impossible for it to be anything other than a success, and once you’ve seen the benefits of owning a 5G-enabled device, you’ll never want to go back to what you had in the past. Assuming peak performance is possible, 5G will be one hundred times faster than 4G. This, in turn, will lead to improvements in the quality of virtual reality, self-driving cars, robotics, haptic feedback devices, and even the possibility of remote surgery. 5G is going to change the world, and we’ll begin to see that happening in 2021 as more and more connections are switched on.
People Will Begin To Speak To AI Regularly
We’re already starting to do this, but expect it to become a lot more commonplace. If you have an Amazon Alexa or Google Echo speaker in your home and it responds to your questions, you’re having conversations with artificial intelligence. If you’ve logged onto a website recently and interacted with a chatbot that’s popped up to assist you, you’ve spoken to artificial intelligence there, too. As natural language processing evolves, it will become harder to distinguish the difference between speaking to AI and speaking to a person – especially when those conversations are happening via text. We might not have full-sized robots in our homes to help with the housework yet, but we’re definitely getting closer, and we’ll all start to accept AI as part of our lives in the months and years ahead.
Augmented Reality Is Upon Us
Google Glass failed because it was too far ahead of its time, and it couldn’t do anything useful. Now the technology behind it is smaller and lighter, and internet connections are capable of doing much more, the idea of AR glasses will come around again, and someone will make it popular. It could even still conceivably be Google, which has never really given up on the concept. Your AR glasses could display the content of your text messages in front of your eyes without you having to reach for your phone. They could show you directions to wherever you’re trying to go to or bring you the latest news. They’ll become the next ‘must-have’ wearable technology, and we’ll start to see them enter the marketplace before 2021 is out.
Working From Home Is Here To Stay
The biggest shock for most businesses this year wasn’t the pandemic. It was the discovery that the majority of their employees could be trusted to go about their work unsupervised from home. The work still gets done, no more goes wrong than usual, and suddenly the amount of money that’s being spent on middle management or office space no longer looks reasonable. While many of us might want to go back to our offices for the social aspect of it, what 2020 has underlined is that there’s no real reason for many of us to be there. Working from home is going to become a permanent option for many people next year – and that’s probably bad news for companies who make money from leasing out office space in busy city centers.
There will be more than this coming, too. Medical science has been advancing at such a rate that we can’t even guess what might be possible by the end of 2021, but we know there are exciting things on the horizon. This most unpleasant of years is almost over, and so let’s all hang on and hope for a better, high-tech future to come.