STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION

Four tech trends that will define 2021

Ah 2020 – the year that changed everything. But along with the challenge of COVID-19 came opportunity: the chance to innovate and drive change. While a lot things ground to a halt in 2020, tech trends didn’t – and the year was transformative for many industries. As Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella said, “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months. From remote teamwork and learning, to sales and customer service, to critical cloud infrastructure and security.”

Here are the four tech trends that will drive us into 2021 and beyond:

Tech Trend 1. E-commerce

Amazon has been one of the biggest winners during the pandemic as people have turned to the global e-commerce giant for everything, from groceries to tech. The pandemic is accelerating the move to online shopping. Although traditional retail is expected to rebound as restrictions ease, online shopping is here to stay as more consumers — not just ‘digital natives’ — are now comfortable with online shopping and aware of its benefits: convenience, a wider range of choices and access to more information.

Tech Trend 2. Remote working and video calls

Video calls are hardly a new thing. Skype launched 17 years ago. Apple’s FaceTime launched 10 years ago with the release of the iPhone 4. Yet video calling was slow to be embraced. In 2020, video conferencing software including Microsoft Teams, Google Meet and Zoom thrived during the abrupt shift to home schooling and remote working, including right here at RD Consulting. As the pandemic subsides in 2021, it is likely that businesses will adopt a hybrid working format that combines the best of both worlds – face-to-face and video meetings. Plus, e-learning will become an integrated part of the education system.

Using technology at home in 2021

Tech Trend 3. Connectivity

As we move into the online world more, connectivity is as important as ever. It’s no surprise 2020 saw an unprecedented surge in internet usage. YouTube and Netflix have had to reduce their default video quality to help lessen bandwidth strain and meet the demand. 5G and WiFi-6 are two key technologies that will enable a more connected virtual world.

5G provides faster speeds at lower latency with higher capacity. With major carriers and handset brand-makers on board, the next-generation cellular network is set to become mainstream mobile technology in 2021. At RD Consulting, we’ve already started to see the amazing capabilities of 5G using Telstra’s 5G hotspot devices when working in remote locations. 5G’s combination of speed, responsiveness and coverage will greatly benefit other emerging technologies like virtual reality, drones and self-driving cars.

Lesser known is the next generation of Wi-Fi, known as WiFi-6, that will most likely be inside your next phone or laptop. It can theoretically reach speeds of 9.6 Gbps compared to 3.5 Gbps on Wi-Fi 5. Although you’re unlikely to ever reach — or need — these speeds in real-world use, it also brings other benefits such as extended battery life and speed improvements when a large number of devices are connected to the same network. This is particularly important with the increasing number of modern devices, home appliances and cars being built with Wi-Fi connectivity.

Tech Trend 4. Electric vehicles

There’s no doubt electric vehicles (EV) are the future of the automotive industry. They’re environmentally beneficial and cheaper to run and maintain. We’ve seen the capabilities and possibilities of EV with Tesla’s Model 3, X and S, which offer insane performance and improvements over its fossil fuel counterparts but are only available at a premium. The number of EV models is set to increase in 2021 — as much as 50 per cent in Australia. With a well-supported charging network, EVs may finally transition from an ‘enthusiast alternative’ to being a viable option for the mass market.

Adrienne from RD Consulting working on a laptop

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