Nearly everyone on the planet said goodbye to 2020 without a backward glance, happy to put such a hard year behind them. But despite the hardships, or perhaps because of them, the tech industry stepped up to make our lives as easy as possible in the midst of lockdowns, social distancing, and illness.
Experts in the tech industry predict that in 2021, we won’t see as many new inventions or products as we will improvements in technology that was already in place. The technology had previously existed without much popularity, but since the start of the pandemic, the demand for improvements has skyrocketed. Here we’ll look at four tech trends you can expect to see in 2021.
Online Shopping That Rivals In-Person Shopping
As online shopping becomes more popular than ever, the way it is being conducted is changing. Chatbots are playing a bigger role in helping online shoppers find what they’re looking for, and experts predict that these will slowly replace navigation windows. Augmented reality will also become more prevalent in 2021.
For example, certain eyewear sites allow you to upload a photo of yourself and then virtually try on glasses before buying them. Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, has already teamed up with various designers to make virtual trying-on available to consumers.
As millions of people moved to working from home last year in the wake of the pandemic, average internet speeds slowed due to heavier traffic. The realization that faster, more efficient internet connections are a necessity will drive advanced Wi-Fi technology. Wi-Fi 6 will become the new standard for routers, and it will distribute bandwidth equally among devices in one home, as opposed to one device getting the lion’s share of it. Efficiency is key as IoT grows and the popularity of smart devices increases.
Like online shopping, touchless payments are not a new technology, but they have grown in popularity and sophistication due to the pandemic. Not only are online stores offering digital payments, but land-based stores are as well.
In addition to touchless payments, a relatively new radio technology, Ultra-Wide Band, is likely to take off this year. Ultra-Wide Band uses radio waves to detect objects, which means you can stand in front of the device while it pinpoints your phone and accepts payment from you.
Tech That Lets You Stay at Home
If there’s one thing the pandemic taught us, it’s just how much you can do without leaving your home. Work meetings, exercise classes, even parties have all taken place on Zoom this past year, and 2021 is likely to see advanced ways of making these things happen.
For example, some tech companies are now offering digital conference rooms, using virtual reality to make it more interactive. Health products like Amazon fitness trackers and Peloton continue to roll out new and more advanced options for staying fit without going to the gym.
Are These Just Passing Trends or Are They Here to Stay?
The need for advancements in online shopping, internet efficiency, contactless payments, and ways to work and keep fit at home has risen due to the coronavirus pandemic. What will happen when the pandemic eventually gets under control? Will these technologies lose their popularity?
While it’s impossible to say for sure, it seems that many of the new ways of doing things are likely to stick with us as their convenience is recognized and appreciated. For example, even if we can resume in-person shopping, online shopping will likely remain a popular choice due to its convenience. The same goes for efficient Wi-Fi and touchless payments. As we see how the pandemic plays out, we’ll get a better idea of how much these trends will stick with us or fade.