2021 here! And the first thing that would race through any geek’s mind is what’s waiting for him or her in 2021. Year 2020 has provided significant momentum to a lot of innovative and cool technologies and 2020 surely looks promising. In this article, I will take you through 2020 technology trends – technologies that you should watch out for this year to stay ahead of the race.
2018 Technology Trends That You Should Closely Watch
I have listed down 13 technology trends for 2021 that I am sure will make a mark in everyone’s life – some will take off, some will go mainstream, while innovation will be the center stage for all these activities.
Artificial Intelligence and Automation
If you are a tech-buff, you must have heard about it a number of times in 2020 when AI was implemented in some apps, games, etc. However by the end of this year, AI is going to be the mainstay in most forms of technology, if not all.
Will jobs be lost? This is the major question that I hear around automation. Yes, certain manual jobs will obviously be automated. However if engineers can re-skill and learn advanced technologies, expect more job creation on the anvil.
Ah! 2021 technology trends without blockchain will be a blunder as it will continue to be the focus whether bitcoin dies or it is priced at $100,000 for one. Blockchain has numerous advantages and has potential to change the face of internet and the way businesses work. It is being hailed as the internet of the 21st century as it allows verification of records and data without the need of a middleman.
2021 will see many major changes happening on the technology side of blockchain including minimizing of transaction cost and time, more and better development frameworks, death of many cryptocurrencies, and consolidation by major and innovative startups.
Technology Trends in 2021 Includes Intelligent Phones
Smartphones will be an invalid term to be used for our mobile phones. The concept of smartphones were that it enabled the user to do much more than making calls. This included like clicking photos, accessing the internet, browsing social networking sites, shopping online, etc.
Our phones in 2021 will be more like digital assistants that knows what we need and would help us even before we ask. Phones with in-built AI technology are round the corner and location-aware devices will start playing a significant role in 2021.
Years back when I was in school, mobile phones were an awesome piece of device where you could play the Snake game apart from making calls. It had buttons on the keypad. Then the disruption began with touchscreens and it took the mobile experience to another level.
We have already seen part of what the future would be like in 2020 and 2021 will be a continuation of that journey – touchless interfaces. Why would I need a touch screen when my voice can do the same job. A voice-based interface or conversational interface gets the job done faster and takes lesser effort.
Alexa and Siri are already giving us a glimpse of the future and 2021 will be a continuation of the journey that takes us farther away from the tap and swipe game.
Centralization of Devices will Drive Technology
We are surrounded by devices. Our lives are more or less dependent on apps for basic day to day activities be it for navigation or shopping, among other things. Consumers are thus looking for a one-stop destination to manage all their devices – from mobiles, to ACs to TVs, room heaters, etc.
Smart speakers like Amazon Echo are a good start to this process and we might notice more consolidation and better products this year.
If you are in South Asia, you would know how 4G has been a revolution in this part of the world. It has changed the way we compute, transact, surf the internet. Now imagine a service that is almost 10 times faster.
Yes, I am talking about 5G technology. This year will see 5G being discussed and 5G handsets being developed for a probable launch in and around 2021.
Developing economies are matching their developed counterparts when it comes to data consumption. 24×7 availability on the internet is a normal thing, and so is using the internet to do every day tasks.
As a result, we are providing more and more data to companies and companies have a huge task at their hand to manage the data, ensure its security, avoid abuse of information and keep personal data of the users safe.
This also has implications that include reduced privacy, more personalized ads and offers, and more positive outcomes.
Chatbots and Redefined UI will be a Major Technology Trend this Year
I have already discussed this above. Talking of conversational user interfaces, one of the 2021 technology trends would be mass adoption of smart speakers like Amazon Alexa and Echo devices in developed countries.
Developing economies like India will have a significant population that would be interested in smart speakers but that depends on integration of regional language support like that of Hindi, Urdu, Telugu, Bengali. Is Amazon up the game? Or will Google’s Home steal the limelight. 20121 will be an action filled year when it comes to smart speakers.
Also apps and websites will have to be enhanced to ensure that users talk to their websites or apps instead of having to rigorously type on the keyboard. Services like Google Assistant will be more popular. However local services might throw in their weight to compete.
For the past couple of years we have heard the term “cloud computing” a number of times. Billions of connected devices are generating tons of data every single day. This pace will be faster in 2018 than every before. This is putting more stress on modern data centers and service providers are looking at ways to reduce this stress.
Cloud computing can transfer large amount of data but heavy usage can potentially lead to a bottleneck effect which hinders the speed and user experience.
Welcome Edge computing – a concept where the data center would be located close to the consumers resulting in faster processing of data without the need of sending it back to the centralized servers. This results in faster response time and better performance.
Wireless Charging 2.0
Powering devices wirelessly over the airwaves – that’s what I would call the second generation of wireless charging. Now imagine this – you are using a device and there is a transmitter within some acceptable range of distance that is powering your device through air, without the need to connect it with a power source.
Two companies have already got approval for this from the FCC – Energous and PowerCast.
Smarter and Micro-LED Televisions
Smart TVs have already arrived and 2021 will only see them getting smarter. This would include integration of Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant with TVs that would lead to hands free entertainment.
CNBC reports – the Sony Bravia will allow you to have hands-free control using either an Amazon Alexa enabled device or Google Home. And Samsung is getting into the fold as well. The company will be adding its smart voice assistant Bixby to its TVs.
Micro LED TVs have LEDs that are smaller than 100 micrometers, slimmer than the width of a human hair. This results in each of the green, blue and red subpixels producing its own light offering high contrast ratios and resulting in lesser power consumption. This could very well pose a deep threat to the existing OLED TVs.
Pokemon Go! was a craze and everyone around lost their calm. This proved how experiences in the real world can be enhanced by tech companies in the near future.
Augmented reality might beat virtual reality and be mainstreamed in 2021. There will be devices or services that would let you, for example, try on a product or offering without having to physically wearing it. This would bring shopping experience to an altogether different level.
Affordable AR glasses as well as heads up display will ensure that users do not have to look away from their view points. This will lead to enhancing the way people work, entertain and shop in 2021.
With more and more data being generated every single day, experts are now asking how secure the data is. The good news is that in 2021 the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into play. It will cause a shakedown in the tech industry for sure as stringent fines will be levied for non-compliance.
Back in India, data protection laws are lax and I so wish that more discussions take place on this; more so when reports of Aadhar (similar to SSN in the USA) data being easily available have made headlines. I wish!
Summing Up the 2021 Technology Trends
I have just discussed some major points that we all need to look forward to this year. Having said that, I have a feeling that this year is going to be the year of digital assistants. Google Assistant on your mobile phone and the Amazon Echo device that seeks to enter every home will be major disruptors. 2021 will definitely be a stepping year to the future of technology.