Let’s envision the customer service industry after Covid has been implemented. Consumer tastes and business practices are likely to shift in response to the current crisis, and these shifts will likely last long after it has passed. Some of the new digital or remote models, if consumers adapt to them, will undoubtedly alter people’s expectations in a lasting way, hastening changes that were already in motion before the crisis.
People’s experiences during the pandemic will influence the top trends of 2021, including digital nomadism, charity, and sustainable development goals (SDG), as well as rapid changes in top technology and corporate innovation. In 2021, we will see the following developments in technology and business.
First development pattern: cutting-edge Covid-19 testing and vaccine creation usher in a new era in the drug development process
Covid shook up the pharmaceutical industry by making drug trials more efficient and accessible. Many conventional clinical trials have been halted, or researchers have switched to a virtual structure by conducting consultations online and collecting data remotely. Alterations to the pharmaceutical industry may be inevitable in light of the rise of remote clinical trials and other innovations.
Incredibly rapid progress has been made toward developing a vaccine against Covid-19, with companies like Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Companies like Pfizer and Moderna have created mRNA vaccines, which are groundbreaking medical discoveries. Covid-19 test kits and potential vaccine candidates will continue to advance throughout 2021.
2nd trend: The Rise of Telecommuting and Videoconferencing
In spite of the pandemic, this region had rapid growth, and that trend is expected to continue in 2021.
Zoom, which began as a startup in 2011 and will go public in 2019, rose to prominence as the pandemic unfolded. Other existing huge corporate tools such as Cisco’s Webex, Microsoft’s Teams, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, and Verizon’s BlueJeans are also delivering state-of-the-art videoconferencing systems, supporting remote work throughout the globe.
The field of remote work is seeing a proliferation of new businesses. Startups Bluescape, Eloops, Figma, Slab, and Tandem have all created visual collaboration platforms enabling teams to create and share material, connect, track projects, train staff, organize virtual team-building events, and more.
These solutions also assist distributed teams maintain track of shared learning and documents. Users can set up a digital space where they and their coworkers can interact and cooperate as if they were in the same room.
Thirdly, contactless shipping and delivery continue to be the standard.
There has been a 20% rise in the demand for contactless operations in the United States as different sectors adopt new methods.
Delivery without human interaction is now the norm. It has been speculated that the emergence of drop-off delivery options from companies like DoorDash, Postmates, and Instacart is a response to customers’ desires for less personal interaction during the delivery process. Both Grubhub and Uber Eats have expanded their contactless delivery options, and this trend will likely continue in 2021.
Meituan, the first Chinese startup to offer contactless delivery in Wuhan, has started employing autonomous vehicles to transport clients’ grocery shopping. Meituan has been working on this technology for a while and has been conducting tests for about a year, but just just released it to the public.
Robotic delivery services are not something that China is interested in developing further. Three American startups, Manna, Starship Technologies, and Nuro, are developing solutions to this issue with the help of robotics and AI software.
T4: The growth of telehealth and telemedicine
Institutions, particularly in the medical field, are making efforts to reduce patients’ and staff’s exposure to Covid-19. Numerous clinics, both public and commercial, have been expanding their use of telehealth services like video conferencing between doctors and patients, artificial intelligence-powered diagnostic avatars, and remote drug dispensing.
The number of telehealth visits has increased by 50% since before the outbreak. By the year 2020, IHS Technology expects 70 million Americans to have used telehealth services. Forrester Research has since forecasted that by early 2021, one billion Americans will have used a virtual health care service.
Some of the publicly traded companies providing telehealth services to fulfill the present demands are Teladoc Health, Amwell, Livongo Health, One Medical, and Humana.
It won’t be long until we see some new startups. Other new businesses, such as MDLive, MeMD, iCliniq, K Health, 98point6, Sense.ly, and Eden Health, have helped address these rising demands in 2020 and will do so again in 2021. Beyond telemedicine, we can anticipate developments in biotechnology and artificial intelligence in health care in 2021, as well as machine learning opportunities (for example, Suki AI) to help diagnostics, administrative tasks, and robotic health care.
The fifth growing trend is the incorporation of e-learning and online education into traditional classroom settings.
The e-learning and online education sectors both benefited greatly from Covid-19. Almost 1.6 billion individuals, or one-third of the world’s population, have had their schools shut down at some point during this pandemic.
The widespread adoption of videoconferencing in educational institutions and professional training facilities presents a significant market opening. After things settle back down, several schools have been encouraged to complete at least some of their coursework online.
Some of the best online learning platforms that helped the world throughout the pandemic are 17zuoye, Yuanfudao, iTutorGroup, and Hujiang in China; Udacity, Coursera, Age of Learning, and Outschool in the United States; and Byju’s in India.
Sixth Tide: Accelerated Growth of 5G Infrastructure, New Applications, and Utilities
The development of 5G-6G internet technology has been propelled by the need for faster download speeds and the trend toward more connected households, smart cities, and autonomous transportation. Updates to infrastructure and utility or application development from major firms and newcomers alike are expected in 2021.
With Australia having launched 5G before Covid-19, many operators are on schedule to deliver. Verizon has claimed that by October 2020, its 5G network will have expanded to include more than 200 million people. The rollout of 5G technology in China has been lightning fast. Nonetheless, Ericsson is in the vanguard of this worldwide movement. More than 380 service providers have already committed resources to developing 5G. Currently, more than 35 nations offer commercial 5G services.
Companies like Movandi are aiming to improve 5G’s data transmission speeds, and companies like Novalume are developing ways to use sensor data to improve municipal lighting and smart city management. Drones built by Nido Robotics are being used to map the ocean floor.
The Internet of Things (IoT) and improved navigation made possible by 5G networks make these drones useful. South Korean startups like Seadronix employ 5G to assist power autonomous ships. The 5G networks allow for real-time collaboration between devices, which is crucial for allowing unmanned vessels to sail.
The growth of the autonomous transportation industry will be bolstered by the development of 5G and 6G technologies, which in turn will fuel smart-city initiatives around the world in 2021.
A fast expanding A.I., robotics, IoT, and industrial automation sector is trend number seven.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and industrial automation are two technologies whose popularity and use are expected to skyrocket in 2021. Manpower shortages will become critical as manufacturing and supply chains resume normal operations. Artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and the internet of things (IoT)-enabled automation will play a significant role in the future of manufacturing operations.
Some of the leading technology providers that are facilitating the automation of industries through the use of artificial intelligence and robots are:
There are many different robotics companies out there, including UBTech Robotics (China), CloudMinds (America), Bright Machines (America), Roobo (China), Vicarious (America), Preferred Networks (Japan), Fetch Robotics (America), Covariant (America), Locus Robotics (America), Built Robotics (America), Kindred Systems (Canada), and XYZ Robotics (America) (China).
An increasing number of people are using VR and AR systems.
In the year 2020, AR/VR technologies have advanced considerably. These immersive technologies have quickly become commonplace in both the entertainment and corporate worlds. With the introduction of Covid-19, companies have shifted to a remote work style, with communication and collaboration expanding into augmented reality and virtual reality.
Innovative augmented and virtual reality technology is a tremendous force for change in any industry. In 2021, we will witness significant growth in the use of augmented reality (AR) avatars, AR interior navigation, remote support, AI integration with VR, AR mobility, the AR cloud, simulated sporting events, eye tracking, and facial expression recognition. The maturation of the 5G infrastructure and the increase in available bandwidth will hasten the widespread adoption of augmented and virtual reality applications.
The future of the world will be heavily influenced by companies like Microsoft, Consagous, Quytech, RealWorld One, Chetu, Gramercy Tech, Scanta, IndiaNIC, Groove Jones, etc., not only due to the many uses for augmented and virtual reality but also as the standard bearer of all virtualized technologies.
Increases in micromobility (trend 9)
Micromobility market growth slowed naturally as Covid-19 spread, but it has now rebounded to pre-Covid levels. The popularity of electric bicycles and scooters is on the rise because they are seen as practical modes of mobility that adhere to accepted rules of personal space. The market for private micromobility is predicted to increase by 9%, while the market for shared micromobility is predicted to increase by 12% compared to pre-Covid times.
New bike lanes have been built up to the tune of hundreds of km. There are now dedicated bike pathways of 20 miles or more in each of Milan, Brussels, Seattle, Montreal, New York, and San Francisco. Since the British government has decided that the sale of diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles will be prohibited after 2030, there has been a surge of interest in micromobility as a potential replacement.
The development of micromobility is being spearheaded by startups. Some of the most innovative companies in the world of micromobility are startups like Bird, Lime, Dott, Skip, Tier, and Voi.
Many Chinese micromobility businesses have found success, with Ofo, Mobike, and Hellobike among the most well-known.
Tenth Pattern: Constant Improvements in Self-Driving Technology
The year 2021 will be a watershed year for the development of fully autonomous vehicles. There will be no need for the driver to take control of their vehicle under specific conditions, and Honda has now revealed that they will be mass producing such automobiles. In addition to lane centering and automatic lane changes, this year’s models of Teslas come equipped with Autopilot, which also has the capability of reading speed limit signs and recognizing green lights.
Ford is also getting in on the action, with plans to develop a ride-sharing service using driverless vehicles by 2021. There’s a chance that the corporation will start selling such cars to select customers as soon as 2026. In 2021, Mercedes-Benz and other automakers plan to release vehicles with some level of autonomous driving technology. GM plans to add its hands-free Super Cruise capability to 22 models by 2023.
There is a lot of competition in the industry right now, and that’s helping to speed up the development of self-driving technology at businesses like Lyft and Waymo. Startups in this space have been purchased for billions of dollars, with GM paying $1 billion for Cruise, Uber paying $680 million for Otto, Ford paying $1 billion for Argo AI, and Intel paying $15.3 billion for Mobileye.
As we move forward
While 2021’s technological progress will be similar to that of 2020, Covid-19’s impact will continue to grow throughout the year. In 2021, many of our novel habits will have become the standard, propelling important advances in technology and industry.