The pandemic caused by Covid-19 has propelled many tech trends forward out of necessity. Drug development, for example, has been shaken up. Artificial Intelligence and the genome, in addition to policy changes, have made it quicker to trial new drugs. Policy changes have also made telehealth available to the masses. And online education has become an integral part of elementary to graduate schools.
Let’s focus this article on small business in the post-Covid world. We should anticipate that the changes in consumer preferences will outlast the crisis. Once consumers experience new digital or remote models their expectations change permanently.
Here are a few tech trends we will see in 2021:
Video Conferencing and remote work have seen rapid growth during the pandemic, and it will likely continue growing in 2021.
Zoom became the #1 downloaded app and a household name during the pandemic. Many new ventures are emerging in the remote working sector that provides visual collaboration platforms. These platforms empower teams to communicate, share projects, create content, train employees, and run virtual team meetings.
Businesses can create a virtual office that replicates working together in person. Many businesses have announced permanent moves to virtual offices, freeing employees from geographic locations. During the pandemic, there’s already been a migration from large cities, like San Francisco and New York, to locations that are less expensive.
Sites like Creatives Scale have popped up in support of gig-economy workers that want to work from home writing, delivering, and strategizing marketing campaigns.
Similar to QR codes for restaurant menus and contactless payment options, contactless delivery is the new normal. Delivery services from Dominos to DoorDash all offer drop-off contactless delivery options, driven by the desire to minimize physical contact.
A company in China began using autonomous vehicles to help fulfill grocery orders to customers. Tested last year, the company launched the service publicly to meet demand. Expect the United States and other countries to follow on their heels.
Indirectly related to the pandemic is the demand for and rollout of 5G networks. We’ve been forced to spend more time online working, studying, and entertaining ourselves during stay-at-home orders. In 2021 we will see a continued rollout of 5G infrastructure, as well as a new class of applications from startups and large tech companies.
Startups are working to help 5G transfer data further, help municipalities manage their smart-city data, even use drones to explore the seafloor.
Technology development in 2021 will be a continuation of the influence of Covid-19. Many of our new behaviors will become part of the new normal, helping drive major technological and business innovations.