As bold as it may be to start trying to making predictions about tech trends in 2021 when it is so uncertain how even the last few months of this year are going to play out, here we are. And while no one was able to predict the world-changing events that we have lived through so far, one fact has emerged from the dark year of 2020. Technology has been affected just as much as everything else in the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
It has become very obvious that technology is going to play a huge role in helping us adapt and cope with both current challenges and future changes. While many of these trends relate to COVID-19, they will also all have additional uses going forward.
AI is without question the main technological trend right now and it is going to become an even more valuable tool in 2021 in terms of interpreting and understanding the world around us.
The sheer volume of data we are currently collecting on COVID-19 infection rates, healthcare, and how successful the preventative measures we are taking are will keep increasing. This means that machine learning algorithms are going to keep getting better informed and the solutions they uncover for are going to be increasingly sophisticated.
This relates to computer vision systems which monitor public areas’ capacity and analysing interactions revealed via contact tracing initiatives. Self-learning algorithms are able to spot connections and divulge insights that manual human analysis simply is not capable of. They are going to help us predict demand for certain hospitals and other healthcare sources and let administrative staff make more informed decisions about the deployment of resources.
We could well see AI determining the safety of our attending a day at the races, visiting a flea-market or mall, or attending live music events and comedy shows next year.
Drones are going to be increasingly used to deliver vital medicine in 2021 and beyond. They will also start being equipped with computer vision algorithms more widely. This will allow them to monitor foot-traffic in public areas and identify places that are unsafe.
Over the last decade or so we have started seeing more robots being used in assisted living and care sectors and these are going to become more and more important. But rather than replacing human interaction altogether, robotic devices will be used to improve our channels of communication, giving us better access to help and providing companionship. Ford has even started employing robot dogs to assist in operations!
Additionally, business with premises that need maintenance while empty will be able to turn to robotics providers for cleaning and security.
With passenger volume on public transport fluctuating heavily from week to week, depending on what local conditions look like, initiatives around self-driving vehicles are set to continue apace.
Driving efficiency across public transport networks will be civic authority and service providers’ priority. The reduction of costs in human labour will help balance out the uncertainty in fluctuating customer demand.