As we head into the final quarter of 2020, it’s time to start looking ahead to what the future holds, and many of us are already beginning to wonder what 2021 has in store. Let’s face it; no-one could have predicted what the past twelve months would bestow upon us, and with the future still looking uncertain, it’s likely that the new year might deliver more of the same.
But one area where we can already spot some trends beginning to gather momentum and that will likely be unaffected by the ongoing global pandemic, is the world of technology. In fact, the latest developments in this particular area may well serve to facilitate the ‘new normal’ we now find ourselves living, and from the shift to working and socialising from home to the NHS’ track-and-trace initiative, tech trends will continue to digitalise our lives.
There’s no denying that Covid-19 has been a catalyst for change, but many believe that is has simply sped up the inevitable. The digital world has been slowly but surely creeping into most areas of our lives for some years now, and has only ever been expected to accelerate – and 2021 may well be the year we start to see some of the most exciting new developments yet.
From recovering normality to navigating a changed reality, suffice it to say that technology is, today, something we quite simply can’t do without. These are our top trend predictions for 2021.
The shift to online entertainment
At the height of lockdown, our social lives were forced to move entirely online, with many of us relying on the likes of Zoom to communicate with friends and family and on online platforms to keep us entertained throughout those long days at home.
Online casinos, in particular, have experienced a huge surge in popularity, with fresh information from Google Trends indicating a sharp increase in online searches on the topic back in May. With technological advances such as VR gaming offering customers a more realistic experience than ever before, it’s little wonder many are logging on to get their fill of baccarat, roulette and other popular casino games, and with the majority of land-based casinos still offering a much more scaled back experience than the norm and with endless social distancing and mask-wearing restrictions in place, it’s a safer and more enjoyable way to play.
In 2021, with many of the current pandemic measures set to remain in place, we can expect to see many land-based casinos adapting – as some already have – to offer an online experience in lieu of the real thing, and the same can be said for a range of other entertainment establishments, too. It’s fair to say that the digitalisation of the industry has long been afoot, but the happenings of this year have given them an extra push, with further developments certain soon.
Advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI has been making waves in the tech world for some time now, but most of us have so far only had a taster of what’s possible, and what may well be to come over the next twelve to fifteen months.
Almost certain to become one of the most valuable tools out there for helping us to interpret and understand the world around us, the data that is already being collected on Covid-related healthcare and infection rates will pave the way for further AI implementation in 2021, with machine learning algorithms becoming better informed and more sophisticated than ever as they present new and advanced solutions. Able to spot patterns and trends that would be missed by annual human analysis, they will help to predict demand for all health services and help us determine how to best manage them, as well as any future spikes in Covid-19 cases and any new future pandemics.
The arrival of 5G and enhanced connectivity
It may have been at the centre of much controversy this year, but 5G remains well and truly on the horizon, and is set to transform our connectivity capabilities as early as next year.
Much like its predecessors – 3G and 4G – it is once again expected to open up new doors in terms of what is possible online, and is set to facilitate services which rely on advanced technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality, a more viable proposition.
It’s not unlikely that 2021 will be the year that renders cable and fibre-based networks redundant, with 5G giving us the capacity to stay connected, anywhere, anytime. In fact, 5G may well be the driving force between each of the other trends we’ve discussed, with each relying heavily upon the increased capabilities it provides to advance.
Extended Reality (Virtual and augmented reality)
Virtual and augmented reality gaming have been big news over the past few years, allowing players to use glasses or headsets to have computer-generated imagery projected directly into their field of vision.
In 2021, we can expect to see this type of technology being used outside of gaming, and in increasingly innovative ways, becoming tools for problem solving around the world. One possible use that may well take centre-stage next year is helping us to avoid dangerous situations where there could be a risk of viral transmission, allowing medical examinations and diagnoses to be carried out remotely. Even eye-tested will be able to be carried out using VR, using high-definition cameras to give a crystal-clear image of patients’ eyes, all from the comfort of their own homes.
There’s no denying it; despite the countless challenges we’ve faced this year, 2020 has been a catalyst for change in the tech world, and in 2021, we could be set to see the most exciting developments yet. The only question is, which of these trends will transform our lives the most? Only time will tell.