With hopes and expectations set high that 2021 will be a year of recovery and recuperation in a world devastated by COVID-19, now is the time to start thinking about what a post-pandemic world will look like. For businesses in industries that have been hit particularly badly, this means the focus is shifting from mere survival to long-term adaptation and growth.
The unprecedented disruption over the past year has forced businesses to rethink the ways they operate. This has been reflected in the technology they use to drive more adaptable and sustainable business models. Moreover, the rapid adoption of technology continues to highlight the opportunities that still exist, and those that will arise in the near future.
Here are several notable tech trends that businesses should be aware of throughout the year.
1. Increasing reliance on remote collaboration
Despite the fact that remote work was already well-established before the pandemic, many businesses found themselves struggling to roll out remote work policies with very little warning. Now that they’ve had a chance to adapt to the new situation, many are considering retaining their remote work policies. After all, they’ve invested large sums into video conferencing and remote collaboration platforms and are now realizing the benefits of distributed workforces.
2. New security challenges for remote workers
While remote work undoubtedly reduces costs and accommodates a wider range of employee needs, it’s not without its challenges. Remote work can end up with a lack of oversight and control over business-critical systems and data. Because of this, cybercriminals are focusing their attention on remote workers, exploiting things like unsecure home wireless networks and other vulnerabilities that exist outside the conventional business perimeter.
3. Rising need for AI-based decision-making
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are among the main drivers of the fourth industrial revolution. The need for these highly advanced solutions is clear: businesses are doubling the amount of data they create every two years to the point that data sets have become too large for people alone to make sense out of. AI-powered analytics can also help us learn from past events and trends to enable smarter and faster decision-making.
4. Automated, contactless customer experiences
Contactless customer experiences have been instrumental in reducing the spread of COVID-19, but they also offer advantages that businesses can continue to realize after the pandemic. For example, some delivery companies are already turning to autonomous vehicles and other automated and contactless technologies to increase efficiency and reduce their reliance on human workforces. This often benefits customers too, since it can provide a convenient, self-service experience.
5. Online education and business training
Although getting children back to school has been a top priority, online learning tools continue to play a crucial role in business environments, especially for companies relying on distributed workforces. Online learning platforms can help throughout onboarding and ongoing training by allowing employees to learn on and off the clock. With e-learning being one of the fastest-growing technology sectors, we can expect the next year to see a dramatic uptake of these services.
6. Gradual rollout of 5G mobile technologies
Ubiquitous internet is critical for accelerating economic growth, but many areas of the world are still far behind. With bandwidth requirements rising all the time, due in part to the increasing adoption of cloud-based services, the need for the fifth generation of mobile networks is clear. 5G should finally start making an impact this year and, in doing so, it will accelerate the adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) across a wide range of use cases, from connected medical tech to automated industry and agriculture.
Online Computers provides managed IT services and expert guidance to help your business obtain maximum value from modern technology. Call us today to learn more.
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