By: Anis Uzzaman, General Partner and CEO, Pegasus Tech Ventures
2020’s Covid-19 pandemic has helped us all become acquainted with uncertainty. Companies are in a hurry to develop new digital capabilities in an effort to build resilience and retool for the post-pandemic world. Here are 10 Technology Trends to look out for in 2021:
Drug Development Revolution
Covid caused a major shakeup in the drug industry, making it quicker and easier to trial drugs. Researchers have put many traditional clinical trials on hold, or they have shifted to a virtual structure by performing consultations online and collecting data remotely. Remote clinical trials and other changes may permanently alter pharmaceutical development.
Remote Work and Videoconferencing
This area has seen rapid growth during the pandemic, and it will likely continue growing in 2021. Zoom, which grew from a startup in 2011 to going public in 2019, became a household name during the pandemic.
Many new ventures are emerging in the remote working sector. Startups Bluescape, Eloops, Figma, Slab, and Tandem have all provided visual collaboration platforms. These tools also help distributed teams keep track of shared learning and documentation. Users can create a virtual office that replicates working together in person by letting colleagues communicate and collaborate with one another easily.
Contactless Delivery and Shipping
The U.S. has seen a 20 percent increase in preference for contactless operations, with various industries implementing alternative processes.
No-contact delivery is the new normal. DoorDash, Postmates, and Instacart all offer drop-off delivery options, reportedly borne from customer desires to minimize physical contact. Grubhub and Uber Eats also grew their contactless delivery options and will continue to do so in 2021.
Telehealth and Telemedicine
Telehealth visits have surged by 50 percent compared with pre-pandemic levels. Many private and public practices have started implementing more telehealth offerings such as doctor-patient video chats, A.I. avatar-based diagnostics, and no-contact-based medication delivery.
Beyond telehealth, in 2021 we can expect to see health care advancements in biotech and A.I., as well as machine learning opportunities (example: Suki AI) to support diagnosis, admin work, and robotic health care.
Online Education and E-learning
Covid-19 fast-tracked the e-learning and online education industry. During this pandemic, 190 countries have enforced nationwide school closures at some point, affecting almost 1.6 billion people globally.
There is a major opportunity with schools, colleges, and even coaching centers conducting classes via videoconferencing. Many institutions have actually been recommended to pursue a portion of their curriculum online even after everything returns to normal.
Increased Development of 5G Infrastructure
There is no doubt that demand for higher-speed internet and a shift toward well-connected homes, smart cities, and autonomous mobility have pushed the advancement of 5G-6G internet technology. In 2021, we will see new infrastructure and utility or application development updates both from the large corporations and startups.
Development of 5G and 6G technology will drive smart-city projects globally and will support the autonomous mobility sector in 2021.
We expect to see huge demand and rapid growth of artificial intelligence (A.I.) and industrial automation technology in 2021. As manufacturing and supply chains are returning to full operation, manpower shortages will become a serious issue. Automation, with the help of A.I., robotics, and the internet of things, will be a key alternative solution to operate manufacturing.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented reality and virtual reality have grown significantly in 2020. These immersive technologies are now part of everyday life, from entertainment to business. The arrival of Covid-19 has prompted this technology adoption as businesses turned to the remote work model, with communication and collaboration extending over to AR and VR.
Companies like Microsoft, Consagous, Quytech, RealWorld One etc. will play a significant role in shaping our world in the near future, not only because of AR’s and VR’s various applications but also as the flag carrier of all virtualized technologies.
Growth In Micro-mobility
While the micro-mobility market had seen a natural slowdown at the beginning of Covid-19 spread, this sector has already recovered to the pre-Covid growth level. E-bikes and e-scooters usage is soaring, since they are viewed as convenient transportation alternatives that also meet social distancing norms.
Ongoing autonomous driving innovation
We will see major progress in autonomous driving technology during 2021. Honda recently announced that it will mass-produce autonomous vehicles, which under certain conditions will not require any driver intervention. Tesla’s Autopilot not only offers lane centering and automatic lane changes, but, from this year, can also recognize speed signs and detect green lights.