Published on January 4th, 2021 | by Emergent Enterprise0
Tech That Will Change Your Life in 2021
If anything, the pandemic of 2020 accelerated the infusion of technology into our daily flow of life. This can be seen in this article by a team at the Wall Street Journal that presents a look ahead at the impact of tech in 2021. Buying products online, telehealth, online learning and Zoom calls are now part of our collective daily experience and we don’t marvel anymore when these occur. One year ago, did you think you would regularly host a video chat with a dozen colleagues or friends or family? This is a reminder that technology is quickly embraced when it provides something necessary and useful. The tech doesn’t need to be mind-blowing – it just needs to help users get things done. Remember this as you design your next product or service solution.
Illustration: Jason Schneider
New ways to work, exercise, see the doctor, watch movies and sanitize every surface in sight will continue to proliferate. So will monthly subscription fees.
A pandemic that ravaged the world and accelerated the digital transformation of, well, everything? Not even the best of futurists or Magic 8 ball-shaking psychics could have predicted the year that was 2020. And yet while we may have missed the biggest news, our predictions for what would occur in the tech world held up decently. (OK, fine, we didn’t think Quibi would die that quickly.)
Now, 2020 has become the lens through which all our 2021 predictions are glimpsed. As we continue to live in a pandemic-fighting world, innovators will aim tech solutions at our personal and professional lives, from at-home streaming movie debuts to an overdue evolutionary leap of the laptop. But we will also strive to reach a new normal, and you’ll see technology helping us there, too, from new hybrid work practices to high-tech masks. And accompanying each new product or service: yet another monthly subscription fee.
Now that we’ve rung in the new year, here’s what to look for.
Masks, webcams and sanitizers for our bodies… and our gadgets. The pandemic sparked a reliance on things our 2019 selves couldn’t ever have imagined. With marketers keen to capitalize on the new interest (and anxiety), 2021 will likely be full of new gizmos that boldly promise to improve it all.
One key area: better webcams for our constant video calling. Samsung has already announced that its forthcoming Galaxy smartphone, expected in early 2021, will improve video recording and calling. We anticipate laptop makers will do the same and finally ditch their crappy, low-resolution webcams.
Portable versions of UV sanitizers for cleaning your phones and gadgets are on the way to keep in your car or your pocket. Another thing we may eventually never leave home without? High-tech masks. Expect a range of built-in features: Bluetooth and microphones (see Maskfone), a fan-powered wearable air purifier (see LG PuriCare), a mask with a UV LED (see the UV Mask). Look for air-quality sensors, contact-tracing assistance and more.
You may even end up wearing a social-distancing sweater. SimpliSafe, a home-security company, made a version that sounds an alarm when someone comes within 6 feet of you. Intended as a fun prototype, the sweater sold out immediately.
Laptops Arm Up
Suddenly, laptops aren’t the most boring gadget in the world. Our reliance on them for at-home work and school spurred demand the category hadn’t seen in years. (“Children, let me tell you about the Great Chromebook Shortage of 2020.”) Then, in November, Apple released a MacBook Air and MacBook Pro that ditched Intel inside for Apple’s own M1 chips. The result? Machines that have never been so quiet and cool, and lasted so long on one charge.
The move from chips based on Intel’s x86 architecture to ones based on lower-powered Arm technology, like the ones inside phones, is setting the entire computing industry on a new course. Lenovo, Acer and Microsoft have begun releasing Windows or Chrome OS laptops with chips from Qualcomm, whose processors power the most popular Android phones. This will only accelerate in the coming year, with nearly every major Windows PC maker working with Qualcomm on laptops and some models even gaining 5G, said Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon.