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If there’s one thing that 2020 showed us, it’s that technology is as important now as it has ever been. All sub-sectors of the tech sector really stepped it up this year. Whether it’s in the medical sector, where we produced a vaccine for a deadly communicable disease in mere months, or in the service industry, where Amazon was our go-to for shopping online more so than it ever has been. 

Online shopping more broadly allowed people to safely obtain their necessary groceries. There are no signs of any of that slowing down in 2021, particularly if the health situation remains as precarious as it has been. 

Now is a good time to look at what’s trending in tech for this upcoming year. Here are five tech trends to pay attention to. 

An evolution in retail 

Let’s face it, the way that we do business has likely changed for the foreseeable following COVID-19. It has completely changed the way that we shop. Contactless pick-up, buying online ‘tap’ cards becoming the new norm. We are more cautious about where we shop, how we shop, and what we touch. 

This, of course, brings with it more challenges for business owners, but they have adapted spectacularly to these challenges. In-store sales in the United States will drop 14%, according to research from eMarketer, meaning that the way we shop is evolving and will continue to evolve as the new year progresses. 

Working from home is the new normal 

2021 won’t be any different than the last 9 months of 2020, most people who can be working from home. This trend isn’t expected to go anywhere until the current global health crisis is brought under control. 

It’s estimated that up to 60% of American businesses are transitioning to a work-from-home model. Working from home isn’t all bad! It gives you an opportunity to spend more time with family, do more things around the house, and may even give you time to find a new job in a new sector that you hadn’t previously considered. Like, a project manager using Zoom to connect with his team.

Working from home doesn’t just have to be from ‘home’, it can be from anywhere, all you’d need is an internet connection and away you go. That realization frees you up to travel just about anywhere in the world, so long as you can work when necessary. Freedom like you’ve never known before. 

Electricity is the way of the future 

Just as Elon Musk’s Tesla’s really took off in popularity this year, it will continue to do so in 2021. But Elon won’t be the only car manufacturer making electric vehicles, and in fact, he’s way behind manufacturers like Kia or Hyundai or Volkswagen, who’ve been in the electric car hot seat for a long time. 

Electric cars are one of the ways of the future of our transportation, especially now that the world is finally paying attention to how much we are polluting our planet, as we see the side effects of what happens when we all just… stop for a couple of months. Electric cars and renewable-energy-based transportation more broadly will continue to grow in the new year. 

Cracking down on the big boys

Like it or not, there is a gigantic push from governments around the world to regulate our online communication spaces, whether that be Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or other, more obscure ones like Parler and 4chan. This is an issue that has been problematic ever since these platforms took on the role of being the new Public Square. 

You don’t shout your opinions from the middle of the street anymore, you take to Facebook and Twitter to do the same thing. This has led to some really problematic things happening, the responsibility for which is being placed at the feet of Facebook and Twitter. On the flip side, social media has ignited social movements like the Arab Spring, it is often said that Twitter played a huge role in the success of the Arab Spring. 

If you’ve lived through 2020, you’re likely to have noticed just how much technology has kept you afloat. Whether it has literally saved your job by giving you the ability to work from anywhere, or whether Netflix has simply kept you sane while you spent the time off work during the earlier days of COVID-19 lockdowns. Technology is here to revolutionize the world as we know it and there’s plenty to keep an eye on in 2021.

Luke Fitzpatrick

Written By Luke Fitzpatrick

Luke Fitzpatrick has been published in Forbes, Yahoo! News and Influencive. He is also a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney, lecturing in Cross-Cultural Management and the Pre-MBA Program. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

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