What’s Next in Tech?
The pandemic has revolutionized life as we know it.
People and businesses are more immersed in digital technologies than ever before – and we’re not just talking about a surge in online entertainment services, as you’d expect from more time spent at home. (Although, that is the case – Netflix’s content spend grew by 10% in 2020, while online e-game live streaming service Twitch saw a 100% year-on-year growth in hours watched.)
COVID-19 has blown open important discussions about work-life balance, accessibility and inclusivity, personal liberties and privacy. And on a more practical level, it’s driven the development of products and platforms that are tangibly changing ways we behave, connect and experience the world around us.
Let’s dive into some important tech trends that have surfaced over this period, which are set to redefine the use of technology across all industries.
A focus on data privacy
As people have transitioned key parts of their lives to the online space (think: work, personal calls, health, entertainment), it’s brought data privacy and control into the limelight. In a world becoming increasingly digitized, people are aware of the subtle tracking that corporations perform on their interactions, movements and interests. And they’re demanding protection from unwanted exploitation of this data.
Tech brands are responding with new policies and initiatives to ease this security anxiety. For example, Apple has implemented controls on the iPhone to boost data privacy and give users peace of mind.
Immersive wellness experiences
With anxiety and burnout on the rise (particularly among working moms) during the pandemic, self-care has become more important than ever. This has resulted in a rise of people turning to health and wellness apps to promote fitness and mental wellbeing, and to help maintain routines.
But while meditation apps surged in popularity as the pandemic hit, newer and more immersive experiences have emerged as well. For example, the Trip app takes you on a ‘visual psychedelic stroll’ – a chance to ‘get out’ and refresh your mind even when stuck at home.
Enhanced productivity tools
While many workers have embraced the shift to remote working styles, others have struggled with a productivity dive due to distractions in the home. Children and pets, among other demands, have only added to the attention-suck of digital distractions. And productivity has been a sore point for employers too, with limited visibility of their teams’ output and working conditions.
But smart products like TimeChi are directly challenging productivity struggles by blocking digital distractions and promoting deep work. While the app element tracks productivity and performance levels, there’s also a physical element that can be used upon return to the office to signify ‘do-not-disturb’ working states to co-workers. Pretty neat!
PWC research revealed that 50% of respondents reported becoming more eco-friendly during the pandemic. And these people are putting pressure on brands to enable their eco-conscious habits.
While global organizations are committing to eco-friendly initiatives, such as Coca Cola transitioning to 100% recycled packaging by 2025, technology is driving this trend too. Biodegradable tech products, compostable packaging, apps to help reduce food waste, and B2B waste reduction solutions are just some of the trends we’re seeing in this space.
Accessible health services
A shift towards telehealth care has not only allowed medical practitioners and patients to socially distance, it’s opened up care options to people who live remotely or aren’t mobile enough to visit facilities. McKinsey research shows that 57% of people view telehealth more favorably now than prior to the pandemic, and 64% are more comfortable using it.
The potential for telehealth goes beyond avoiding unnecessary human interaction, too. MedTech solutions are set to revolutionize care outcomes, with wearable IoT devices and machine learning capabilities tracking vitals and making diagnoses according to symptoms.
Tech to meet social distancing requirements
Let’s not forget the simplest ways that technology is shaping our post pandemic world. You won’t have missed the reappearance of the humble QR code in all of this – a simple way for businesses to implement contactless processes, and boost efficiency.
Many service businesses have shifted to contactless processes to enable social distancing, including online ordering, tracking and the use of robotics and AI to fulfil orders. These digitization technologies, adopted early on by Domino’s Pizza, now account for 65% of its business – a clear sign that consumers are onboard with simpler digital processes too.
Technology is driving rapid change as a result of the pandemic, and these are only a few examples of the trends we’re seeing.
Want to know the most exciting part? The Girls in Tech community is at the forefront of these trends. In one way or another, we’re all a part of this shift. We’re streamlining processes, building seamless architecture, engineering better systems, extrapolating crucial data, and creating more inclusive digital experiences, one system upgrade at a time. We’re creating change across all industries, powered by tech.
At Girls in Tech HQ we’re on the edge of our seats, waiting to see what innovations our community will come up with next.
Or better yet – show us. Sign up for our next Hackathon, Startup Challenge or other future event and be a part of creating tech solutions of the future. Make sure you sign up as a Girl in Tech member to learn about upcoming opportunities!