As we say goodbye to the first quarter of the year, we can see how technology trends are being reshaped. There have been many forecasts about the future of technology in 2020, both gloomy and optimistic. Let’s see how the tech industry is responding to the current health and economic crisis.
As the pandemic unfolds, more and more people, voluntarily or not, remain home. The amount of people staying home has increased the pressure on internet providers. As of the middle of March 2020, most European and North American providers have confirmed an increase in traffic. Companies like Netflix and YouTube have decided to lower down video quality to reduce congestions on networks. As the traffic shifts from corporate users to individuals, online services are also expected to keep up with the demand.
Schools, colleges and universities are switching to online learning. This has been a trend for the past decade but the pandemic has only accelerated the speed of the transition. Looking at the top charts of the most downloaded apps, we see Google Classroom within the top 10.
The demand for online grocery shopping has also seen an increase. Instacart app and Walmart’s grocery app are among the many online shopping apps that are popular right now.
Banking apps have also recorded an increase in downloads with more people embracing online banking. Banks have responded to this demand by adding more services offered through their apps.
We will start seeing a growing number of companies switching to online services and providing their expertise online.
As of the end of March 2020, the world has mostly turned into an online network of remote workers. It shouldn’t be surprising that the top-grossing app in both, the Play Store and the App Store, has been Zoom the app used for video conferences, meetings, webinars, and online classes. The other apps that have been in the top 10 downloaded apps are also related to communication the Microsoft Teams and Hangouts Meet by Google.
IT industry is known to be more flexible on the work-from-home culture, but now other businesses are following suit. Accountants, customer support, and other office workers have been switched almost overnight to working from home. It is expected that many of the newly created home offices will remain after the crisis is over.
Automation is a topic that either excites or frightens people. In 2020 it has been a hot topic because many companies are looking to increase automation due to their employees not being able to show up to work. When we speak of automation, usually what comes to mind are robots in a human-like form that are replacing us in our factory jobs. While automation has already replaced many in the Automotive and Transportation, Food and Beverage, Aerospace, and other industries, artificial intelligence and robotics are coming after others. The unthinkable might happen to jobs that have been long claimed by humans. Recent examples are the supermarkets without checkout personnel, replacing the hotel front desk agents by automated self-service machines, 3D printers building fully-customized houses, and machines taking over the agriculture industry. Automation is here to stay, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. In the same way, the Industrial Revolution put an end to certain jobs, but it also created others. At the end of the day, the shift in the workforce will remain just that’s a shift. The new industrial revolution will destroy jobs, but it will also create new jobs that did not exist previously. That being said, after the crisis is over, more than ever investors will look for opportunities to develop automation where it has not been implemented before.
More than ever companies will pay closer attention to all blockchain-related developments. In a world where data and security are becoming a hot topic, blockchain technologies are on the rise. From start-ups to big investment companies and even governments, we will soon begin to see the full potential of blockchain technologies. From crypto-payments to healthcare and supply-chain management, blockchain technology makes data tamper-proof and, hence, enticing big tech giants, as well as small businesses to embrace its use.
In the end, we have to note that the shift towards online services is driving companies to add web servers and other infrastructure in order to process the increased demand. Only time will tell, but it looks like this trend towards online working, education, and shopping is here to stay.