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Technology That Will Change Our "Everyday" in 2021

The global economy is set among strange and somewhat contrary conditions, while a global pandemic brought the world economy to a halt as the general population and leaders realized just how unprepared we were for a global catastrophe of this level, despite numerous scientific predictions. Yet, we also find ourselves at a new and superior level of technological innovation and intellect than ever before, with such healthy global competition, the rates of which are growing at an immense pace.

While previous years top technology lists have been occupied by showboating technology that adds minor additional convenience for a major price tag, tech innovators are now focusing on products that bring real convenience to the foreseeable 'new way of life' characterized by what was once thought as a 'germaphobe' attitude is now the global social etiquette. As such, gimmick-like features or apps have now become central to our new normal, the contactless card or mobile payments, video calls, and so much more that has been floating around as a choice for consumers for years, yet have now become key to our adaptation to the current global climate.

Below you will find 4 technologies that are sure to impact and infiltrate the lives of many through 2021 and beyond.

1. The New Store Experience

Retailers have been hit especially hard by the past year's events, but those who had capable online shopping options saw massive rises in online shopping at higher levels than ever before. Those that we lucky enough to survive the turmoil of the previous year will likely be subject to new technology adaptations in order to keep up with competitors in 2021. Last year many regular online shoppers may have noticed that the experience has become a lot easier, with many stores featuring an updated user interface and an overall improvement to the user experience. This added convenience can be attributed to certain features such as search bars, product filters, and in some cases, chatbots, that all surpass that mundane and for some, off-putting act of scrolling through hundreds, or thousands of items to find what you want.

Features like this are to become all the more common, big tech companies like Facebook and Amazon are getting involved, Amazon currently has a chatbot that acts as a customer service provider and can solve issues, or get preliminary information for their human supervisor to step in. Facebook also has offered tools for online retailers to implement bots with much the same purpose, in their own stores. Amazon's physical store chain Amazon Go gained popularity last year for its innovative new way of shopping, the shop with no checkouts, allows customers to pick up what they want, with the use of cameras and AI, the customer will simply be charged when they leave. Amazon hopes to expand operations and add new stores to the chain.

2. Contactless and Beyond

While contactless payments have been around for a while, many customers have been reluctant to utilize the new technology, but the new hands-off approach that we are adopting as the new socially conscious etiquette, means many have decided to exploit the 'safer' option of payment. The Forrester survey noted that there was a 40% increase in retailers offering a contactless payment method from 2019 to 2020, which saw 67% of American retailers accepting the method. The UK government also encouraged this way of payment as a safer option and the payment limit was also increased across the region.

Looking forward, many retailers are looking to adopt new radio technology known as Ultra-Wide Band, which will enable a store's device and a customer's device (given they are compatible) to connect and send/receive payment without having to get your phone out. It is highly regarded due to its precision technology - meaning, you won't accidentally get a free coffee from the person behind you in the queue. Although this technology came out a few years ago, there has not been much demand for it and its actual use has been minimal, but our new contactless culture may change that. It is also likely that this technology's uses will expand further, such as building entry for example, which will add convenience and reduce surface contamination.

3. Work from Home Adaptations

Now, this may seem to be a basic and not particularly technical point, but there is a vast technological infrastructure that is to be adopted in order to make the WFH lifestyle work for employees and companies alike, safe, secure, and convenient, cloud computing, video calls, and blockchain are among these items. Looking ahead, it seems that for many, the working from home lifestyle is likely to be adopted for the foreseeable future, a study by CCS Insights found that around 60% of business leaders in both North America and Western Europe are expecting around 25% of their workforce to continue to partly or fully, work from home post-pandemic.

For many, working from home is only an option where a greater implementation of cloud-based technology is adopted. Cloud-based platforms are gaining increasing popularity especially due to the rise in eCommerce (as previously noted), it is expected that the full potential of this technology will be realized through 2021 and further. Another Forrester study predicts that 60% of companies will leverage containers on public cloud platforms, with a smaller 25 percent of developers leveraging serverless by the end of 2021.

Blockchain has made a slow but steady rise to its focus, with increasing public trust in blockchains 'bones' - algorithms, it is becoming a more dependable part of company life and structure. Increasing demand for online financial products and services, is expected to boost the growth of decentralized finance in the coming years, while assurance surrounding security and scalability will need to be continuously monitored and protected.

Many large firms report on their commitment to the WFH approach, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and Dropbox have all stated that many members of their staff are able to work from home permanently, and it is likely they will continue to promote it, as the new market of consumers brings innovative opportunities to large firms.

4. Electric Innovation

Aerospace is another industry that has been particularly adversely affected by the events of the previous year, with air travel discouraged or even banned in many countries across the world, the industry's biggest customer, airlines are not showing the financial contributions that go towards fast-paced innovations in the industry. But despite the lack of lucrative operations that have long been seen previously, some companies are still pushing for industry-leading innovations, Rolls Royce is looking to break records with their electric aircraft concept, 'The Spirit of Innovation' which is due to set new records for the world speed record for fastest electric aircraft, to fly at over 300mph. Airbus is another example, who are pushing their three concept hydrogen-powered designs. Airbus is hoping to sign a make or break deal with some of Europe's leading countries; France, Germany, Spain, and Italy in order to develop a large drone known as the Medium Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Arial System. where test flights are due to start in 2025.

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