The pandemic has sped-up our understanding that technology can and must be a force for good. From developing and distributing life-saving vaccines to throwing businesses a lifeline and bringing about greater social equality through the power of online learning. 2020 was a year of extensive digital change in response to COVID. We have seen a tectonic shift in the workplace with millions of people picking up their desks to work remotely. Technology was expected to seamlessly transition with us, but as we have all seen, the transition has not always been so seamless.
While we are uncertain what this year will hold, we do know what technology will continue to transform the way we live and work.
Here are 8 tech trends that made it possible to function during 2020:
The Digital Workplace
From lockdown and ‘stay at home’ orders, have allowed organizations to adapt and serve their clients remotely by building virtual spaces to help people connect. With the use of virtual meeting sites being the new boardroom and shrinking the office’s footprint, the workplace has been forever changed.
Cloud is King
Many organizations have recently undergone digital transformation to establish CLOUD-BASED solutions, which make that “seamless” transition of having hundreds of staff work from home, all that much easy, without the need for any additional software deployment. Transitioning to a CLOUD-BASED environment should be on the agenda for every organization. The ability for an organization to rapidly adapt and work at any time, from any place is a critical part of ensuring the business’s continuity, the organization’s flexibility, and the efficiency of the workforce.
Securing your network remains a TOP priority and so does educating the workforce about cybersecurity and protecting themselves. Fraudulent emails and texts commonly spike after global events, and unfortunately, COVID-19 has been no different. The pandemic has seen a 35% increase in cyber-attacks and there is scope for this number to grow given how remote working is becoming more and more prominent across the globe.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Intelligent Automation (IA) are growing at a fast pace. With the enabling technologies becoming more accessible through the cloud, AI and IA are moving into deployment. Intelligence is integrated into a business’s process and it helps execute tasks based on data and learning and this allows humans to focus on value-creating work.
Technology drives sustainability not just as a global challenge but as an opportunity to rebuild their organization in a way that supports a sustainable economy. Technology creates a competitive edge, influences buyer decisions, and attracts talent. Technology enables data to flow and allows us to analyze and predict our impact on the environment. It creates transparency and drives efficiencies in a business’s value chains. It optimizes our processes and systems to reduce waste, conserve energy and helps guide our daily behavior to change for the better.
Online learning is here to stay and not just for kids but adults too. Virtual learning has brought about greater social equality through the power of online learning. Textbooks have become digital, making it easier for everyone to have one in South Africa. Technology has helped shape the modern learning environment even before the pandemic. Nowadays learning is not about sitting in a room, listening to a lecture, and reading through pages in a textbook. Learning is about sourcing information and gaining opinions by incorporating technology to help learners understand the world.
The global pandemic has brought about some long-overdue changes in the healthcare system. Healthcare systems globally have leveraged digital technologies to deliver care through channels, support disease monitoring, and contact tracing. In our new reality, further digital transformation will be required to build more adaptable and connected health systems that can deliver patient-centered integrated care, support insight-driven decision making, and foster innovation.
Trust in Technology
When COVID hit, many businesses rushed to implement new technologies on accelerated timelines. For so many, these deployments led to successful innovation and helped people overcome the challenges of the pandemic. Overall, during this time of uncertainty, an increase of concerns around trust and cybersecurity become a huge focus. Organizations need to achieve long-term success by integrating trust, technology, and governance into their business structure.
Technology has renewed its sense of purpose. It has the potential to change social, environmental, and economic issues for the better. It can make our lives safer, healthier, and happier.
It is upon all of us to make sure everyone equally benefits from these technological advancements and that we successfully close the gap between the digital haves and have-nots.