With the year 2021 looming just around the corner, we, at Technology In The Arts, are curious about what our peers think would be the most anticipated tech trends. Here are their answers:
1. Small and Midsize Business Website Direct Messaging
One of the fastest-growing marketing application categories among small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are those that combine website chat with two-way text messaging. These applications allow customers who visit their websites to contact them directly through a webchat widget. The business owner or manager receives an alert about the customer inquiry and can respond via text message using the application. From that point forward, the customer can conveniently exchange text messages with the business.
In 2021, these applications will result in text messaging becoming the primary communication channel between SMBs and their customers. Because these tools enable person-to-person conversations, they will increase the level of personalization in marketing. This will also allow SMBs to increase marketing relevancy by shifting resources away from bulk emails. Finally, SMS messages are far easier to create and don’t require expensive design and copywriting resources.
These applications are especially valuable during COVID-19, as they allow customers to quickly get in touch with businesses through their websites. This is helpful at a time when business teams are not in stores or on-location to see customers in person or answer the phone. Additionally, on the business side, these applications streamline the ability to manage numerous customer conversations at once. They even include a mobile application that can be used to manage conversations remotely or on the go.
– Bruce Hogan, SoftwarePundit.com
I think e-paper will be one of the most interesting trends in 2021. E-paper gives your screen the ability to display black and white text without the need for power and is perfect for anything with low data use, like menus, news, and RSS feeds. E-paper is already used in some e-readers, like the Amazon Kindle, to get around the short battery life they suffer from.
The main purpose of e-paper will be for reading devices, which we normally use at home to browse the web or to check news feeds, or what have you. I think in 2021 it will become more mainstream to use in an office setting, mainly because it doesn’t distract you, with the exception of repetitive motion, but we already have that problem with TV, computers, and smartphones.
I see e-paper taking over in places like hospitals and doctors’ offices where it’s important not to get distracted. I think we’ll see the next generation of Google Glass allow e-paper for all its text functions. I also think we’ll see some pretty cool e-paper accessories coming out that you can display on the wall with some sort of stand.
– Jason Loomis, ConciseDeviceReviews.com
3. Artificial Intelligence
The dominating trend will be the increased use of artificial intelligence (AI). This includes robotics and automation—since it is AI that is driving both. We have seen its impact, particularly in the search for drugs and vaccines in the fight against the ongoing pandemic, and those applications in healthcare will only accelerate in 2021.
With work being done virtually (and not just because of the global health crisis), the amount of data generated and available for analysis with AI techniques will also grow. Moreover, this data will be in large part gathered through cloud services, so the trend could be better synthesized as AI in the cloud.
However, it’s not just organizations that will generate more data for AI, individuals will also produce more data through a growing usage of phones and wearable devices: headsets, watches, glasses, etc. And that increased usage will lead to a larger presence of virtual reality (VR) products, enhanced by AI techniques, and delivered to individuals through these gadgets.
The accelerated use of AI will also be sustained by a need to conduct contact-free retail business. For example, cashier-less AI stores will grow in size and numbers. Banks will also see an accelerated switch from human tellers in physical offices to mostly online transactions. This shift from physical to virtual requires businesses to adapt to changes in their customers’ behaviors, and AI is the most suitable technology to understand those behaviors and predict new ones.
– Adrian Zidaritz, AIBlueDot.com
4. Spatial Audio
3D Audio is already booming in different fields. For instance, Amazon’s Alexa Echo supports Dolby Atmos to playback over 1,000 songs that have been remixed new to sound even better than the stereo. Apple’s new iOS, on the other hand, enables spatial audio for AirPods Pro to support head-tracked audio
8D Audio even got a huge hype this year with billions of views on YouTube, meaning that people are excited to experience music on headphones as if it was moving inside of the room. With the launch of the Sony PlayStation 5, 3D audio technology becomes even more accessible to consumers. Gamers already know for years that spatial audio not only makes gaming more immersive, it can actually help you score better—maybe you cannot see if there is an enemy behind you, but you can hear it.
But gaming is just the beginning. A lot of branches like the automotive, medical, and music industries are jumping on the bandwagon of spatial sound. It’s not just hype, as the topic has been discussed in the audio engineering society for over a decade and we are sure it will change how we perceive sound as a whole. The reason is that humans in their natural environment always listen three-dimensionally.
Finally, we can not only live up to our habits but can use technology to tell new stories and create valuable and more thrilling experiences. The infrastructure is there, now it’s time for content to take off in 2021.