The 21st-century has been defined by technology. From social media to 3D organ printing and everything in between, the modern world revolves around ever-evolving, always improving tech. Here are four tech trends of particular interest as the 2020s begin to unfold.
The healthcare industry is well known as a focal point for developing technology, but there’s one area of the health sector, in particular, that is going to be fascinating to watch in 2020: telehealth. Also referred to as telemedicine, the concept of providing healthcare remotely via telecommunication technology was pushed to the forefront of the medical community when the COVID-19 crisis shut down the entire world early in the year.
The desire to maintain social distancing pushed medical providers to both streamline and scale their virtual healthcare services to remotely assist as many consumers as possible. It also encouraged patients — who had previously largely avoided telehealth due to cost, availability, and a lack of personalization — to flock to the remote healthcare option in droves.
It’s estimated that there will be over 200 million general medical care visits this year along with as many as 1 billion virtual health-care interactions. That would make this the year that the modern world pivoted to the telehealth industry.
Anti-Addiction, Kid-Friendly Tech
One of the greatest challenges of the modern human is coping with the unhealthy side-effects that come with spending too much time using technology. Everything from overexposure to blue light before bed to bonafide Google Glass addictions have been reported in alarming numbers over the years.
Fortunately, some startups are combatting this tendency by creating devices that are aimed at curbing excessive use — especially in children. Apps are being created to monitor the amount of time children spend in front of screens or on social media. Entire lines of phones for kids are even being developed specifically to introduce children to technology while still encouraging them not to remain forever tethered to their devices. These increasingly tech-respectful trends will be fascinating to watch as they play out over the course of the year.
The Battle for Streaming
The ongoing struggle between cable and streaming services is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Over 40 million American households were poised to cut the cord by the end of 2019 and it’s estimated that the number will rise to over 56 million by 2023.
While consumers are abandoning traditional cable by the tens of millions, though, where they go from there is anywhere but certain. Where, once upon a time, viewers had a handful of choices between bigwig contenders like Netflix and Hulu, there are now numerous streaming options cluttering up their internet connections — and the list is constantly growing.
2020 is shaping up to be a clash of the streaming titans as larger companies like Amazon and Apple TV continue to produce impressive new quality content and newer contenders like NBC’s Peacock get ready to jump into the fray later this year. Consumers far and wide will be left with the puzzling decision of where to spend their money while simultaneously avoiding signing up for so many services at once that it rivals those old, inflated cable bills.
Personalized E-Commerce Experiences
Research shows that 80% of shoppers are more likely to buy from a company when they are offered a personalized experience. It should come as no surprise, then, that personalization has long been a focus for the e-commerce community, even if technology has, thus far, often struggled to provide a truly personalized experience for consumers.
However, 2020 may be the year that we actually see personalization come to fruition. E-commerce sites like Amazon and Shopify are booming due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the rush of businesses into the digital retail world has made personalization a key factor in attracting customers in a suddenly ultra-competitive online marketing landscape.
The ability to apply artificial intelligence in order to display content, recommend products, and highlight promotions based on each specific customer’s proclivities will likely be a deciding factor for online success.
Blisteringly Fast Phones
Access to perpetually newer and faster mobile networks has been a reality for years now. However, 2020 heralds a truly momentous advancement in the era of cellular connectivity: the 5G network. With its arrival rumored for years now, an increasing number of consumers will begin to have access to the new 5G network as it begins to be rolled out in 2020.
What’s so special about the fifth generation of mobile internet connectivity? The speed. The blistering, unreal speed. It’s estimated that 5G networks will soon make 1Gbps download speeds the norm.
This will kick existing cellular connections into overdrive, making interconnectivity between cell phones, cars, and the entire IoT world a smoother, more feasible daily reality. While 5G will likely become a regular feature of daily life over the course of the next few years, 2020, in particular, will be the first year that it becomes available to large numbers of consumers.
From online recreation to virtual health, addiction-free kid-tech blisteringly fast cellular networks, and e-commerce personalization, 2020 promises to be a year that is uniquely defined by technology. The best part is, most of these trends are still in their infancy with years of fascinating development still to come.