There's no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our world and the world of business, possibly forever. Forbes Councils Member and software development expert Ilya Gandzeichuk believes that while the Fourth Industrial Revolution was expected to roll out gradually, the pandemic catalysed it and resulted in rapid advances in technology. We saw businesses quickly adapting to digitization, realising the benefits of AI, XR and IoT. Gandzeichuk says, 'some trends that appeared during COVID will disappear, but I believe many of them are here to stay'. Here we take a look at 7 top tech trends that are expected to grow exponentially in a post-COVID world...
7 tech trends to watch in a post-COVID world
1). Integrated collaboration tools
As people continue to work from home, communication and interaction between team members will become more streamlined. Gandzeichuk predicts that collaboration tools will integrate with business applications to create one convenient system. So we'll no longer be swapping from mailboxes, messengers and business tools to get work done. It's likely that anything from an accounting system to a CRM system will include messenger services and calendar apps for efficient interaction.
2). Immersive e-commerce
Last year, it's safe to say, everyone got used to buying online. But, in a post-COVID world, consumers will start demanding more. Even though we're shopping from the comfort of our homes, we still want to 'try before we buy'. Which is why immersive e-commerce is a trend that will make its mark. With the help of telepresence, augmented and virtual reality, retailers will be able to provide customers with an immersive experience. And apps that help us see and try goods - from footwear to motor cars - will help get the job done.
3). Supportive AI
For many years, we've worried about the ability of AI-driven technologies to substitute humans in the workplace. But, Gandzeichuk predicts this won't be the case. He says AI is going in another direction, one of augmentation of a human being at work instead of substitution. Tech like machine learning, object character recognition, deep learning, big data and computer vision will be used to take over a worker's repetitive and routine tasks. Leaving employees to use insights to inform bigger decisions. As an example, financial institutions could use unsupervised deep learning to detect anomalies in travel expenses or other fraudulent activities. And decisions will be backed up by accurate research and valuable data.
4). Cloud services dominate
The cloud is here to stay. These services have become essential in IT development projects and people are no longer sceptical about the benefits. Cloud services offer flexibility and scalability - crucial in a post-COVID world where workers are dispersed and business infrastructure may need to adapt at any moment. It's also more cost-effective than on-premise data storage solutions. Small, medium, and large businesses will bet on the cloud.
5). Video analytics and RPA
While robotic process automation (RPA) includes many different technologies, Gandzeichuk focuses on video analytics as a major trend in the near future. He says that with computer vision and machine learning, businesses can automate thousands of ineffective and repetitive processes simply with data from cameras. As an example, using video analytics, employees can find an object in a product catalogue containing thousands of similar objects or detect counterfeit goods. Any task that required superhuman concentration, experience and attention could be performed with the help of video analytics.
6). Personal data protection
As technology becomes even more integral to our daily activities, concerns over data security will rise. Companies already accumulate huge amounts of data and this is likely to increase exponentially. For example, data that is collected in the AI process will have to be carefully secured. And businesses will have to start implementing security perimeters beyond the walls of the office, as most employees work remotely. In the post-COVID world, data security is a top priority.
7). An evolution in retail
We think e-commerce has had a major impact on the retail sector, but there are changes still to come. Through the use of computer vision and Internet of Behaviours technology, retail businesses will be able to provide personalised services to their customers. We might see brick-and-mortar stores replaced by a 'contactless sales mode', where all interactions are carried out digitally. And, an extension of that, manufacturers could start cutting out the middle man - traditional stores - to implement a direct-to-customer model. According to Gandzeichuk, the rise of e-commerce was the first step in the transformation of retail.
From collaboration and communication to interconnectedness, we're sure to see many developments in technology in the post-COVID world.