2021 is a new year to look forward to, and with that comes a whole new range of trends to anticipate and participate in. Being in a COVID-19 climate, certain aspects of technology and how we use it will change.
Here are the top five of those tech trends that we believe will dominate 2021.
The battle for privacy
Apple has long used privacy to differentiate itself from its Silicon Valley competitors, most notably Google’s Android operating system, which is in part funded by user tracking and advertising. But with iOS 14, Apple is not just emphasising privacy on iOS, it is forcing the rest of the industry to play by its rules. iOS 13 started showing users how often an app requested location history, and iOS 14 takes that a step further. A new App Transparency feature, coming in 2021, will show users exactly how often an app requests data, and more importantly how often it shares that data with third-party apps and services. Expect a lot of users to be shocked at how many apps on their phone contact Facebook or Google, even if the app has no link to either company.
TikTok continues to grow & becomes more about commerce as well as entertainment.
TikTok has been in the news a lot recently, and the service is experiencing the kind of growth we haven’t seen in years, probably since the debut of Snap or Instagram. Will Tiktok reach the level of a Snap, something cool the kids use, or will it breakthrough to Instagram levels of users, something installed on almost every smartphone? Either way, social media has been stagnant for years, with the dominant player, Facebook, swallowing competition and innovation, so it’s great to see a new challenger emerge.
People taking more power over their personal finances
Big banks have been slow to embrace new technology, and most had to be dragged, kicking and screaming into Apple Pay support. That’s just one of the reasons “digital-only” banks have taken off. These apps targeting young people are built as apps first, without worrying about legacy code that traditional banks need to deal with. That means they can innovate faster, adding great features like simple budgeting, rounding up change into a savings account, or splitting the main account into a bunch of sub-accounts, to work with budgeting plans from The Barefoot Investor. The big banks are adopting most of these innovations, but the innovations will always come to the virtual banks first.
Smaller, Private Social Networks
As social networks evolve and mature, expect to see more people taking their discussions to smaller, private channels. Facebook saw the trend early, and began focussing more on private groups than the news feed. The purchase of Whatsapp was another mark that they understand not all people want or need to post publicly. Slack and Discord are taking advantage of these private groups, and both are working hard to become the defacto platform for communities built around topics, games, or workplaces.
Covid-19 has forced many workplaces to reimagine the office. Companies that fought working from home and flexible work arrangements had no choice but to embrace these practices at the start of 2020. With community spread low and a vaccine on the horizon, expect companies to start returning to offices, but with a much-reduced capacity and new reasons for commuting. Companies like Dropbox are using the office just for collaboration now, as they find their workers were more productive working from home. Others are staggering their workforce across the week, so someone is always on-site. The companies that embrace the hybrid workforce will become the most productive in 2021.
Women Love Tech would like to thank hosts of The Helpdesk, Peter Wells and Tess Bennett, for their article.