This year has been something else. Over the past eight months, the entire world has been turned upside down and forced to adapt. There is a tradition to discuss new tech trends at the end of every year, but this time, the impact of technology is not abstract. Sure, AI, the Internet of Things, and Blockchain are still a thing. But 2020 has forced other, more mundane technologies even on the biggest technophobes – think of older adults trying to join a Zoom convo to talk to their grandchildren. There is no coming back now. This year has been the year of technological boom, especially for the entertainment industry. So, what has changed?
Many of us have not seen our coworkers in person in months
Until this year, working from home had been mostly for the IT industry and independent contractors. But not anymore. Except for essential workers, who were still commuting day after day even at the height of the lockdown to keep the world functioning, most professionals switched to remote work. Over time, we have grown accustomed to Zoom, Slack, and Google Hangouts. Awkward online meetings are now the top meme theme. Experts agree that the remote work trend will outlive the pandemic, yet it has also raised serious privacy concerns. Cybersecurity and confidential computing is expected to be one of the main digital trends for 2021.
Online gaming and gambling are more popular than ever
For decades, one of the top small talk topics had been sports – how the Knicks are doing this season; who is killing it in the NFL; and what the Super Bowl predictions are. Not so much this year, though. With all major sporting events canceled, sports have temporarily lost relevance. Thankfully, eSports and video games got us covered. Twitch, the most popular live streaming platform for gamers in the world, had a 20% traffic increase in March and continued to grow afterward. The same goes for iGaming. With land-based casinos in quarantine, online casinos akin to SlotsUp have become more popular than ever. In turn, since the Supreme Court of the United States lifted the federal ban on sports betting, and eleven states legalized it, eSports has seen unprecedented revenue growth.
It is no longer weird to have an online party or a DJ set
Because of the pandemic and global lockdown, social gatherings, not to mention concerts and big parties, have been off-limits for months. In many countries, they still are. But people are social creatures, and not having anything to do on a Friday night has been daunting. Luckily for all of us, Zoom and other, previously obscure platforms for group video chats have come to our rescue. Just look at the numbers: between January and April, the daily traffic has grown 73.3% for Nextdoor.com and 79.4% for Houseparty. Most of us have had a weird experience of attending a friend’s online birthday party or a band’s ‘live’ virtual performance.
Online streaming platforms are more relevant than Hollywood
Remember how we used to rush to the movie theater to see a new blockbuster and discuss it with friends over a cocktail after? Good old days. Movie theaters have reopened their doors for viewers only recently. For months, all we could do was enjoy a new show on Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, or Apple TV+. As a result, all major D2C subscription services have increased their subscriber bases and are expected to grow further in the next few years. If the Oscars want to be relevant, they need to switch their attention to the small screen, really.
So, What’s In Store For 2021?
Basically, we will likely keep doing everything online, while the tech industry professionals will do what they can to accommodate our needs. In addition to confidential computing, some of the key digital trends predicted to surge in 2012 are 5G (largely because of the increased demand on video conferencing), motor vehicle automation, and the rise of eSports. Brace yourself – the future is coming.