The spread of COVID-19 in 2020 will have a long-lasting impact on our way of life. Many new ways of living and working that were introduced as a necessity in slowing the spread of the virus proved to be preferred, even as we progress toward vaccinations and herd immunity.
In 2021, we will most certainly see further development of smart cities. The mayor of Paris brought the term “15-minute city” to popularity during her reelection campaign. She described having neighborhoods within a city where you could play, work, and live within a 15-minute walk or bicycle ride. As more people worked from home in 2020 than ever before, the 45-minute drive commute has been exposed as unnecessary for many. This trend will continue to shape urban planning. For example, cities across the world like Brussels, Montreal, New York City, Seattle, and more have introduced over 20 additional miles in bike paths. Expect to see more shared-ride programs, more and better-shared biking like Citi Bike in New York City, and way more electric scooters.
As popularity in micromobility soars, the automobile industry continues to innovate. We will see big progress in autonomous driving in 2021. Honda, Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, and GM (just to name a few) have already made strides and continue to advance in making, improving, and or distributing autonomous vehicles. In fact, Ford is planning an autonomous driving cars ridesharing service launch this year.
Visual collaboration platforms like Zoom have become the new norm. As demand grows and consumers become more accustomed to apps like this, the market will give us new platforms and advancements on the ones that have already gained extreme popularity in 2020. Some of these new tools will likely include artificial intelligence (A.I.), augmented reality (AR), and/or virtual reality (VR).
The use of A.I., AR, and VR, in general, will continue to rise in 2021. AR avatars, AR indoor navigation, remote assistance, virtual sports events, eye tracking, and facial expression recognition will continue to rise this year.
These are just a few examples, but there will also be advancements in telehealth, e-learning, and 5G infrastructure. The new technology we’ll experience in 2021 spurred on by the coronavirus pandemic is vast – the tech landscape will never be the same.
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