After over a year of social distancing and being advised to stay at home, people across the country have adapted to a new world of home working, online shopping and endless Zoom meetings. As the UK prepares to ease lockdown restrictions, attention is turning to the ways we will use technology after the pandemic.
In their 2020 report, McKinsey & Company discovered that the “responses to COVID-19 have speeded the adoption of digital technologies by several years.” From developments in automation, sustainable tech and cyber security, here are our top three trends we would like to see post Covid.
Sustainable tech creating a better world
Sustainability will be one of the major focuses in tech trends across the next 30 years. The race is on for the UK to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and with it comes the rise in low or zero carbon technology (LZC).
Companies looking to switch to greener tech can safeguard their survival and growth strategy whilst lowering their emissions. These developments are particularly useful in buildings, making properties more energy efficient and helping to save avoidable costs.
Of course, transport is one of the biggest contributors to CO2 emissions. Nature rejoiced as reduced commuting to work led to a fall of 30% to 38% in carbon emissions according to research from DecarboN8. Earlier this year, the UK Government brought forward their ban on vehicles powered entirely by petrol and diesel by five years, from 2040 to 2035. In London’s environment strategy, there are plans to introduce local zero-emissions zones, with hopes for this to be expanded by 2025. We’re looking forward to the latest developments across these sectors to help make a healthier, greener and better world.
Cyber-tech security – a growing concern for organisations
As many of us began to move indoors following Covid-19, so too did cyber criminals. In fact, cyber attacks saw an exponential rise in 2020, with hacking incidents in the UK rising by almost 20%, taking the total to 686,961 attempts on average to breach cyber businesses’ online systems.
The Government additionally reported that 2020 had been a record-breaking year for the UK’s £8.9bn cyber sector with Matt Warman, Minister for Digital Infrastructure, commenting “The need for cutting-edge cyber security has never been greater and this resilient sector is growing, diversifying and solidifying its status as a jewel in the UK’s tech crown.”
As people continue to adopt a flexible approach to working, more emphasis and education on how technology can protect networks and devices from breaches is needed. Companies must begin to look at securing employees’ home networks to prevent future attacks. For example, online collaboration programmes such as Slack and Microsoft teams present a high risk of cyber attacks according to Safeguard Cyber’s 2020 Digital Risk Survey.
Most worryingly, cyber security is now a matter of life and death. Healthcare has been discovered to be the most targeted area in cyber security, with Tenable reporting that ransomware was responsible for 46% of the breaches. As the Government invests in UK cyber security, innovation in tech can help to save not only data and information, but also lives.
The rise of automation and AI
Automation will become a key feature for companies with work becoming more cloud-based due to remote working and it is needed to ensure teams work efficiently in the future. In a study by software company Nintex, 44% of respondents said better equipment in their home office would help to automate repetitive tasks leading to higher productivity.
With increased online activity since the pandemic began, the need for improved customer services is imperative. Smarter artificial intelligence is leading to an enhanced understanding of consumers’ behaviour and language, with chatbots reducing customer service costs by up to 30% according to Chatbots Magazine.
In manufacturing, AI and automation will help deliver “zero-error outcome(s) but also benefit manufacturers by bringing down costs and surging output” according to Industr.
Ultimately, Covid has accelerated the use of digital technologies and with more people online than ever before, businesses that start investing in newer methods will stay ahead of their competition as opportunities arise.
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