Over 3 million patents are granted each year, according to the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO). That is a staggering number, and whilst not all of those tech ideas make it past the paperwork stage, a decent proportion go on to change and enrich the lives of consumers the world over.
Innovation is the lifeblood of business. Whatever it is you do, it’s absolutely essential to set yourself apart from the competition and coming up with new and inventive ways of solving problems is one of the best ways to make it big. That couldn’t be truer this year, either, as the COVID-19 pandemic has seen businesses struggling to compete in an increasingly crowded online environment.
Every industry witnesses major developments on a semi-regular basis, but it’s perhaps the tech industry that thrives the most from innovation. With this in mind, here are the top tech developments from 2020 that could just change the way we live our lives.
Lost in translation? Not this year!
Among this year’s most exciting tech releases has been widespread release of high quality in-ear translation tools. With products stemming from innovation houses such as Waverly Labs, wireless earphones have been taken to the next level with real-time translation that makes it possible to converse with other global citizens regardless of whether you speak the same language.
Whilst there have been products of this type circling business communities for some time now, 2020 has seen the first real entry of portable translation technology into the consumer market. As internet networks get faster and memory chips get smaller, it seems that we can expect much more translation tech to make its way to our ears – and that can only be a good thing.
Edge computing goes beyond the cloud on tech
Everybody knows about cloud computing, and most modern businesses make good use of it to store files and log on from home. Despite the popularity of cloud computing and storage, though, there’s now a new kid on the block.
Edge computing recognises the shortcomings of cloud computing by reducing the latency that occurs when transferring data from an individual device to a data centre for processing. Bringing the computing operations closer to home, edge computing can be used in remote locations and the hardware can even act as a mini datacentre.
2020 has seen a variety of businesses take their first steps into this new processing world, and the big players are now starting to get involved in what has so far been a start-up driven game. There can be little doubt that there’s more to come from edge computing in 2021, so businesses would do well to keep their eyes peeled.
The payments revolution in tech
As national governments have moved to lockdown entire countries to prevent the spread of COVID-19, eCommerce has witnessed a remarkable climb in popularity. People are looking to shop online, now more than ever. Whether the high street can ever return to its former busy glory is a doubt held by many business owners, and now retailers are looking to the internet in the hope that they can turn their fortunes around.
With such large volumes of online transactions, some retailers have found that their systems and payment solutions simply aren’t up to scratch. With these problems in mind, it’s good to know that payments really are changing. From accepting cryptocurrency payments through to investing in an eCommerce payment gateway, businesses have found reliable and profitable ways to close transactions online.
Even if we do see a mass return to physical commerce, it’s unlikely that retail payments will ever fully return to their previous state. Social distancing guidelines have arguably caused cash use to plummet, and with most retailers having already secured contactless payment solutions, those that don’t use the technology really do risk falling behind.
Unmanned vehicles and remote-control devices are nothing new, but drones have seen a huge rise in interest during 2020. As people have been stuck at home, thoughts have turned to logistics and delivery – with it becoming increasingly complicated for ecommerce firms to schedule the pick-up and transport of products and packages.
According to Facts and Factors, the drone package delivery market will grow to a total value of over £4 billion in the coming years. Even major supermarkets and more traditional retailers are getting in on the action, with Tesco offering drone deliveries in Ireland as of October 2020.
It seems very futuristic, but widespread drone deliveries really are within reach – and who knows, maybe your next grocery shop will be delivered by air.
With so many products and inventions making their way onto the commercial market during 2020, it would be impossible to adequately detail each development that has been made. Despite this, it’s clear that the coronavirus pandemic has not dampened our curiosity as inventors from the world look to their next projects.
With numerous potential COVID-19 vaccines now making their way towards the final stages of medical testing, 2021 is shaping up to be a bumper year for innovation. The only question left to ask, is how can your business get involved?