One silver lining of 2020 was how much it advanced the tech world, seeing how badly people and businesses depended on it to stay connected, profiting, and somewhat sane. From TikTok to cloud migrations, here's some of our favorite ways that the year's tragic events accelerated digital technology adoption and what this means for 2021.
We hope your 2021 has been off to a fantastic start! Here in the tech world, things are pretty optimistic.
The sight of the number “2020” probably evokes the essence of a dumpster fire for a lot of us by now. Going to a crowded party meant risking much more than waking up to embarrassing blurry Snapchats. The pandemic and fear of murder hornets had us staying at home, turning to Zoom and outdoor activities for human contact.
It’s no surprise that the steep rise in staying indoors and social isolation prompted several advances in how we use digital technology and advances in technology itself. While it’s important to acknowledge the tragic losses of 2020 and the hard work of our essential workers, we can always take a moment to appreciate this year’s positives.
Here are a few ways 2020 has positively influenced digital technology and vice versa:
We can go to way more events without having to leave home.
Nearly every event had to go virtual, including workshops, panels, concerts, conferences, and even dance parties. While Zoom happy hours are generally much less exciting than the real things, they’re usually much better than nothing. In fact, holding events virtually opened up new opportunities, such as geographically expanding an organization’s audience. Some of us were finally able to attend those dance workshops we never would have worked up the patience or funds to drive to before! And virtual networking events come with the convenience of just pasting your LinkedIn URL in the chat.
Chances are that some of our favorite educational webinars or sushi-making workshops are being held by people thousands of miles away, people whom we never would have met if their events had only been in-person. Even when all the bars are (safely) packed again, digital events are likely to stick around. This will make it easier to expand globally and leave a smaller carbon footprint.
Plus, making just some of your events digital will save you time in regards to arranging everyone’s travel plans, so you’ll have some extra time to scale and innovate.
Telehealth became more widespread.
Ever felt like you really had to go see a doctor, but was in a state where you really couldn’t risk driving yourself or hopping in someone else’s car? Nowadays, a doctor’s visit over the phone or Zoom doesn’t sound as incredulous. The quarantine even digitized many visits to healthcare facilities, leading to improved convenience and access.
Telemedicine can help curb the spread of further disease in general beyond just COVID, as waiting rooms can be small and crowded. It can help assuage the worries of anyone worried about picking up more illness at a facility or further spreading a potentially contagious condition. It’s no wonder why in April, 43.5% of Medicare primary care visits were provided through telehealth as opposed to 0.1% in February!
Tech workers worked from home and will continue to do so.
Since many jobs at tech companies require little more than a fast internet connection and a computer, many of their employees were quickly sent home in March. As quarantine droned on, it was discovered that working from home was actually working out for most people. Studies actually show that productivity at home is often higher than average!
It’s not surprising that many companies, mostly in tech, have declared that their employees can indefinitely work from home, even well after the virus is gone and 100000-person music festivals are raging again. Among those making the switch are tech giants Square, Facebook, Twitter, and Shopify.
With this extra productivity and flexibility -- as well as an improved mood from all the meetings that should have been emails actually being emails -- who knows what else they’ll create in 2021?
TikTok blew up, giving us plenty more bite-sized useful and entertaining content.
If you’ve come across 8-60 second videos on social media, chances are they had originally been posted on TikTok. The short video sharing app’s downloads increased by 51% in March and continued to surge afterwards as quarantined people sought some extra entertainment and human connection. Beyond dancing teens, TikTok offers plenty of hilarious, adorable, and even educational content such as puppies jumping over stacks of toilet paper, sketch comedy, and people spreading awareness of important social issues.
For content creators, it offers opportunities for video production that doesn’t require the budget or commitment of a professionally shot YouTube video. Many unknown professional actors found a way to showcase their talents without attending a single audition, grabbing the attention of agents from some of the world’s biggest talent agencies.
Plus, TikTok gives you way more opportunities outside those Zoom calls to get dressed up!
Aside from Zoom, many tech tools and services boomed in business as they seriously helped companies securely work from home.
Project management and instant messaging softwares such as Asana and Slack became our main means of workplace communication. With employees now working from personal computers rather than office-provided ones, many businesses opted to use cloud-based services such as Google Drive and AWS to centralize, store, and protect data.
For example, CRM star Salesforce recently spent much of their virtual Dreamforce conference discussing how their myriad of services helped companies virtually connect to their customers and employees. It’s no surprise that so many companies found themselves newly adopting or increasing their Salesforce use to virtually train new employees or gain deep insights into their audience’s behavior to more sensitively address their needs. It also helped many healthcare companies, some of which have been administering COVID tests, more accurately identify at-risk groups and even build care management apps.
You can read more about how Salesforce customers have been handling COVID with it here.
The usage of AWS Workspaces, a scalable and affordable cloud-based desktop-as-a-service solution, surged. Resorting to cloud storage took away the need to maintain on-premises infrastructure you’d have to leave the house to maintain yourself. The data’s all encrypted within the Amazon Virtual Private Network and none of it is stored on your device.
All the above has dramatically accelerated the digitization of customer interactions and internal operations.
Even when things return to the point where we won’t be hesitating to attend a 10000-person music festival with a mere three inches of personal space, our 2020 digital gains will still be around. According to consulting firm McKinsey, companies throughout all sectors have gained three to four years of digitalization in COVID times alone. Digital customer interactions, including Zoom events, were three times as likely to compose over 80% of overall interactions. And successful companies were more likely to report experimenting with new digital technologies and receiving critical business information more rapidly.
Whether those interactions are coming from your Zoom happy hours or your amazingly human-like chatbot, helpful customer interactions are key to growing and sustaining your business. At the intersection of collaborative software, Zoom, cloud migration, CRMs, and your own apps and websites, lays the foundation of a more interconnected, scalable, innovative, and worldly future.
Whenever you’re ready to take the next step in adapting new technologies, don’t hesitate to reach out to us so we can take care of your website development, Salesforce, or cloud migration needs so you can spend that time figuring out how to grow next.