5 digital trends for 2021

The digital trends we’re likely to see in 2021, from 8K TV and digital reality in work and study to video doctor consults and smart devices.

It wouldn’t be a new year without a predictions post, so here goes with a bunch of predictions for the way digital and the internet will continue to shape most parts of our lives in 2021. If you like this kind of thing, have a look at the Deloitte tech, media and telecom predictions report.


If you’re still coming to grips with 4K TV, then you need to know its higher definition offspring is on it way. And apologies if you thought that ultra HD was unknowable and just HD, or even SD, seemed adequate. 8K resolution TVs and shows captured in this extremely high definition are on their way.

At 4K, very few individual mixes are visible so 8K promises an even clearer, crisper picture, although some people are skeptical that the human eye can distinguish between 4K and 8K. Added to that, the cost of TVs may be prohibitively high which means you can relax from worrying about having to replace your TV anytime soon. Use Netflix as a gauge on this one. If 8K starts to be promoted by the streaming giant, you know it’s becoming a thing. Until such time, avoid adding to the e-waste problem and hold on to your tele.

Digital reality

It seems as though ever since Sony brought out its virtual reality add-on, the PS VR, for its popular gaming platform, we’ve been hearing, and the Broad has been telling people, that this is the year VR and AR becomes a thing. Well it’s another year, so another prediction is called for.

The wonks at Deloitte predict that the market for digital reality headgear is heating up as immersive technologies gain ground at work and study. It reckons VR and AR, known collectively as digital reality or MR (mixed reality), headsets will double from 2019 levels, as will sales of related software and services. From training for hazardous jobs to the pandemic that’s keeping people apart at work and bored at home, this year is the year of digital reality, apparently. Games, TV, sports and more will further move into digital reality.

Video doctors visits

If last year was the year of telehealth over the phone, 2021 is expected to be the year when this matures into video-based telehealth consults. While we were all sheltering at home, it was a relief to be able to connect with a doctor, but a phone call just doesn’t cut it when it comes to discussing your health.

There will always be a vital role for face-to-face consolations with practitioners, but the convenience of virtual consults and the experience of 2020 has given new momentum to video consults. Some old-school clinics will drag their heels on this one, preferring to largely go back to the way things were when it’s safe to do so. But people, especially busy time poor, mobile comfortable patients will see clinics adopt video calls as part of their offering. And older people, who have suddenly become comfortable talking to loved ones via video chats, may also welcome this too.

It’s all about the Cloud

The interwebs may have saved our ass in 2020, allowing many of us to continue working and to stay entertained and connected, it would not have been possible without the Cloud. Kids going from text book one day to Google Classroom the very next day was unthinkable without widespread Cloud computing. Likewise our office shared drives and all the other things we shared, stored, uploaded, downloaded and collaborated on in our virtual lives.

In 2021 and beyond we can expect the laggards to keep themselves set up for Cloud access and for security and speed to continue to see improvements. New smart tools like AI and other intelligent services will run over the Cloud services to provide faster, responsive services. As Cloud services grow it will bring us closer to Everything as a Service – more platforms, tools and services available virtually.

Smart devices everywhere

Smart sensors recording and adjusting devices for the environment and ambient conditions, autonomous and self-driving vehicles, the growth of internet connected smart devices known as The Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, manufacturing, logistics and mobility are just some of the things that will develop as both the internet and fast mobile networks like 5G converge.

It may some like some tech-driven nightmare future where we can’t escape from everything being connected, and therefore potentially tracked and surveilled, or a brilliant future where things are safer, smoother and smarter. Or just both and that with every new development there’s a new issue to manage. The Broad will leave it up to you to make up your mind.

How did last year’s trends stack up? Here’s the digital entertainment trends predicted for 2020.

Main image credit: Javier Rodriguez from Pixabay.

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Rosalyn Page
Journalist, blogger and writer covering arts, culture, travel and digital lifestyle at www.rosalynpage.com and www.somenotesfromabroad.com.

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