The year saw businesses use wireless technology to fuel innovation, setting the stage for even more ground-breaking applications in 2022.
The past twelve months were tricky yet transformative for industries across Canada. On one hand, quarantine closures and uncertainty remained for much of the year, making it difficult to plan ahead. On the other, communities became more accustomed to pandemic-style operating practices like remote work and an increased reliance on technology. In fact, new tools disrupted some of the most established industries and practices, setting the stage for an even more revolutionary 2022.
Lessons and a look ahead: 2021 trends set to expand in the new year
A hybrid model is more than just balancing home and the office
Prior to the pandemic, a hybrid approach to work meant that employees could split time between an office location and their home. With greater emphasis on digital tools to facilitate remote practices however, hybrid truly means that workers can communicate and contribute from anywhere. The past year saw forward-thinking companies investing in more reliable internet, stronger cyber security and cloud-based data solutions to accommodate an evolving work setting. Such a move allows business to operate without borders and continue effectively, regardless of location, time or disruption.
Of course, remote work was not without its challenges and 2021 also saw worker burnout as employees found themselves staying on-the-clock longer with less of a division between office and home life. Here too, tools like Microsoft Teams brought easier methods for collaboration and breaks, letting individuals schedule time away with the click of a button.
Network security is critical, but it doesn’t have to be complicated
With the increase of remote work and data transmission, cyber security became even more important to leaders in recent years. Between firewalls, VPNs and intrusion prevention systems, network protection can seem overwhelmingly complex. Opting for an all-in-one solution became a simple method for tackling a difficult issue.
Another IT trend was the growing reliance on cloud storage for more agile operations and less of a reliance on expensive legacy hardware. Though beneficial, the practice also comes with unique challenges including cloud sprawl where companies pay to store unused and old files or opt for unauthorized services. Because of the prevalence—and danger—of this activity, more businesses are proactively adopting a cloud strategy, a move that is sure to continue and expand in the future.
Smart building innovations will reimagine impossible tasks
Smart technology is often thought of as the addition of technology to create new functionality and while that is true, it can also solve long-standing challenges. Smart video surveillance goes beyond site recording and can actually detect workers without proper PPE. Before a pin-sized pipe puncture expands to flood a building, a waterline detection system can automatically shut off the water for repairs, addressing a billion-dollar problem.
Such innovations are part of an ecosystem of solutions, according to Tess Van Thielen, the Vice President of Advanced Services at Rogers for Business. Rather than limiting use to a few standard automations like timed lights or temperature, intelligent buildings capture and apply data for informed, real-time decision making. This means the applications are not only more widespread, but also more personalized, a trend that will continue to grow.
The year ahead
A measure of uncertainty will continue in 2022, but 2021 proved businesses can prevail with innovative solutions and new perspectives. Multiple industries showcased their ability to address concerns and challenges in ways that boosted their efficiencies and output. As workplaces continue to refine their operations in this new era, it is evident that 2021 is only the beginning for technology-driven transformation.