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The four technology trends you need to know about in 2021 - and one to miss

By Miguel Caires, Director of technology



The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

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December 21, 2020 | 7 min read

We’ll remember 2020 as the year where we remembered to appreciate connection with our friends, family and community. But what was the technology that kept us going as we migrated to working and shopping at home - and taking part in all those video quizzes? And what will we be talking about in 2021? Our technology team at Beyond Cassiano Surek, Miguel Caires and Alex Abbott share their predictions.

Thomas Claeys


It’s taken a long time for blockchain to shift centre stage, but as people increasingly trust algorithms, which it's based on, its time has come. Decentralised finance will continue to grow over the next few years because of the increased demand for online financial products, but it will need to continually address the balance between decentralisation, security and scalability.

Increasingly, government bodies are leveraging blockchain for their activities, moving from incredulity to embracing the technology. With this, we’re going to see regulation surrounding blockchain become ever more pronounced. Our client reported this year that Google Cloud is taking steps to become a network block producer, a sign that the world’s largest companies are committed to ensuring that information on public blockchains is secure. In five years time, using blockchain could feel about as edgy as banking with HSBC.

By Cassiano Surek, CTO Beyond

Customer learning experience

Consumer sales have seen major disruptions in 2020 due to Covid-19 and new restrictions the pandemic has brought to in-person interactions. Businesses have been pushed to accelerate adoption of digital solutions as replacements for traditional aspects of the sales cycle. Attracting and educating customers on the benefits of specific products and features has required a digital-first approach, with e-commerce solutions integrating video, webchat and even augmented reality. For complex products that require training, including consumer electronics, automotives and software, companies are investing in Learning Management Systems - or tailored equivalents designed to meet the goals of their specific learning experience- to provide customers with instructive content. These LMS solutions allow businesses to create custom branded courseware, training programs, documentation and video guides to deliver complete digital learning experiences. And with big data and analytics, companies can implement in-depth tracking of customers on their learning journeys to rapidly gain insights and improve their offerings.

As restrictions on in-person shopping and in-person learning begin to relax in the post-pandemic future, digital learning experiences for customers will continue to grow in popularity, with new opportunities to enhance e-commerce and post-purchase experiences.

By Alex Abbott, engineering manager and solutions architect

Cloud-based tech

The world shifted irreversibly in 2020 as so many of us migrated from our old workspaces to predominantly work from home. Beyonders scattered far and wide; I now head up technology from our Lisbon hub. That, of, course, is only possible with greater use of cloud-based technology, including workplace applications.

With the rise in ecommerce we’re seeing cloud-based platforms pushed and we’ll see their full potential through 2021 and beyond. Cloud native technology will continue to power digital transformation: by the end of 2021 60 per cent of companies will leverage containers on public cloud platforms and 25 per cent of developers will leverage serverless, according to predictions from ForresterNow Predictions 2021: Cloud Computing report.

Technology design is evolving in tandem and we’re building modular, composable architectures that can shift and transform in an agile way, not dissimilar to how we build multi platform, multi stack software. As Google Cloud Partners, we design our composable architectures with plenty of flexibility, but primarily with people in mind.

By Cassiano Surek, CTO Beyond

Health tech

Health tech shows no sign of slowing down.

From the machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence critical in rapid vaccine creation, to Google and Apple joining their efforts to create contact exposure technology, and the mathematical models to calculate R numbers and predict second waves, health tech has dominated this year’s news cycle.

The status quo of “going to the doctor” transformed from attending in-person appointments to virtual sessions with their doctors, leaning on apps like Babylon Health, Ada, WhatsApp and FaceTime - and Echo for prescription delivery.

Apps including Calm and Headspace saw a sharp increase in users as people tried to combat the side effects of lockdown, such as stress, anxiety and loneliness. Wearables have now reached a level of maturity that allows users to monitor blood O2 levels, measure heart rate and ECGs, detect falls and track sleep.

At Beyond, we believe in technology for the greater good. Recently, we enjoyed collaborating with Artrya, a health tech startup which uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to help clinicians rapidly and easily diagnose patients with stenosis and plaque that can ultimately lead to coronary diseases.

Health tech is increasingly instrumental in helping people manage their personal wellbeing: it’s improving the quality of work for medical staff—and ultimately saving lives.

By Miguel Caires, director of technology at Beyond

And one to miss... the video call

We can’t sign off from 2020 without mention of the video call. It might not be new technology, but it definitely became more popular this year. We’re still a bit scarred from the quizzes at weekends that marked the first lockdown. Wait… What? You’re still doing them?

Next year, hopefully, the video call won’t take centre stage. They’ll still play a fundamental part in our work lives - the old ways of going into an office five days a week are unlikely to return - but when it comes to socialising we’re all experiencing video call fatigue and people are eager for face-to-face interaction more than ever.

By Miguel Caires, director of technology at Beyond


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Beyond is a design and technology agency that builds world class products for the digital age. We help our clients make better versions of themselves.With studios...

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