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2021 Trends in the Electronics Industry: What You Can Expect This Year

April 6, 2021

When the electronics industry evolves, the world evolves alongside it. The most groundbreaking technologies in the world are arriving every day in deceptively small electronics enclosures, and society shifts as they become ubiquitous.

But the feedback loop goes both ways, and technology is also shaped by the material needs of society. The coronavirus pandemic that has devastated the world for the past year has also caused some seismic shifts in technology, and you’ll see these in action in many of 2021’s most important upcoming technological trends.

What are the major tech trends you should know about as 2021 gets into full swing? The five we’ll discuss here are among the most potentially consequential.

1. Medical IoT

In 2020, the number of people receiving medical care through digital channels exploded as the pandemic raged, and in 2021, that growth is predicted to continue and create a $295 billion global market for digital healthcare. To ensure the many new telemedicine patients receive an excellent standard of care, medical device companies are avidly seeking healthcare IoT solutions that will allow them to connect with patients in new ways.

Monitoring chronic conditions is among the most important use cases for medical IoT, and smart wearable devices like glucose monitors will likely continue to climb in popularity. And with the medical IoT floodgates now fully open, many new innovators are envisioning a whole world of critical medical functions packed into tiny silicon chips and plastic enclosures.

Data management has turned out to be a huge challenge, thanks to the new influx of information arriving from telemedicine and IoT sources. Medical technologists are working to ease the burden on providers of managing and interpreting these enormous amounts of data, and machine learning is likely to play a critical role in IoT-based diagnosis and care management, thanks to its ability to find patterns in a sea of data points.

2. Working from Home

You knew this one was coming, possibly because you yourself may have been working from home for most of the past year. Large-scale reorganizations are sweeping many industries as one workplace after another pivots to a partial or even fully remote model. Naturally, with this shift comes a huge surge of demand for technology that facilitates remote work.

Video chat has been the subject of the most discussion. Apps like Zoom and Google Hangouts got a serious trial-by-fire in 2020 as millions of new users logged on at once. But now that some of the kinks have been worked out, this suddenly massive market will see even fiercer competition, including a recent entry by WhatsApp into the desktop video chat sector.

But video chat is far from the only part of the tech sector primed for a WFH frenzy. Cloud software for collaboration and project management will likely have another banner year as businesses continue to increase their use of these tools. On the employee end, the likely announcements of big desktop computer products like Apple’s new iMacs featuring proprietary chips seem perfectly timed, and the market for wireless mice and keyboards should also see big sales as people deck out their home offices for long-term use.
3. Playing from Home 2020 saw people confined to their homes—not just during their working hours, but their downtime as well. Many interesting cultural phenomena developed as a result, from bands livestreaming concerts to office happy hour going virtual. Whether live streamed concerts will retain popularity is uncertain, but some kind of expansion of virtual socialization platforms seems likely. From apps that allow people to play board games virtually to the mega-popular gaming voice chat app Discord, virtual socialization platforms are hot. What’s interesting is that many of the most popular ones are outside the sphere of social media. But what about the virtual reality/alternate reality technologies we’ve had several years of hype for? VR and AR had a relatively quiet year in 2020—Animal Crossing was far bigger in terms of cultural clout. But sales figures for VR headsets and games are growing every year, and it seems more than ever they’re just one breakout hit away from becoming ubiquitous. 4. Fintech FrenzyFinancial technology, or fintech, has been introducing one innovation after another. 2020 saw the industry continue to move at a breakneck pace, and 2021 promises more disruption and more big deals. 2021 already began with one of the wildest financial stories in recent memory as legions of retail traders from the Reddit forum r/wallstreetbets wreaked havoc on actual Wall Street. The stock trading app Robinhood has become the forum of choice for a retail trading renaissance, underscoring the degree to which fintech has made sophisticated financial products available to the average consumer and investor. Digital payments are another hot area of fintech development. Demand for digital payment apps skyrocketed during a year when nobody wanted to handle cash or get too close. And with an ever-growing variety of goods available through omnichannel eCommerce, these technologies will likely remain prominent even after we can take the masks off. Digital payment companies will be there in 2021 to scoop up the revenue from processing all of these transactions. 5. 5G Turns the CornerDespite a lot of excitement, the performance of 5G in the U.S. has, thus far, been pretty unexciting. 2021, however, has already seen a record number of 5G phones released, with market leaders like Apple and Samsung’s flagship models shipping 5G-ready. Sales responded well, meaning consumers and phone manufacturers alike are ready to bet on 2021 being the year 5G goes truly mainstream. Plus, you can see the 5G towers going up across the U.S. in major cities every day, and you’re going to see more of those tall towers with an electronic project box attached as the year goes on.So far, the news looks reasonably good on the U.S. 5G rollout in 2021. Industry reports predict almost half of all phones will be 5G-capable by 2022. Combined with major carriers continuing to steadily build out their 5G capacity and increase the speed of their 5G networks, many analysts think this will be the year this long-heralded technology finally starts firing on all cylinders.

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About the Author

Kate Began

Kate Began serves as the Director of Marketing & eCommerce for Polycase. She oversees the customer service representatives, assists with product development and leads the marketing efforts from the Avon, Ohio headquarters. Kate is also an avid Cleveland Indians fan!