This year has been one of the most eventful years in the last few decades. The most significant event being the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which caused a seismic shift in the world. Consequently, most countries had to make adjustments and adopt a new way of life. A lot of activities that were solely or mostly physical in nature have shifted into the online space. Even casino gambling is now stay-at-home leisure as platforms such as the True Blue casino allow people to gamble from home.

When we reflect on all the happenings of this year, we definitely would find out that a lot of popular trends emanated from the pandemic. However, some trends were driven by other forces. In this article, we’ll be looking at the top trends right now in four major categories:

· Technology;
· Business;
· Media;
· Fashion;
· Entertainment.

Here are some of the most popular trends right now.

businessman-5669431_1280
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Technology Trends: Adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence involves giving machines the ability to execute their functions intelligently, just like a human would. This tech has proven to be a great help during these times as with it, businesses can now support their clients all round the clock with AI serving as customer care representatives. Almost every major company uses chatbots that are powered by AI. These bots save time, manpower, and of course money.

Asides from this, in terms of leisure and relaxation, AI has been incorporated into many video games thereby bringing the gamers closer to reality. For those who have introduced it to their homes, it is said to reduce stress as it can in the form of a robot perform house chores. While robots like Roomba and Worx have been around for some time, others such as Aido are relatively new and becoming more popular every day.

Popularity of 5G and IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) is also a noteworthy trend. Its effects have been felt strongly in the medical sphere as the use of sensors by patients enables their condition to be easily monitored by their doctor and makes emergency response efficient. More efforts are being put into what has the potential to be a game-changer in the tech industry: the 5G Network?

Referred to as a next-generation wireless technology, the 5G network looks to change the way we work and live. It promises speed, taking long processes, and completing them in a manner of seconds. It also has greater bandwidth, giving it the ability to handle more connected devices than the previous networks. 5G plays an important role in the success of IoT as both technologies work hand-in-hand. As is expected of technological advancements, both systems are still undergoing improvements and upgrades.

Increased Dependence on E-learning

Tech has had a solid place in learning for a long time. The use of the internet to research on projects and assignments, projectors and ACTIVboards in classrooms, and apps to support the process makes learning more fun and interesting. The pandemic didn’t create the dependence on e-learning; it only increased it.

Despite many institutions opting to conduct lectures and classes online, education within the four walls of a school is not yet extinct. It’s still considered by many to be paramount because it facilitates the learning process and its impact cannot be overlooked. However, e-learning made new waves due to the global pandemic as schools were shut down for most of the period. There was an introduction of online classrooms through apps like Google Meet and Zoom.

Class notes are given out in document form, and for further learning, there are recommended Youtube videos. Assignments, tests, and examinations are given and conducted online. These measures have allowed learning to continue despite the pandemic.

Because of its convenience, e-learning has become part of our lives even with the reopening of some schools.

Remote Working

Firms and organizations were not left out of the whole “stay at home” rule as of course, individuals are the force of work. Business activities were also affected but just like education, something needed to be done. Remote working has always been in existence, but for only certain kinds of jobs such as programming, writing, e-business, and so on.

More traditional firms took to remote working as there were already set goals for the year that needed accomplishing despite the pandemic which posed as a setback. Employees were made to carry out their daily activities, routine tasks, and duties from home which couldn’t have been easy.

It’s no surprise that many prefer to work at the office because of the lack of excessive distractions and access to all required tools for their job. The issue of communication with colleagues and team members while on a job wasn’t left out of the number of issues working from home would generate. Both employers and supervisors cherish immediate feedback from their subordinates.

Thankfully, with the aid of some very useful tools such as Zoom, Clockify, Google Drive, Slack, and many more, working from home has become quite convenient for lots of people.

More meetings, presentations, and interviews are being held virtually. Many companies have made the transition to remote work a success. With this development, organizations have been able to track their short term goals to see how effective working from home can be.

Huge Online Business Presence

A business’s presence could be physical, virtual, or both. The internet has always been an effective space for so many businesses as you are allowed to advertise your brand and gather as many customers as the business demands. A lot of businesses have benefited from this avenue, especially with the introduction and use of social media marketing.

Despite its potential, some business owners, especially those who provided one-on-one services, chose to stick with physical operations.

These days more business owners are abandoning their physical form and going full-on virtual. Businesses like the NZ Online casino, have proven that a previously physical experience like casino gambling, can become fully virtual and still offer satisfaction. For companies such as massage parlors, that have no option but to operate physically, social media marketing offers a way out. SMM is one of the various platforms offered by the internet to allow them to advertise their businesses and expand their customer base.

Businesses that have a compulsory physical presence now enjoy an upsurge in virtual activities. Grocery stores, gift shops, restaurants, fashion houses, salons, etc. are all vying for a bite of the internet cherry. At this rate, not having an online presence no matter your product or service will put you at a great disadvantage.

Media Trends: Use of Social Media as a Tool to Effect Change

It seems like it’s been ages since social media was nothing but a place to upload filtered pictures and memes. Right now, it’s used to engage teeming populations around the world about a desired change. This year has shown that social media has been and can be a tool to effect and create an awareness of a particular type of change so witnessed around the world. This was evident in the use of #BLACKLIVESMATTER and other related hashtags.

Essentially these hashtags were found to come in handy at the time of resistance against oppression. They found expression on TV programs, printed shirts, simple discussions, football matches, and basketball games. Most importantly, voices were being heard which was the main point from the start of the movement. Safe to say, social media now serves as a tool to globalize a struggle for change. Persons who were averse to reading traditional papers now have important societal information on their timelines.

trend-1445464_1280
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Unfortunately, with all the advantages came along some shortcomings such as the dissemination of fake or unfiltered news and rumors. Social media apps like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and Instagram have become established tools for societal and political change. Apps such as Snapchat, Tiktok, Lomotif, Triller may not be as established, but ultimately serve their purposes when called upon. All these apps still bring fun and laughter to the faces of individuals with viral challenges, artiste mimics, as well as photo and video editing. If you had a lockdown in your city this year, you would most likely have participated in some of the fun.

Rise of Online Radio and Podcasts

Traditional radio may be dying off, but it would seem online radio is growing stronger every day. Podcasts and online radio have been in existence for some time already. However, the pandemic has helped these media channels to create their own legion of followers. Popular online personalities now leverage podcasts as a means of discussing their takes or views on topics that interest their followers. Content unfiltered and educational could reach listeners anywhere in the world.

Understandably, we cannot underestimate the power of the impact of programs that have been aired and listened to by the teeming subscribers. Worth mentioning is the flexibility these podcasts and online radio seem to offer; a winning ground compared to your regular radio stations whose programs cannot be listened to the moment the time is past and there happens not to be a rebroadcast of the same program.

Fashion Trends: Off-the-Shoulder and Puffy Sleeves

Off-the-shoulder has been a trend from last year and is still currently in vogue, tried out in different styles and patterns. Currently, the newly-attached design for off-the-shoulder wear in blouses or gowns is puffy sleeves. This has been the new fashion style and can be made with several fashion wear materials like chiffon, satin, and denim. It’s a beautiful design that suits both casual outings and dinner dates.

Crochet knitwear

Most especially in bra tops, crop tops, beach wears, full blouses, or off-the-shoulder tops, knitted wears have gained entry back into the market. Majorly in sweaters and cardigans, it trended a while back. However, in this season, it has won the heart of fashionistas. Men are not left out as vests are also made out of wool. This new trend has replaced the wear of sleeveless underwear from cotton, satin, or silk materials. Knitwear can be worn alone or desirably with a suitable jacket, which makes it more flexible.

Entertainment Trends: Event Buffering/Streaming

Due to the highly infectious nature of Covid-19, most countries encouraged, or downright ordered their citizens to avoid large gatherings and restrict visits to other people. This led to the cancellation of several events and concerts. In the wake of this disappointment, video streaming skyrocketed. As a result of the lockdown, many people decided to seek their entertainment from the comfort of their homes. Various video streaming Giants such as Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Hulu, Disney plus among others rose to the occasion as they provided movies and series in high resolution at affordable prices.

According to a survey, 55% of online streamers now watch more videos online than they used to. Many industries are jumping on this bandwagon as they are embracing this change by organizing virtual concerts and holding football games in front of virtual audiences. Even with the promise of a vaccine as soon as early January, you can expect this habit might be too hard to die.

Global Recognition of Korean Entertainment

Suddenly the South Koreans have leveled up their game and are seriously making waves in the entertainment industry. Their entry into the international community of musicians with their upbeat music has had a considerable impact as they begin to trend more than any other Asian group. Of all the K-pop groups making waves internationally, BTS has been the most successful and widely accepted.

K-dramas have also pierced through the heart of the global audience. The movie, ‘Parasite’ led the way when it won an Oscar for Best Picture, a feat never achieved by any foreign-language film before it. Now, Netflix-verified K-dramas with their amazing characters and interesting plots are gaining the spotlight.

Shift to Cloud Gaming

Video games have reached such a stage in terms of realism and intrigue that both adults and teens can enjoy them. As new entries are created, such as the latest games made to run optimally on newly-launched hardware like Sony Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X, it becomes harder for gamers to keep up. Not everyone can afford to upgrade to the latest-gen consoles. In comes cloud gaming: a gaming tech that allows gamers to play high-end games by “renting” hardware from an online platform. All you need is a good internet connection to stream the gameplay visuals on your phone, smart TV, or computer screens.

The heavy processing is the responsibility of services such as Sony Playstation Now, Nvidia GeForce Now, or Google Stadia.

No doubt, these trends, will make the rest of the year and the start of the next more interesting. From joining movements on social media to listening to good music and streaming amazing videos online, these trends are here to stay.