5 Technology Trends to Watch in 2021

Chrissy Priest | November 19, 2020


2020 is almost over, and for many of us, that means good things are around the corner — especially when we consider what’s on the horizon for technology. While this past year has brought significant disruption to all industries as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it has also accelerated tech trends that were already beginning to take shape, such as contactless solutions fueled by IoT and cloud-enabled software.

There’s much to look forward to in the new year, so let’s take a look at the five top technology trends to keep an eye on beginning in January. 


Touchless & Frictionless Solutions

From mobile shopping and ecommerce to contactless access control technology, touchless solutions are permeating the lives of consumers, merchants, and property owners. While limiting human contact is an obvious plus for increasing safety measures for COVID-19, touchless processes are quicker and more convenient for users, making them a sustainable trend expected to last beyond the pandemic. An Accenture Consumer Payments Pulse survey reports that 64% of consumers plan to use a mobile wallet in 2020, up from 46 percent in 2019 —a 39 percent rise in the user base. Some of these apps include Apple Pay, Venmo, and Paypal. And for mobile payments, these “tap to pay” transactions are faster than chip-and-pin or chip-and-signature payments, and provide a safer solution as compared to a traditional transaction — creating promising avenues for businesses to explore in the new year. 


The contactless trend also applies to the real estate and multi-family property management markets led by self-guided touring software, which allows prospective tenants and owners to tour a property and unit without the presence of an employee. Thanks to RemoteLock’s integration with Pynwheel, multi-family property owners can seamlessly provide customized tours to prospective tenants without physical keys and with limited human interaction.

 Click to learn more self-guided touring with RemoteLock and Pynwheel. 


People Centricity 

Identified by Gartner as one of the three fundamental themes guiding technology trends in 2021 — along with “location independence” and “resilient delivery” — people centricity will serve as the undercurrent of all technology initiatives in the new year. 


“Despite the pandemic changing how many people work and interact with organizations, people are still at the center of all business — and they need digitalized processes to function in today’s environment.” - Gartner

While it may seem to counter the contactless trend, the trick will be sourcing solutions that accomplish both: People centricity will instead force industry leaders to find technologies that promote and complement human capabilities rather than replace them. Even with contactless self-guided touring, there’s opportunity to provide a human “touch”: crafting personalized messages throughout the tour, following up with a simple thank you, or leaving a small care package in the model unit. Businesses that identify human-centric strategies in every tech solution they source will be positioned for success — particularly those with people at their core, like multi-family rentals. 


Read our blog post to view examples of commonly-used property technology solutions paired with complementary human tasks. 


Physical Identity Access Management (PIAM)

Managing security and access — both physical and digital — across an entire enterprise is a challenge for many businesses. Often, there isn’t a process or a system in place to identify an employee’s status, class, or category at a company, especially when one of those elements changes (an employee is promoted, leaves the company, or is transferred to a different location). PIAM, or Physical Identity Access Management, merges the IT and physical security silos to grant managers real-time visibility into active employees and their roles, and allows for quick changes to physical access to office buildings and even specific rooms or floors. By 2022, the PIAM market is expected to reach $860 million, and with hybrid work-from-home models emerging from the pandemic, monitoring employee access and shifting roles will be more valuable than ever. A universal access control platform like RemoteLock can simplify this process for businesses of any size by aggregating all properties, user data, and permissions onto one single, easy-to-use platform. Managers can grant, revoke, and monitor all access points from the convenience of a mobile device, and can even track floor-to-floor access for elevators. Click to learn more about universal access control. 


Cybersecurity Mesh

As mentioned above, COVID-19 has impacted our work environments in more ways than one. This year, 5 million employees — comprising 3.6% of the entire U.S. workforce — are working remotely at least half the time; and by 2028, 73% of all professional departments are expected to have remote workers. This not only poses many challenges to business operations and daily processes, but also introduces new cybersecurity concerns since devices are now being used outside traditional working parameters. As told by Gartner, “the cybersecurity mesh enables any person or thing to securely access and use any digital asset, no matter where either is located, while providing the necessary level of security without hindering growth for the company.” In essence, cybersecurity mesh allows identity to become the security perimeter, making PIAM an extremely important opportunity for businesses in 2021. By 2025, Gartner anticipates the cybersecurity mesh to support over half of all digital access control requests. 


Distributed Cloud 

To many, mention of the cloud may stir up feelings of old news — but its capabilities seem endless for business and personal applications, and even more will be discovered in the new year. Cloud-enabled SaaS (Software as a Service) platforms are leading the charge, since these partners can control and execute directly at the point of need, eliminating unnecessary cost and hassle for companies using the service. From IoT devices, 5G, and the many different varieties of cloud computing (such as community cloud and global network edge cloud), 94% of enterprise businesses are already using a cloud service, and by 2022, more than $1.3 trillion in IT spending will be affected by the shift to the cloud. 


The Ultimate in Access Control

Discover an all-in-one, cloud-based access solution that enables contactless processes, people centricity, PIAM, and employee safety and security with RemoteLock. No matter your business size or the number of your properties, make sure you’re prepared for 2021 with a flexible, scalable, and easy-to-use access platform fit for the future. Contact RemoteLock today to see how universal access control can transform operations for your properties. 


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Chrissy Priest

Senior Writer


Chrissy Priest is RemoteLock's Senior Writer and Editor and specializes in bringing complex topics in tech to life. Prior to her roles in SaaS, Chrissy worked in account management and branding at a digital agency supporting brands like ADT Security, Mr. Coffee, and Sports Authority. Inspired by the power of human potential, Chrissy’s writing helps enterprise innovators identify cutting-edge technologies capable of driving meaningful business impact.