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Telenor’s Top 5 Trends for 2021
January 25, 2021 News


As the world adapts to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, so must the realm of technology adapt to the virtual changes, so that nations can progress in spite of the circumstances. In 2021, a new generation of innovative chatbots are expected to make their grand entrance and these will be specifically designed to alleviate the loneliness felt by humans as they maintain social distancing measures.

According to Telenor Research, the Telenor Group’s research arm, 2021 will also be the year where we can anticipate Artificial Intelligence (AI) on a greater scale than ever before, with cities all over the globe implementing AI to optimise energy consumption in data centres and mobile base stations. In turn, this can help to build greener and smarter cities.

In a virtual media briefing session, Bjorn Taale Sandberg, Head of Telenor Research shared five trends that will probably be the main changes everyone will see and experience this year. The trends are:

  • Tech Supplements to Tackle Mental Health – As many struggle to cope with mental health issues due to lockdowns and the pandemic, Bjorn predicts that there will be an increased adoption and usage of tech devices to help people cope with issues. This includes wearables and devices integrated with AI that can bring positivity as well as improve their mental health status.
  • A Digital Spring for Green Tech – Organisations are realising the importance of having green tech and sustainability. As more companies commit to lowering their carbon output, Bjorn believes that technology in sector sensors, AI and robotics will also improve the way we do things.
  • Password Panic – As cybercriminals continue to wreak havoc, cybersecurity will continue to remain a priority for organisations. Multi-factor authentication and the importance of passwords are just some of the key learning companies will look to instil in their employees, especially for those working remotely.
  • Society as a Service – Remote work will see an increased demand for better connectivity. With most organisations allowing their employees to work fully remotely or on schedules, having the right tools and work-life balance will be key.
  • Mind the Education Gap – Virtual education will continue despite the many challenges faced in ensuring everyone is able to have access to education tools online. Despite the shortage of devices, Bjorn expects the digital divide in education to significantly improve in 2021 as the connectivity gets better.

Interestingly, when asked why 5G was not seen as a trend despite the potential it brings in enabling the trends above, Bjorn said it’s because “5G is already happening and will enable all these applications in 2021 and going forward, especially when it comes to sensors and robotics”.

Anwar Ishak, Head of Digital IT for Digi, who was also present in the briefing added telco companies including Digi are looking to bring in new capabilities and expertise on new technologies. This includes sharing of towers and such to ensure connectivity is available to all in the country.

“Recognising the importance of connectivity as a driver for an improved digital future for all, Digi, along with MCMC, other telcos and relevant agencies committed to JENDELA to improve the nation’s digital infrastructure and connectivity. It is important to have a strong collaboration across the industry to ensure fast and efficient deployment, particularly in rural or more terraneous (sic) areas”, said Anwar.

With COVID-19 cases still increasing in Malaysia, Anwar added that Digi has also taken initiatives to ensure their employees are protected. This includes having a remote and scheduled workforce to ensure services are provided and available to customers at all times.

“Besides providing the necessary tools for efficient work, some other efforts include having [a] robust employee communications plan that includes a weekly bulletin, virtual monthly town halls and regular team check-ins. At the moment, Digi is looking into flexible working arrangements, but we are monitoring the best way of work to suit Digizens in their respective roles throughout the country”, said Anwar.