2020 was an even more unpredictable year than 2008 and its last crisis. A year ago, the danger of a pandemic did not loom on the horizon, and the whole world thought that everything was going according to plan. We had clear economic, political, and technological leaders whose scale of influence was also quite clear.
However, a small outbreak that escalated into a global disease proved that everything can change in a few days, and outsiders can free up their places for yesterday’s leaders. Talking about the current and future global leaders, the only thing we can do is to make some logical bets. Here are the countries that have great chances of becoming tech leaders in 2021.
The Only Thing That Is Unambiguous
During current post-pandemic conditions, the only thing that can be said for sure is that the leader in technological development will be the country that defeats or at least curbs the coronavirus. Of course, with the help of technology. Very soon, we will observe a situation where innovations developed and implemented to combat the pandemic will be used further and further in order to build a more advanced economy.
Here are a few trends in information technology that have already been adopted by many countries that have a lot of chances of becoming a tech leaders the next year. .
- Remote work. The need to quickly adapt to the remote work model has become a real challenge for many companies, including those involved in the creation of innovations. Many technology brands have already decided to continue to work remotely until the end of the year or even forever. This means that the first trend of the modern IT market will be the creation of more and more advanced applications for remote work and collaboration, for example, based on augmented reality. And perhaps the peak of the popularity of Zoom will also become a thing of the past.
- Remote Services. More and more companies are starting to think about how to organize the provision of services remotely, as well as how to attract and retain a client without personal interaction. The only way out is specialized applications that facilitate the customer experience. For example, virtual fitting rooms for retail or AR-powered car dealership solutions to touch, test, and buy the car remotely. Demand creates supply, which means that these are solutions that will be developed worldwide in the nearest future.
- Telemedicine. In post-pandemic conditions, the minimization of human contact remains relevant. Telemedicine is already a reality. In the near future, we will also see the heyday of distant counseling, diagnosis, and even surgery. Plus, robotic hospital assistance, AR apps for doctors and nurses, wearable IoT devices for remote monitoring, and more medical innovations.
- Robots and drones. This is a strong trend in development which we will also observe in the near future. Robotic cafes, unmanned and non-contact delivery, assistant robots in shops and supermarkets – all this can provide technological power, and most importantly, prevent a repetition of the quarantine situation – both globally and within a particular country.
- 5G. At the moment, this is the most progressive and promising data transmission technology, which will be especially relevant for companies forced to work with large volumes of data in real-time. It is expected that 5G will become a sought-after technology for telemedicine, remote medical services, and the financial sector. Many countries have already begun deploying 5G ecosystems, and this can largely determine the vector of their further development.
- AI and its predictive capabilities. Artificial intelligence was a trend even before the pandemic, but unfortunately, we could not use it to predict the economic consequences of an outbreak, which initially did not portend trouble. In the current environment, the country that uses artificial intelligence in the most reasonable way will benefit. AI will provide an opportunity to monitor non-obvious insights (both at the state and business levels) and develop response strategies before the consequences become irreversible.
Here are a few countries that have already taken these trends into service and embarked on the path of technological development.
China was the leader in technological development in 2019 and most likely, this trend would continue in 2020, but well-known events became an obstacle. Isn’t it a suspicious coincidence that a country with a second leading economy and strong technology has become a hotbed of a pandemic that has quickly grown into a global one? Proponents of conspiracy theories would happily agree with this statement.
However, regardless of whether the virus was an accident or a planned attack, it managed to knock the soil out from under China’s feet for a while but failed to completely destroy the economy. Even despite the recent pandemic, China has already managed to control the virus spread. Surely, they used technology to do it. For now, China is looking for ways to rise up the economy and technological advancement, and there are great chances that it will succeed.
At the moment, China is actively developing and implementing technologies that we mentioned above – advanced medicine, robots, satellite surveillance, self-driving vehicles and drones, facial recognition, and mobile tracking.
In addition, experts say that China is on the path to self-determination. The era when it was the center of the global forgery of goods ended. At the moment, the country is looking for ways to produce new, most popular products in the field of information technology, for example, chips and semiconductors that can provide their automated and robotic infrastructure. In this context, the pandemic has become the factor that will only accelerate further growth.
The USA suffered worst because of the coronavirus, however, they still have their Silicon Valley, and the top IT companies’ headquarters are located there. The USA will be able to take leading positions again but only if they cope with the consequences of the pandemic. According to the most realistic scenario that experts predict, America will only be able to start rebuilding the economy by the end of 2020.
However, there is more optimistic news. Hitachi and Microsoft form a strategic alliance to develop next-generation digital solutions in manufacturing. Of course, they will be enhanced by artificial intelligence, the Internet of things, predictive analytics, and new features for remote control.
In addition, doctors and scientists are already using advanced Intel technologies, which are based on the idea of a supercomputer capable of working with insane data arrays. They are studying coronavirus comprehensively, and there is a chance that America will be the first vaccine developer, which means that it will quickly regain its leading position and receive huge profits from sales
Japan’s economy has always been self-sufficient. Almost everything they do, they do for themselves, as well as in order to increase the prestige of the country. However, this did not prevent the Japanese from having a third developed economy in the world. The three main sectors of the Japanese economy are directly related to technology – the automotive industry, finance, and electronic equipment.
Japan is one of the current tech leaders and it doesn’t seem to suffer too much. If we compare the effects of the pandemic in Japan with the consequences for China and the United States, Japan is the least affected.
For now, the country is actively developing a 5G network to power a lot of state and commercial companies. And since the scope of 5g data transfer is wide, there is a chance that Japan will become not only tech but also economical and medical service leader. In addition, 5G is a true life preserver for medicine. Being a technology that provides almost instant data transfer, it will become a real basis for telemedicine, virtual and augmented reality in medical services, medical IoT devices, which means it can become one of the panaceas for coronavirus and return the Japanese economy to its previous level.
It would be wrong to lose sight of India, even if everything is obvious enough. At the end of the 20th century, the first assumptions about India’s superpower 2020 were made, but experts say that they were not supported by either scientific or empirical data. It was naked patriotism and nothing more. Even if a pandemic outbreak had not driven a specific Indian economy even lower than the poorest slums, it would not have become a leader in global technology development. At least neither this nor next year.
A country whose nominal per capita income is five times lower than the global average cannot become a superpower. As well as the country with the largest gap between the rich and the poor.
As for India’s technological talents, everything is also quite controversial. Yes, successful startups have been implemented here, as well as other countries see India as a potential outsourcing partner. It is sad to talk about this, but it seems that India has a personal understanding of the information technology definition. Any development always means a benefit, safety, and quality – but try to ask Boeing to share some insights firsthand.
The pandemic also hit Singapore’s economy. However, the good news is that the recession they observed was the worst in Singapore’s history exclusively. That is, it does not even make sense to compare the situation in Singapore with the situation in America. Against the American background, we can assume that the country did not even feel significant changes.
A month ago, the government made a statement that it plans to restore 80% of the economy by the end of June 2020. At the moment, they are convinced that it is necessary to catch current trends (yes, those that we talked about at the beginning of the article) in order to adapt to changes in the global economy and build an even stronger domestic economy.
In this regard, there is still a piece of good news. Over the past years, Singapore has been an attractive destination for talented developers from around the world. They chose this country as a destination for relocating and finding new opportunities right on the spot. In addition, high-tech technology brands have also hired people in Singapore, mainly because it is one of the most stable countries in the world.
Once the borders are open, there is a chance that this trend will continue, the demand for talented developers will go up, and other prosperous companies will also be attracted here.
Perhaps, of all the countries that we have listed, Singapore has the best chance of becoming a leader in technological development after China.
Western Europe has long been a talent pool for offshore outsourcing. This is the place where a lot of technically talented young people are living. For now, they have great technical skills and experience in working with Central European and American customers. However, some countries of Western Europe have a chance to become tech leaders if they stop selling their knowledge abroad and start applying them within their native countries.
For example, Ukraine, which is an attractive partner for outsourcing development from abroad, uses pandemic challenges to create its own technological solutions, one of which, by the way, is already used by the World Health Organization. Most Ukrainian startups are focused on treating coronavirus, protecting doctors, and keeping track of patients’ contacts (without identifying individuals as China practices).
Of course, Ukraine is unlikely to become a technological leader already in 2021, but there is every chance that the country’s attractiveness as an outsourcing partner will increase several times more due to the perfect combination of price and quality, as well as high demand for new technologies that are designed to cope with new, post-pandemic challenges.
As you can see, a lot of expert assumptions remain just assumptions. The thing is that it is impossible to make accurate predictions when the global economy is faced with an absolutely unprecedented crisis. The technological development of many countries by 99% will depend on whether they can cope with the consequences of the pandemic, how quickly they can do it, and whether we can prevent or at least mitigate the effects of the second wave.
But there is an optimistic forecast. A critical situation makes us think, invent, and implement faster. Ultimately, the leader will be the country that will create the largest number of effective technologies to combat the virus, and thereby open the way for further development.