Matternet M2

Each year at CES, a top tech trends briefing takes place at the start of the show, and though this year everything’s on a virtual platform, I attended the event to learn about what’s in store for 2021 in the world of tech and innovation.

Digital Health, Digital Transformation, Robotics, Vehicle Technology, 5G and Smart Cities are the main trends this year.

Health Robotics

Digital Health

It’s no surprise given the past year that the universe of digital health continues to expand and fulfill demand. The global pandemic has accelerated innovation, including the option for consumers to take health into their own hands via reliable technologies.

While telehealth is evolving, device sharing with our health care providers is gaining momentum. There’s been a big jump in connected health monitoring devices (34% gain in 2021 projected, in a $845 million industry). In 2020, the 73% increase brought about $632 million in revenue.

Digital therapeutics expand care options, including software-based interventions, digital exercise programs and virtual reality-based mental health apps, all part of the scenario.

Oura Ring

Wearables can now be used as digital therapies. BioIntelliSense’s BioButton can issue potential COVID-19 patterns while Finland-based Oura Ring measures body temp, respiratory rate and sleep patterns.

Touch-less temperature screening capabilities are part of the current tech landscape while robot triage helpers aid frontline health care workers. AI intelligence within the health industry is also on the rise, helping to inform and drive patient prognoses. Both AR and VR are enabling health care providers to educate workers in giving physically-distanced patient care.


Digital Transformation

We’ve seen three key areas rise to digital transformation: fitness, education and courts.

In-person gyms have pivoted to online classes, schools and universities use group meeting platforms to hold classes and lectures, and court proceedings and hearings are held on group conference platforms.

Health Robotics
[L to R: Starship Technologies, PAL Robotics]


Robotics is a big part of the landscape, from cleaning to close-contact tasks. Robots are being utilized to keep spaces germ-free via UVD and UVC. Robotics innovation has been on the rise globally, from Estonia’s Starship Technologies to Spain’s PAL Robotics.

Hygiene robotics

It’s all about keeping the world safe from the pandemic, which has also increased demand for contactless delivery. Amazon launched Scout to deliver goods, while UPS and CVS partnered using Matternet’s M2 drones for medicine deliveries to elderly homes in Florida.

Tesla cybertruck

Vehicle Technology

We may not be travelling as much as we used to, but there’s a lot going on with mobility, connectivity, self-driving vehicles and electrification. Cellular V2X connectivity enables more opportunities in this area.

As the Ford F150 is the biggest-selling truck in the US, it comes as no surprise that the truck industry is launching all-electric options. Tesla’s Cybertruck and GM’s Hummer EV are just two examples of electric trucks on the market, and with each year, additional car brands are poised to enter the EV truck market.

5G global networks


There’s approximately 135 5G networks set up globally to date. By mid-decade, 5G should be up and running around the world. 5G-related jobs will also increase to 22.8 million (up from 22.3 million) over the next 15 years.

Smart Cities

Smart Cities

5G is just one ingredient of smart cities. Networked sensors, smart kiosks, data dashboards and contact tracing are key technologies within the realm of smart cities.

Touch-less and voice-enabled tech, cleaner air and surfaces, occupancy and social distancing as well as remote collaboration is going to figure prominently with a return to the workplace.

Automated doors and elevators, building upgrades with cleaner air (via smart filter air filtration systems and robotic cleaning) will feature in smart buildings, along with sensors that measure spacial areas to keep track of the amount of employees at any given time in a building space.

Visit CES online for more information.

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