This year, we worked alongside our client partners in navigating a sea of change – both leading from within their own organizations and across industries. From that continuous adaptation came much innovation. Here some of our March colleagues reflect on what’s to come with AI, virtual health, retail tech, smart living, and social media in 2021.
Hailey Melamut, Account Director
AI ethics and regulation will continue to be an area to watch in 2021. We’ve reached a time when virtually all big tech companies have pledged to address issues of AI ethics, ranging from data and algorithmic bias to explainability and transparency. Without regulation or operational ethics frameworks, we continue to see these issues persist. And while the U.S. government proposed AI regulatory principles in early 2020, we’ve yet to see implementation of concrete guidance or a national strategy. That puts the U.S. behind other international tech leaders and is something we should expect to see more development of in 2021 – both in terms of global leadership and to solve the pervasive issues of bias and lack of diversity in tech. These concerns not only disadvantage underrepresented communities but also hinder the development of innovative, inclusive AI products.
Evan Neville, Account Executive
Everyone’s asking what will happen to virtual care heading into 2021 and post-pandemic. Many patients will opt for this frictionless, convenient mode of virtual care, and it will be fascinating to see how providers cater to their new expectations – especially with patients more empowered by consumerization. Traditional providers who put temporary solutions in place to fill a need during the pandemic will turn to larger virtual care companies in droves to help adapt and scale. To remain relevant, some will need to form referral partnerships with the big digital health companies that are great at telehealth, but maybe can’t cover all specialties or levels of care.
Janabeth Ward, Account Executive
This year has exposed the need for technology to keep us functioning as a society – from the way we work at home to shopping online. And while the pandemic brought about many challenges, it also highlighted innovation and the opportunity for technology to drive new features and services especially across retail tech. In 2021, we’ll see the continued rise of automated delivery of food and goods. A few retail, grocery and restaurant leaders already have piloted drone and autonomous delivery programs. Now we’ll see even more hype with the deployment of autonomous vehicles and robotics to deliver us the everyday products we need and want.
Kelsey Johnson, Account Supervisor
As we look to 2021, smart living becomes a vital and inevitable part of the conversation. Our home is our everything now – our office, our restaurant, our retreat. The next year will bring an explosion of innovation that makes existing from home extra seamless, efficient, fulfilling, and more. Streaming devices will make big advances at the start of the New Year, with products like Roku and Amazon Fire TV Cube poised for significant market share. Smart plugs are a great gadget because they allow consumers to make existing devices “smart” – saving on costs and complexity. ConnectSense Smart Outlet2 is a sure bet, joining any tech in the smart living category as on-track for impressive success.
Amanda Fountain, Director of Social Strategy
Short-form video Stories are going to be popular for B2B marketing and communications in 2021. There’s a persistent conception that B2B audiences are vastly different than B2C. But B2B or niche audiences are also people looking for solutions. And most people don’t use social media for a single purpose – personal vs. business. Stories let brands share a narrative – how they can solve a business problem – with B2B audiences where it’s unexpected. A surprise & delight approach, along with the ephemeral nature of Stories, can engage and activate B2B audiences in a new way.