Another year, another technology roundup. However this list, much like the past few months, is anything but ordinary.

We’ve all had to work against the clock to develop new processes and protocols to keep our companies on track, even as the virus shut down offices and halted business travel. The disruptions have been numerous, but so have the technology solutions.

This recap of 2020’s fastest-changing technology offers a look at how we’ve stayed nimble and productive this past year.


Remote collaboration tools thrived

Working from home can make collaborating and maintaining company culture challenging. Thankfully, remote work tools have stepped up to that challenge, creating more efficient and spontaneous work environments in the process.

These WFH collaboration tools empower employees to go beyond communication alone, helping them make vital connections to one another as well as their work.

Some of the more notable collaboration solutions include:

 - Editing documents or presentations in real-time using the cloud.

 - Brainstorming as a group via virtual whiteboarding by simultaneously marking and contributing to a master document.

 - Centralising digital workspaces by creating a hub for remote employees to pose questions, offer feedback or share helpful content like they would in-office.

 - Streamlining communication with messaging apps to cut down on email and get help from colleagues.

 - Storing company collateral and working documents a cloud-hosted app where everyone has access.


Video conferencing platforms emerged

Whether connecting with customers, brainstorming a big project or celebrating a birthday, businesses large and small have relied on video conferencing software more than ever this year.

At the beginning of the pandemic, video conferencing apps saw a record 62 million downloads.

At the beginning of the pandemic, video conferencing apps saw a record 62 million downloads, according to Research and Market’s "Impact of COVID-19 on the Video Conferencing Market, 2020" report. That number has continued to steadily rise over the last few months.

And with more and more businesses moving to a hybrid office model, video conferencing platforms are likely to remain a workplace staple for the foreseeable future.

5G gained momentum

For years we’ve been hearing about how 5G networks are going to change our lives. Now that it’s had some time to mature, 5G devices are steadily gaining ground all over the world.

For instance, cell phones enabled with 5G technology are available with most major carriers. All promise ridiculously fast speeds and virtually lag-free response times, meaning no more delays on your video conference calls and almost immediate download speeds.

During the past few months the momentum has continued to build, and 5G fans are looking forward to the technology’s other anticipated long-term benefits.

As one CNET piece recently described, “Beyond a big speed boost, 5G has been referred to as foundational tech that'll supercharge areas like self-driving cars, virtual and augmented reality and telemedicine services such as remote surgery. It will eventually connect everything from farming equipment to security cameras and, of course, your smartphone.”


Biometrics enabled remote security

Over the last decade, biometrics has become hugely instrumental in security and authentication practises. From students and medical patients to employees and even prisoners, it’s being used for contactless I.D. purposes both online and off.

For the millions of folks still working from home, companies are relying on biometrics like iris and facial recognition to authorise usage of a company network or employer-issued device. It’s just one way they’re hoping to outsmart hackers whose sophisticated cyberattacks can pierce multi-digit code and some two-factor authentication processes.


Organisations rushed to the hybrid cloud

This year’s global health crisis has significantly increased cloud adoption. According to a new survey of 900 tech executives from KPMG and HFS Research, 56% cited cloud migration as an "absolute necessity, instead of piecemeal migrations of small datasets."

Specifically, whether it’s to extend the life of their existing assets and infrastructure, a means to avoid future service disruptions or both, hybrid cloud adoption is strongly preferred among most IT leaders surveyed.

Ultimately, how things will continue to change remains to be seen, though one thing’s for certain: The advancements set in motion this year are likely to be felt for many more to come.