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FileShadow Predictions 2021: Amazing technologies will take remote work to a new level

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual series exclusive.

Amazing technologies will take remote work to a new level

By Tyrone F. Pike, president and CEO of FileShadow

It's a huge understatement to say that work-and life-will never be the same after the pandemic is over. The pandemic has changed how we interact with each other-will we ever shake hands again? Mask culture has become more familiar in the U.S., and the adage that we can all work through sickness is completely gone.

While remote work was acceptable before COVID-19, it has become the norm for almost all employees. Many jobs will stay remote if employees can complete the work at home. That realization has prompted many to leave major cities and their homes close to the office to move where they have dreamt of living.

Zoom, once an upstart, is now a powerhouse in the industry. It's a household name-basically a verb.

While Zoom is the technology that has received the most attention, there are so many other areas involved in remote work-your computer, screens, camera, mic, speakers, desk, lighting, chair, endpoint security, meeting security, storage, collaborative tools, and more. In 2021, new technologies will emerge that will displace many of the ones we consider standard.

Another factor is the change in network traffic with an increase in upload and download demand. Rather than all networks terminating in a corporate office and content sources, now traffic is originating from one home and terminating in another home. Network infrastructure will need to be enhanced to accommodate a more symmetrical upload and download capacity to handle video collaboration tools like Zoom. This is even more evident when multiple people in a home are participating in separate video conferencing meetings at the same time. This may require network providers to offer different rate plans with more upload capacity.

You might wonder how can any upstart technology replace something already widely used. That's the whole premise of Clayton Christensen's The Innovator's Dilemma. With a vast customer base, the incumbent is not incentivized to change dramatically, while the upstart, which is nimbler, can move and create new ideas.

Here are some examples.

Video and music streaming have overtaken almost all of the music and movie viewing/listening in a short period of time. It was just a few years ago that music downloads were the king of music consumption. With platforms like Hulu, movies are almost entirely streamed. Others have had to follow along.

3D Printing in the manufacturing industry allows companies to quickly build customized products for customers and adjust to market demand. General Electric uses 3D Printing technology for jet engines, and Boeing has included 3D components in its 787 Dreamliner. 3D printing will facilitate distributed manufacturing and just-in-time manufacturing.

I predict that areas of remote work will be disrupted in 2021. Which areas? Time will tell. There are many technologies that are already adequate, but could use some significant upgrades-disruption if you will.


One area that could be extremely helpful is presentation. Right now, it's pretty clunky to move from video camera to shared screen and back and forth. Better technology could make that more seamless. You could move from presenter to presentation to whiteboard to video. Companies could build a complete production studio within your smartphone or computer. Presentation could move to a whole new level for the average person.


While video conference technologies do help us collaborate with others, we're missing the water cooler and deskside collaboration that naturally occurs at the office. Between Zoom, Slack, email and Google Hangouts, it seems like technology might be maxed out in virtual collaboration. Although, we've said that in the past about radio, CDs, TV and other technology. With AI and VR, a company could easily create a tool that can displace existing collaboration systems.


For larger companies, storage was a huge issue. How can you both store documents and keep them secure when there are thousands of employees working from home? At least the larger companies have the resources to create solutions. The smaller companies are having a tougher time finding solutions. AI and machine learning have combined with cloud technology to create ways for all employees to store documents and find those documents wherever they are and regardless of the folder structure. Look for more solutions to be created in 2021.

Cameras and Lighting

Improving cameras and lighting would be an easy improvement. At the first of the remote work phase of the pandemic, employees were mostly using cameras found on their laptops, tablets or even phones. Now that remote work will continue through the rest of the pandemic and beyond, we will focus more on the quality of the camera and good lighting for our calls. New cameras/lights are coming out to help us look better while on Zoom. Maybe we'll see more filters to help smooth our wrinkles.


Speaking of effects, many have enjoyed the virtual backgrounds that Zoom provides, so we look like we are taking a call from the beach, the desert or even from a fancier home! After a while, it's annoying as people's hands disappear, or as someone turns into a ghost because of their lighter skin color. Many are resorting to "green screens" to make the effects look better. A company is bound to develop better technology to change the backgrounds, so it doesn't look so amateur.

It's easy to say that remote work has changed, and the office will never be the same again. However, when you look at all of the components involved in remote work, there is room for numerous companies to innovate and create better solutions. You never know, maybe the technologies we considered forefront today, like Zoom or Google Meet, will be a thing of the past. Entrepreneurs will figure out better ways to manifest new technology to help us work remotely as if we were all standing at the water cooler talking or as if I were coming over to your desk to check-in.


About the Author

Tyrone Pike 

Tyrone F. Pike is the Founder of FileShadow, Inc. and serves as its Chief Executive Officer and President. With more than 35 years of experience in the high-tech sector, Tyrone has held numerous top executive positions in software, software systems integration and networking infrastructure companies, including Solid Instance, Sparxent Inc., Bravara Communication, Inc. and InterNAP Network Services Corporate. In 1996, he founded and served as its President and Chief Executive Officer. As Founder and Chairman of LAN Systems, he guided its successful product line and then negotiated the sale of LAN Systems' software division to Intel Corporation and its systems integration division to RR Donnelly & Sons. His expertise spans across a wide range of domain areas: cloud computing, messaging, archiving, disaster recovery, networking and Web services. He serves as the Chairman of the Board of Solid Instance, Inc. He has served as a Director of Citrix Systems, Inc. and Sparxent Inc. Tyrone holds an AB in Architecture from Princeton University.

Published Monday, November 23, 2020 7:40 AM by David Marshall
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