Shout! – Visual Media and Communication Trends for 2021

Firetree Visual Media January ‘Shout!’ Blog.

I don’t think I am going to be the only one glad to see the end of 2020 although it is an equally interesting start to 2021. Everyone business has been impacted in some way due to the Covid pandemic. Last year I wrote a blog on my predictions for media and communication trends in 2020, I am pleased that although I didn’t give enough credit to the rise in the use of Teams or Zoom to replace interpersonal communication, the blog did accurately predict the increase in voice assisted text, the rise of Stories on social media and the increased use of immersive media for business communication!  So what of 2021? This blog will consider the next 12 months in the new ‘Covid Normal’. There has been a dramatic shift in the use of communication technology to replace the loss of face-to-face conversation, what media and communication trends will influence our behaviour, our decision making and our business opportunity in 2021? This blog will look at:

  1. Internal Communication
  2. 5G/Virtual and Augmented Reality
  3. Work from home technology
  4. Robotic Drones
  5. Hyperlocal

1. Internal Communication

I predict this is going to be No 1 during 2021. There are going to be HUGE changes in they way businesses communicate internally during the next 12 months. As the workforce tries to return to office spaces around the globe internal communication methods will need an overhaul. There will be a global acceleration of the digital work place as business leaders search for ways to bring employees together. Covid-19 has brought about one of the greatest communication challenges of our time and good internal communication between employers and employees is important to a companies success. Good communication affects employee engagement and productivity, customer satisfaction and overall, the public perception of an organisation.

The pandemic has given rise to new interest in technology that has been around for many years but businesses had not had reason to embrace. 2021 will see an extension of this with businesses understanding the benefits of technology for remote communication. Traditional methods of communication like printed news letters, conferences, business briefings, boardroom meetings will not be as viable or as productive as remote working.  Consider site inductions by Virtual Reality, employee briefings by video, remote learning for health and safety training. Internal communications will need to embrace the challenge of a new working environment of increasing complexity. The need to maintain a social connection with colleagues and employees is essential but the mixture of remote working, office-based and on-the-road working means that new advances in internal communication channels the reach everyone instantly and new methods of maintaining personal connection will be embraced.

2. 5G


5G is about to become mainstream and in the post-pandemic world, businesses will be the first to appreciate the benefits. It was not until the need for remote working that business have appreciated the need for reliable connectivity and more bandwidth. In 2021, every major handset manufacturer in the UK is ready to release 5G phones. But 5G is not simply going to benefit those that need a more reliable service, it’s about to open new doors in terms of what’s possible. Advance technologies like augmented reality and virtual realty which rely on increased bandwidth will become a very viable proposition. To give a brief understanding of the terms, Augmented Reality is when computer imagery is superimposed over what the viewer is viewing in the real world, for example see this link to Converse’s use of Augmented Reality to try on different shoe types before purchase. (Link to article explaining Converse use of AR).  Virtual Reality is where computer imagery is used to place the user into an entirely computer generated environment. (Have a look at a recent Virtual Tour we created for Kelmarsh Hall Wedding Venue below). 5G will give a boost to this already booming industry and it has the potential to alter the way we interact with the physical world. Consider a world where a physical space for conferences, night clubs, exhibitions or retail become unnecessary, where ‘virtual spaces’ can be created to replicate whatever space you require, a space to meet and interact, a space to sell, a space to celebrate. Replacing the ‘actual’ with the ‘virtual’. We can expect to see rise in applications for this technology which involve allowing us to avoid potentially dangerous situations where there is a risk of viral transmission. Tours cancelled, sports fixtures called off leaves a big void in peoples lives, new immersive technologies means people can get their experience fix from virtual experiences. With high streets struggling with low footfall and on-line sales booming, 5G enables the potential for a new hybrid shopping ‘experience’ where consumers are able to not just purchase online but visit sites in a virtual space.  Did you know there is already a VR Solution for opticians to do eye tests entirely in virtual reality! (Link to article: ‘Virtual Reality, A new Frontier in Eye Care’).

Have a look at a recent Virtual Tour we created for Kelmarsh Hall Wedding Venue (Link to Kelmarsh Hall Wedding Venue) to showcase the venue to couples wanting to book weddings without a physical visit. Sales teams are able to ‘show’ couples around the venue using video conference technology, showing the features and benefits in real time from anywhere in the world without physical contact. Virtual reality and Augmented reality are industries that are set to explode in the coming years, Virtual reality and Augmented reality apps can be interrupted by network performance, however with the more stable connectivity that comes with 5G the adoption of new realities for employee training, virtual exhibition spaces for business promotion to virtual sales will make a hyper-connected, virtual world a reality and definitely something to expect during 2021.

Source: Digital Transformation Trends for 2021. Forbes.

3. Work from home







The trend to work from home will definitely outlast Covid-19. Business leaders have gained confidence in workforce productivity and the benefits that come from a workforce with increasing work flexibly. As companies begin to open, they will still be required to protect from outbreaks and potential ‘stop-start’s’ as we are seeing with the new National lockdown. Big tech companies like Google and Facebook have extended their work from home policies for 2021 and smaller companies will definitely keep new found flexibility a viable option. What’s made this possible is rapid deployment and development of smart ‘home working’ technology like Zoom/Teams/Webex.  As an example the centralised London based TV and media industry has moved swiftly to remote editing, moving a once central workforce around the UK with production managers and edit producers connecting with TV editors by video link and editors working remotely from media based in Central London. Consider the advantages to households during lockdown who benefited from watching new UK productions like James May, EastEnders and other UK produced travelogues and documentaries, all filmed and edited during the Pandemic and only viable through the media industries ability to quickly adapt to remote working. The explosive growth in these technologies is set to continue as companies realise they need to be better equipped to be able to communicate productively despite physical distance. Watch as these technologies battle for space over the next 12 months!

4. Robotic Drones

In recent years the emergence of robots in care and assisted living sector have been increasingly important when it comes to interacting with members of society who are most vulnerable to infection. Will 2021 be the year of the drone? Already we are seeing an increased use of drone technology for sites and surveys, a subject I visited in last months blog. (See link to blog on ‘Drone Inspection and Site Surveys’) Drones are improving processes across a wide range of industries and are already the preferred method of visual site survey because of the reduced risk in using drones to access dangerous locations and the significant costs reduction. 2020 already saw soaring stock prices on robotic technology. We can expect to see the start of robotic devices used to provide new channels of communication such as access to 27/7 home help, services such as cleaning and security and the future will see drones used to deliver medicine, to monitor footfall in public areas, to provide completely person-less deliveries. The benefits in using drones and robotics to limit personal contact will definitely put robotics on the trend list for 2021.

5. The Hyperlocal

This final trend on my list is one we have all experienced. The rapid expansion of our networks from local to global. During 2021 we will see boundaries and digital communication networks expand through the adoption of technology that doesn’t put a limit on borders. Large business enterprises are realising they have ability to operate hyper-locally, with regional business growing to expand into new geographies. The restrictions and barriers to business Covid has brought to business air travel have been mitigated with the global uptake of communication technologies that allow businesses to communicate instantly globally.  Hyperlocal businesses serve the local community but also have a large network on the national or global market, but it’s not just retail services, the ability to trade globally is becoming a reality for many entrepreneurs made possible by new digital networks and digital solutions. 2021 will definitely see a wide range of businesses and organisations dedicating time to design operation systems and communication systems that enable this to flourish in 2021.


I hope you found that interesting. Despite where we find ourselves at the beginning of 2021 with all the gloom hanging over business forecasts for the following few years, there are  many reasons to be positive. The advances in communication technologies we are making through our struggle to survive will greatly impact and shape how we do business in the future. If you are interested in the journey, please subscribe in the footer area of the website.

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