We have finally reached the end of 2020, and with it, Digital Agent’s first technology review! While it was a difficult year, it was also a year of incredible innovation and adaptation. A lot of this innovation came in the form of technology that helped us feel together when we had to stay apart. For instance, The Verge just named the webcam as the “Gadget of the Year.”
As we prepare ourselves for the new year ahead, let’s take a look back at the technology that got us through 2020. From consumer products to better business IT, these picks are at the top of their class, according to your Digital Agents.
We now have ready access to instant, digital communication, from a simple text to a high-definition video call. In fact, when it comes to social media, many people feel like the problem is actually disconnecting. But with many people quarantining and working from home this year, we have still struggled to connect in crucial ways. Here are the top two programs and devices that helped our staff overcome communication challenges.
Loopback 2 by Rogue Amoeba
Steven Cervantes, IT Support Specialist
“This app can take any and all audio sources, inputs and outputs, and route them in any way you want with full flexibility on volume control—while keeping the integrity of full resolution stereo,” Steven says. “I use it with Zoom when I need inputs and outputs for a mic, desktop audio, audio interface, and a digital audio workstation to send through one source. It’s like an entire digital broadcast studio in one program. Works great for project presentation, movie night, and virtual games with friends!”
Apple AirPods Pro
Lori Phillips, VP of Marketing
“Apple products; people either love or hate them,” Lori says. “I was on the fence until I got my AirPos Pro. I have moderate hearing loss in one ear and severe hearing loss in the other and the sound quality of my Bluetooth hearing aids were just not cutting it on the endless Zoom calls in 2020. I got my AirPods Pro in August for my birthday and what a game changer. The sound is crystal clear and they pair easily with my laptop.”
While many of us transitioned to working from home this year, not everyone had that luxury. And it certainly was not a luxury to everyone; many have struggled to adapt as their work life and home life become nearly indistinguishable. Thankfully, in this technology review, you will find tools to keep your work organized and accessible no matter where you are doing it from.
VMware Virtualization Products
Brian Bell, Director of IT Field Services
“Working from home has extended our support day, because there is no longer a delineation between the office and home; the day does not end at 5pm unless you make it end at 5pm,” Brian says. “The challenge has been good and the rewards sweet if you can find a way to make it all work. From a tech-in-the-home standpoint, my most productive tool has been my home VMware server.”
Jeffrey Rugon, IT Engineer
“This past year, we have seen new, portable devices that last much longer without needing a charge,” Jeffrey says. “Part of this is due to more efficient equipment with less power consumption, but most of it is due to better lithium batteries. We are, however, approaching a point where there is less and less improvement that can be made with lithium batteries. IBM research has announced a breakthrough in battery technology that it says could make lithium-ion batteries a thing of the past. The new technology can charge incredibly quickly, has low flammability, and contains no heavy metals, making it far more environmentally friendly than current battery technology.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has been tough in so many different ways. While the disease itself presents risks, quarantining often meant tough times financially and psychologically. These are a few of the ways we found to cope.
EKG and Pulse Oximeters on Wearable Tech
Josh Gerber, Senior Sales Executive and Marketing Coordinator
“Many new smartwatches and bands are being released with advanced health monitoring that was previously only available to hospitals and healthcare facilities,” Josh says. “Now, high-risk patients with heart or lung conditions can monitor those conditions 24/7 without the risky trip to a medical office. Additionally, people with chronic conditions have extra information when battling or self-screening for Covid-19. While this tech is in its infancy, it could certainly be a game changer when we’re able to trust the accuracy of the data. When wearable health monitors can get critical patients the help they need without clogging up waiting rooms and unnecessarily exposing more people to pathogens, we’ll fully realize the potential of this very cool tech.”
Video Games and Virtual Socialization
Kate Lewis, Sales and Marketing Coordinator
“This is a shout-out more generally to 2020’s top video games, but especially to breakout hits like Among Us and Fall Guys that it really seemed like everyone could play,” Kate says. “It was a way to have a shared, cultural moment that I hadn’t felt since quarantine started. Gaming has been the best way to stay social and have fun as my city goes through cycles of lock-downs. If I want to play something less competitive but still socialize, I can start a voice or video chat over Discord and meet up on a friend’s island in Animal Crossing or Minecraft. Having such a rich virtual world at my fingertips has helped me cope with seeing so little of the outside world this year.”
Your business can only work as well as the technology it runs on. Our Digital Agents understand that better than most. If you enjoyed our technology review, you can find more suggestions for tech that can boost your business and improve your personal life on our blog. If you are working from home, start with our security recommendations for remote workers.
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