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This is Why I’m Optimistic For 2021

By: Stefan Voelkel

Say whatever you want about it, but 2020 was a major catalyst for change. Being thrown into unchartered territory rebooted our collective BIOS and set the course for systematic transformation to take place.


We’re not talking about small changes, either. When we saw the ecosystem we thought was flourishing was in fact stagnant, we uprooted the rotten bits and pieces. And now, we start rebuilding anew.


This evolution is the reason why I feel optimistic for 2021.


And to underscore my point, here are some radical transformations that did, and will continue to, affect every single one of us this year and beyond:


     By the time the year ends, 80% of companies will have doubled down on their efforts to migrate their operations to the cloud. These digital transformations are expected to be faster and more successful than those observed during the last ten years.


     While the entertainment industry as we know it may have taken a fatal hit, technologies which will serve to support alternative recreational activities have surfaced quickly and with vigor. Expect to be seeing more of VR, 5G, and seat concierge services.


     The future of the restaurant industry is going to be a little unusual (cloud-based merchandising) and more mobile (food trucks will be the next big thing) moving forward. The fitness experience will move from gyms to homes as yoga and physical training classes go virtual.


     There is now a worldwide consensus that workplace culture requires further looking into. The focus is turning to sustainability, productivity, and evolving practices.


     The debate over stay at home economy has been settled, and the idea of remote work being unconducive for productivity has been debunked. In fact, IDC has reported that over 300 million PCS have been sold in 2020, with PC use growing from one unit per household to one unit per person per household.


We had an entire year of lockdowns, which was—to everyone’s surprise—the perfect petri dish for innovation.


Especially from an entrepreneurial standpoint, the world after the pandemic just hasn’t been the same. Competitive advantages have shifted dynamically, and sales models have had to adapt to the mostly-online, socially-distanced reality. 


Resiliency. This word has been thrown around frequently in the past year, and for good reason. Resilience-oriented innovation has turned into the litmus test of business success.

“In this new era — or the future forward — innovation will be a cornerstone of organizational resiliency,” explains Jeff Wong, Global Chief Innovation Officer at EY, “one that will drive a company’s ability to shift rapidly in response to unexpected events and evolving customer needs."


According to recent research, more than three-quarters of executives surveyed from different industries believe that the COVID-19 crisis will create new opportunities for growth.


Food manufacturers and suppliers that traditionally catered to restaurants are now supplying consumers directly. The entertainment industry has turned to streaming services such as Netflix, HULU, and Amazon Prime as lockdowns have kept theaters closed. Even places like museums and zoos are hopping on the streaming bandwagon to make up for the lack of visitors.


And this year, with the burgeoning need for automation in nearly every aspect of operations, SOLUM is launching four products that will heighten the potency of your innovation strategies:

Newton Touch is our response to the need for both sophistication and function, with its state-of-the-art touch screen technology and dynamic display. 

Newton Lite promises scalability and speed, and the protective outer case makes it the perfect label for high-traffic sections in your store. 

Newton SE pushes the boundaries of how labels can be used on the factory floor, and its extra visible LED caters to the needs of a fast-paced warehouse environment.

AIMS is a revolutionary ESL management system not only geared towards centralizing labels in all your stores globally, but also towards streamlining your organization’s existing processes.


Businesses have been forced to innovate fast, and for the most part, they have delivered. So much has happened in the past year that it feels like the bad has far outweighed the good. But has it really? 


How we as a society responded to all the challenges is telling of the direction we are going.


And this 2021, it looks like there’s nowhere to go but up.


Stefan Voelkel

Vice President of SOLUM Europe

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