To say that 2020 was a unique and challenging year would be something of an understatement.
New procedures, protocols and considerations have presented themselves to businesses and individuals, with adaptation and flexibility proving to be the key to surviving and thriving - in technology as much as in life.
While many of us considered an entirely new world of remote work and isolation, technology stepped to help us adjust and find new ways of working, studying and interacting. This change and ingenuity has had a visible impact in the PC and laptop industry both globally and a bit closer to home. Like other markets, the technology sector in Australia struggled with the disruption last year, but stood on its innate ability to innovate and has consequently come out the other side with new possibilities and opportunities.
As the majority of Australian businesses took to working from home (WFH) from March 2020 due to the pandemic, we saw a shift in both mindsets and technology adoption. According to Cisco research for APAC, less than ten per cent of employees worked regularly from home prior to the pandemic - showing that a number of organisations were either reluctant to encourage this way of working or simply not set up to do so. Employees recognised that they could no longer rely on legacy technology and needed a WFH set-up that allowed them to maintain productivity for the foreseeable future.
This shift saw an increase in the demand for PCs and laptops, with businesses and individuals keen to upgrade their existing technology and benefit from the advancements in features and specifications being demonstrated by manufacturers. I had seen a few arguments suggesting that tablets and mobiles provided the same functionality and would eventually oust PCs and laptops but these last twelve months have proven that to be anything but whilst seeing significant growth figures for the laptop market.
While Australia has taken steps to control the spread of the pandemic and many have started returning to offices across the country, research suggests that we have still spent far more hours in our homes than was considered normal even a year ago, both from a work and social perspective. We saw significant uptake in people turning to platforms like gaming and learning to use designing software etc., which helped to fuel the growth in the market as many adopted old passions or found new ones thanks to the updated technology available to them.
Ultimately, 2020 has accelerated innovation across the technology industry, and our role in that as a business is something that we are particularly proud of. We have seen great advancements in everything from video conferencing and collaboration tools, to specific WFH furniture, right the way through to the physical hardware people are now utilising.
Playing a role in this changing landscape, we launched our inaugural commercial series of laptops, unveiling a range of devices specifically tailored for business use. We listened to the feedback and desires of working professionals, recognising long battery life, portability and easy connectivity as just a few features that were essential aspects when choosing tech to support a modern working day. In our lifestyle category, solutions like dual-screen technology have been on high demand among content creators which is now available in our ZenBook range.
Flexible and adaptable hardware options are what consumers are asking for as they navigate the ongoing balance of working and relaxing at home. This year’s CES event was perhaps the best evidence of this new dynamic, coming to us virtually for the first time ever and showing a huge number of examples where customers were given greater choice in their PC and laptop options.
Particularly interesting was the increase in dual-purpose products, spawned by the capabilities of portable gaming devices. Gamers increasingly need their laptops to handle other graphics-intensive purposes like video editing and production. At the same time creatives, who use software like video and photo editing or 3D tools are starting to recognise the power of gaming laptops as beneficial for their work. This is similar on the commercial side of things too, as we can see a lot of laptops now being optimised for audio and video capabilities, with two-way AI noise cancellation and upgraded speakers in order to support the increase in video conferencing as WFH became the norm.
There’s no denying that it’s an extremely exciting and challenging time to be part of the PC and laptop industry. As businesses settle on what their preferred method for working will be over the coming months, and consumers consider future tech upgrades at home, we will continue to see the market grow overall. As a hardware designer and innovator, it's our job to interpret the next set of technical needs for our customers, and this last year has shown more than ever that we are ready and able to meet the challenge.