We are all familiar with the negatives, be it loneliness or economic toll. Last year looked grim for many, but in 2020, new global technologies saw the light of day. R&D was in the spotlight, people rekindled old relationships and found new hobbies, some got creative, and ultimately we all pushed through. 2020 is a year we’re sure not to forget, even more so when we look at the positives!
2020 was disruptive for all fields. Many technologies proved themselves such as cloud, streaming, remote collaboration, and other tech pillars leading us into 2021. Let’s dive into a few key areas that saw exponential innovation and positive changes.
Imagine a lockdown a century ago: no phone, no video streaming, no tech news at your fingertip, nothing. In 2020, all of that was relatively easy-access. Smart homes, online communications, 5g… Last year saw tremendous investment in ways to make your life easier.
Blockchain & security
Blockchain’s popularity has continued to grow, and saw a surge in practical test cases in 2020, particularly in methods to track shipment, keep records, and secure data. What’s more, healthcare, banking, governments, education and insurance companies are implementing it. This means verifiable records of every input ever entered into the system, essentially establishing decentralized trust in critical areas.
2020 proved that blockchain was and is more than a buzzword.
Fiber was a slowing trend in 2019 that saw a huge burst of attention in 2020.
Telecom providers have been investing more and more in R&D, and continued to develop smaller and more efficient cables. Likewise, submarine infrastructures became a topic of interest, which contributed to more reliable bandwidth to satisfy the end-users. The worldwide increase in internet-usage encouraged competition, and aided make streaming platforms more accessible and affordable, among many more benefits.
Big Tech’s contribution
As much as the Big Tech (Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft) continues to be a topic of controversy, their contribution to 2020 helped many make it through the year. With millions of donations to relief efforts, medical investments, grants to small businesses and new hires, the big techs did their best to be a force of positive change in 2020. For instance, Facebook and Twitter prominently featured links to high-quality information from WHO, and Google followed suit. On top of that, with their continuous investment in R&D, new advancements saw the light of day, such as Amazon’s autonomous robotaxi, and its new ways to detect and treat breast cancer.
Engineers across the world keep inventing from home, and their ingenuity never cease to amaze.
New ways to work
Last year, many workers found a blessing in disguise in working from home; flexibility, free time to spend with the family (or binge-watch your favorite series), and sleep, to name a few. All of this wasn’t a smooth transition for most, but many companies were able to make it thanks to the 2020 new global technologies.
Video conferencing free-for-all
For the past decade, companies often resisted the trend of working from home, but the pandemic forced changes in that area. Video conferencing is nothing new, but its scale certainly is nothing like it used to be. In a span of two weeks in early May, Zoom was worth more than the top seven airlines combined. People have had to manage all kinds of pitfalls to video calling, but have made it part of their day-to-day life and learned to make the most of it.
Meanwhile, companies like Amazon, saved over $1 billion in traveling costs by conducting many of their meetings remotely. These savings haven’t offset the losses incurred from the pandemic, but all things point to there being much less traveling even after the traveling restrictions are lifted. That alone means less flying, commuting, spending, and polluting in both the short and long term.
A global effort
Small and big, few innovations continue to change the way the medical field portrays itself. From video conferencing with your doctor for a quick diagnosis, to a full-body scan, things are changing very quickly.
2020 brought an increase in administrative loads and innovators in the medical field have turned to software applications to help manage their accelerated growth. Innovators rapidly developed, improved, and shared medical algorithms, which can now help recognize deadly diseases faster than ever before.
As with the IoT, AI and machine learning continue to grow in the field and help save lives. Of course, the lockdown also accelerated the creation of vaccines thanks to joint efforts across the globe. Just like the race to the moon, the race to a viable vaccine was a certain focus of the year and beyond, and broke records throughout.
Thanks to the global effort pulled throughout 2020, 2021 is on the path to a greener, stronger, and more inclusive future. From tech giants to politics, people put aside their differences in favor of a resilient vision for a better future.
What’s next for 2021?
Chaos breeds opportunity. Amid unemployment, new business ideas and registrations have exploded by as much as 40% in the United States, while new positions in existing companies were created in the millions as more continue to appear these past weeks. Many of the negatives are slowly fading, while new tools and ideas make it into 2021.
In 2020, new global technologies changed our lives. What will the new “normal” be? It certainly will be more interconnected and complex, but truly, living it is the only way to find out!