As the year 2021 is drawing to its end, let’s review it from the perspective of news hooks in the tech world. What were the most prominent events in the tech community? How will they impact our lives in the near future? What names became buzzwords for tech-savvy people?
Continue reading to refresh your memories of 2021.
PMP, Project Manager,
As the year 2021 is drawing to its end, let’s review it from the perspective of news hooks in the tech world. What were the most prominent tech news in the community? How will they impact our lives in the near future? What names became buzzwords for tech-savvy people?
Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst
We won’t violate the truth by saying that the departing year was full of new challenges for businesses striving to stay afloat under fluctuating and vulnerable market conditions. Some managed to return back on track, though partially. While others underwent a major transformation and switched to the virtual world, introducing technology to our way of life even more.
With Covid-19 still impacting almost everything in our daily and business lives, 2021 was no better than its predecessor. SARS footprints could be noticed everywhere — from the obvious public health sector to car manufacturers and software development services.
Short on Chips
Probably the strongest blow was taken by the electronics sector that has been operating under a severe global chip shortage. Hundreds and thousands of devices and goods rely heavily on computer chips (or semiconductors) starting from smartphones, dog-grooming machines and ending with cars packed with dozens of them.
As a result, we are witnessing supply shortages of many devices such as PS5 game consoles and an uptick in sales of used cars because new ones are in short supply (Volvo, Ford, and Toyota, for example, had to slow down or halt their production lines to wait for the right parts to arrive). The tricky point here is that since a single device may contain several chips, you cannot assemble it and skip one part — the gadget won’t work.
The situation was not a sudden one as the chip crisis has been unfolding for several years now. It started with the rise of 5G leading to the increased demand for semiconductors. Then the US decided to prevent the sale of chips to Huawei so the Chinese manufacturer turned to chip makers outside the States thus flooding them with orders, and they are struggling to deal with the demand albeit they are working flat out.
The pandemic was the last drop in the bucket followed by shutdowns and logistical headaches. The worst may be over, but hardly anyone can forecast when the industry will be in full swing.
Electric Vehicles on the Rise
At the same time, there has been a dramatic surge in sales of EVs globally, with the parameter reaching the level of 80% of the previous year’s figures. News of the rise in the popularity of battery-electric and plug-in hybrids came together with announcements from Ford, General Motors, and other prominent car manufacturers to get all new cars to the zero-emission goal by 2040.
We are still about to see the evolution of this trend in the coming years, but falling battery prices, a growing number of car models offered by prominent car market players, and governmental decarbonization policies have paved the way to the success of this endeavor.
Clubhouse and Its Copycats
Clubhouse, an audio-only hangout app, saw a dramatic rise in its popularity in early 2021. Thanks to the hype created by influencers and celebs such as Elon Musk, the iOS ecosystem witnessed an explosion of app downloads pushing Android developers to come up with the counterpart.
It may not be much of a deal right now, and hardly we see much news from the app now, but it has certainly left its footprint in the app development history since other social platforms soon followed suit and implemented an audio chat feature into their apps — check out Twitter, Telegram, Reddit, Instagram, Discord, Spotify, etc.
NFT or Your Most Expensive Tweet
Some hated them, some went crazy over them, some thought of them as a scam. Yeah, NFTs certainly stole some spotlight in the blockchain world of 2021.
Though the concept of an NFT (Non-Fungible Token) is nothing new (the first of its kind was created and sold back in 2014), it is the year 2021 when it achieved glory. To make sure we’re on the same page, let us remind you that an NFT is a unique digital certificate that confirms your right of ownership of a certain digital asset (e.g. a collectible or an artwork).
The unprecedented popularity of NFTs was ignited in February 2021 when the Nyan Cat meme was sold alongside some other prominent high-profile NFTs of high value. However, the biggest name joined the group in March when Jack Dorsey, a man behind Twitter, sold the very first tweet for a pretty sum of $2.9 million. And the game began, with more supporters and even established auction institutions joining the group.
Be it a scam or not, but NFTs have certainly revealed another application of blockchain technology.
Let’s Regulate Some Crypto
No matter how volatile the crypto market may be, it showcases the huge potential for investments and, hence, attracts an army of money owners. However, though for ordinary users, it may seem an exciting, unconventional, and lucrative market, for market watchdogs the entire idea reminds of ‘the Wild West’ in the economic world. Some forecasts speculate that in the coming five years the aggregate value of the crypto sector may balloon to the $3 trillion mark thanks to the popularity of Bitcoin and altcoins like Dogecoin. No wonder that we see the rise in discussions about its regulation.
Still, as cryptocurrency gains more mainstream vibes, it attracts more bad actors as well, with continuing hacker attacks and reports of thefts and heists at crypto exchange platforms.
So far, there have been no clear rules and regulations imposed and the situation varies from country to country. China bans mining, while El Salvador introduces crypto as a legal tender and dreams of erecting Bitcoin City. What is more, the idea of introducing such limitations may go against the very nature of crypto and blockchain — decentralization.
For now, it’s all dubious and covered in mist. Let us see how the situation unfolds in the near future.
In October 2021, we saw Mark Zuckerberg rebranding his parent company to Meta. By doing so, the CEO underlines the company’s shift to the Metaverse idea and their aspiration to become leaders in the field.
So what is the idea? As Zuckerberg himself underlines, even he is not sure what the future has in stock for this enterprise. In summary, the tech giant wants to change the way users interact with the internet and go from utilizing conventional apps and services to uniting our digital experience and delivering seamless interactions similar to what we do in the physical world. If everything goes according to the plan, we will be able to do business, visit friends and relatives, shop, study, etc. all in one place using VR gadgets.
That’s a really hard task, Mark!
These were a handful of tech stories we saw this year. Surely, there are a lot more, but we don’t have space for that — an entire book would not suffice. Many of us, ordinary people, won’t feel the direct consequences of their development, but they will certainly impact the way we approach tech in the future.