This year has been unlike any other. However, what made this year specially difficult, has also brought us closer than ever (though not in the physical space).
2020 was, despite and in some cases thanks to covid, a year full of progress and breakthroughs in the world of technology.
We invite you to take a look at some of this year's most interesting takeaways:
An internet based on quantum physics could create inherently secure communication. A team at Delft University of Technology, worked on building a network connecting four cities in the Netherlands using quantum technology so messages sent over the network are unhackable. Teams of scientists in the US partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as well to work on what they call "a new era of communications".
The Year of Video Communication
It is safe to say that 2020 was probably not only the year of covid, but also the year of Zoom. From elementary school, to board meetings, conferences, tech events and even family meetings, Zoom and a wide range of similar tools (Google Meet, Skype, Whereby) have kept us together virtually. Not only for work-related matters, but also to simply see the faces of our friends and family.
At one point of the year, Zoom was seeing 300 million daily meeting participants, compared to 10 million in December 2019.
AI will certainly not replace doctors, but there has been a surge in apps that monitor conditions or help in administering therapies that could improve healthcare for patients with limited access to health services.
In the market of wearables, many smart watches can inform you if you have an irregular heartbeat, for example, and similar tools are being developed that could help with breathing disorders, depression, and more. Not to talk about pill reminders, exercise scheduling and monitoring, among others.
E-commerce Take Off
Even though e-commerce has been consistently growing for the past years, with the world's population confined to their homes, it saw an unprecedented increase.
According to L’Oréal’s chief digital officer Lubomira Rochet: “Covid-19 is the biggest accelerator of digital capabilities". She highlighted that the acceleration of direct-to-consumer has been astronomical, achieving growth that previously took three years in just eight weeks.
Brands have had to shift their focus, closing their physical stores and working with e-commerce as their main sales channel. According to IBM’s U.S. Retail Index, the pandemic has accelerated the shift away from physical stores to digital shopping by roughly five years.
AI has been one of the main trends in technology during 2020. During this pandemic, the progress of AI and Machine Learning has not slowed down, quite the contrary. Due to the quick spread of the covid virus, we have seen first-hand the need to analyze and interpret data on the spread of viruses fast. Governments, health authorities, researchers, and companies have come together to work on new ways to collect, aggregate and work with that information with the help of AI.
Thanks to this, in the future, AI will be one of the key technological advancements helping us deal more effectively with pandemics. Hopefully, we'll be able to stop the next pandemic before it even starts.
These are some of the few aspects of tech that have made significant improvements this year, but there certainly are many more. What was the key tech advancement this year from your point of view?