The 2020 chapter is closed, in comes 2021. From a technology perspective, it is rather not news that we are where we are. Most of the trends and innovations we are about to see in the new year were already pre-planned or are at their climax. But in general terms, the year 2021 is one to look out for. It is a year of tech-ing over.
2020 was a great one, despite the challenges it came with. We experienced quite a lot across the 12 months that we can surely appreciate. A revisit can do no harm.
As the coronavirus pandemic became the hindrance between physical meetings and collaboration, video conferencing took shape and became a norm. Almost every collaborative tool had to either incorporate this feature or find ways of adding something similar. And, indeed, it worked.
Zoom, Teams, Skype, and Google Meet went beyond expectations; new apps – including Messenger Rooms and Africa’s own Gumzo – were born; and software downloads shot up. Everyone was served the piece (of cake) they could manage. We believe 2021 will build on this.
2021 Social media expectations
There are things we hoped for at the start of 2020, especially in regard to social media, with some coming to effect while others are still in the pipeline.
In a series of tweets, a senior Twitter vice president of design and research – Dantley Davis had proposed suggestions on a number of new features that could appear on the social network in 2020. Among the suggestions made is the ability to block being mentioned without permission, users having the power to remove themselves from a conversation, as well as the means to disallow retweeting of certain posts if you do not want them to be distributed by other people.
Some made it while others didn’t. We hope we can see something in 2021.
We also suggested some futuristic concepts that WhatsApp should implement. Take a read and share your thoughts.
Emergence of 5G in 2021
Of course, 2020 was not the year 5G saw its first mention. Neither is 2021 going to be the year it officially launches, despite the talk of 6G already spreading. However, it is in 2020 that the public got the most information about the next generation technology – both positive and negative, in theory and fact.
2021 will see the foundation for the implementation of the new technology and will determine the structure to follow for future mobile technologies without having to debunk theories and create resistance.
MTN recently launched its commercial 5G services in several cities across South Africa. The network, accessed from 100 sites, makes South Africa the first of the telecom group’s 22 markets to launch the next-generation broadband tech.
Vodacom South Africa also launched a commercial 5G network in May, though this has limited coverage. Rain was the first operator in South Africa to deploy 5G commercially, but it uses the technology for fixed-wireless applications rather than mobile.
The final days of 2020 saw Bitcoin cross the $19,000 value mark for the first time in 3 years. As of the time of writing, it is headed for $30,000 and is still growing. It is worth noting that some of the reasons for the sharp rise include the demand for riskier assets amid unprecedented stimulus programmes to counter the COVID-19 hit; hunger for assets perceived as resistant to inflation; and expectations that cryptocurrencies will gain wider acceptance as a method of payments.
A leaked technical analysis prepared for its clients pointed to the Bitcoin price hitting $318,000 in December 2021. This was revealed by a Twitter user Alex, who leaked the document created by Thomas Fitzpatrick, an executive at Citibank. The analysis does suggest that Bitcoin “price is likely to continue to go up, and a lot.”