Technology Review: A look back at the biggest stories and trends from 2021
As COVID-19 continued to disrupt businesses in 2021, massive changes have occurred in how companies work and use technology in daily operations. Businesses have focused and drilled down on technology, prioritizing updated systems that make things easier, faster, and more secure. And in response, tech companies have continued to innovate, presenting new and updated products. So, as we begin 2022, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at the biggest stories and trends from 2021.
The Rise of NFTs
In 2021, we saw the rise of NFTs.
NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) are essentially digital paintings and collectibles that are similar to cryptocurrency.
And although they have been around for a few years, they really exploded last year. NFTs became increasingly popular on the internet and, as a result, have built up insanely inflated price tags. But more than just the NFTs themselves, the popularity of these digital items is another example of the far-reaching uses for blockchain, as NFTs showed that ownership can be established for non-fungible assets using the technology.
Blockchain itself is still relatively new and complex. By using blockchain to exchange cryptocurrencies and NFTs, the future of blockchain is just beginning to emerge, and who knows what the future will bring for increasingly practical uses of blockchain for companies and their daily operations.
The Future of Facebook
Last year, another trending story in the tech world was Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to rename Facebook, launching Meta and his vision for the future of tech—the metaverse. This came after more concerns of privacy and content issues from users and whistleblowers inside the company. The metaverse is a 3D vision of the internet that will include virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Zuckerberg pitched the metaverse as “the successor to the mobile internet,” envisioning a future that allows users to enter a virtual space and move through different platforms with the assistance of VR and AR technology. The company has not yet developed the metaverse platform Zuckerberg is touting, so we’ll have to wait to see if the company can achieve its vision for the future of tech.
Windows 11 Surprised Us All
One unexpected 2021 story was the release of Windows 11. For years, it was believed that Windows 10 would be the final version of Windows. But in October of 2021, Microsoft proved this belief wrong by releasing Windows 11. Windows 11 builds on Windows 10 in many ways and supports all the same apps. But Windows 11 trims some of the complexities, opting for a simpler approach to the OS, including modern updates to the Start menu, icons, and Taskbar.
As with any technology update, some of the changes have been criticized. Users are looking for ways to restore the look of Windows 10 and some of the features that weren’t included in the new version. But Windows 11 also included access to several new features and a new Microsoft Store. Overall, while the announcement for Windows 11 was exciting and the version includes an updated interface and some new features, most users see it as an optional update. This might change as Microsoft continues to roll out new features, improving the OS, but users can also remain on Windows 10 for quite a while as it will be supported until 2025.
Microsoft had even more big news with the launch of 365, their cloud computing service. Listen to the details on our podcast here.
Ransomware Continues It’s Terrorizing Reign
Finally, in 2021 we saw a continuation of the reigning cyberattack that’s terrorizing large and small corporations alike – ransomware. The ten largest ransom demands over the past year totaled nearly $320 million, and reportedly, four of these companies paid the ransom.
Ransomware is a danger to every industry and size of business, so it’s important to stay vigilant—continuously monitoring, updating, and testing security measures. You can learn more about protection and prevention here.
In conclusion, technology is always exciting because it’s constantly changing. New products are being released, and existing products are being used for new scenarios. We love the start of a new year because it brings the promise of so many exciting tech updates, but it’s also a great time to appreciate the updates the previous year brought. 2021 was pretty great, and we can’t wait to see what 2022 has in store for our technology!