The Most Ground-Breaking Tech of 2020
It is undeniable that 2020 has had a huge impact on the lives and livelihoods of people across the world, the global pandemic has caused loss in every sense of the word, as well as changing the fabric of everyday life. For many sectors this has put a pause on operations all together, but for many this has been a year of innovation and advancement amid the chaos, opportunities across finance, healthcare, and science have been boosted in their colaboration with technology. Below are some of the most notable and groundbreaking advancements in tech seen over 2020.
Online Payment Boom
At the end of the first quarter of 2020, it became a reality that many physical shop locations were to close their doors indefinitely, and while many struggled financially, many passed their time in lockdown by shopping online, with Amazon's gigantic rise over the years leading up to 2020, almost everything a consumer can want for, can be on your doorstep the next day. Not only Amazon but hundreds of online commercial platforms seemingly benefitted from the physical economy shut down, and with so many online purchases being made, online payments saw unprecedented rises, even amid the transition to a cashless world. China's massive population drives the mobile payment market, with 1.2 billion active users on just ONE of many platforms, Alipay. Mordor Intelligence research suggests that mobile payments will continue to rise with a CAGR of 26.93% between 2020 and 2025 as payment applications such as PayPal, Apple Pay, AliPay, and Samsung Pay are used to accept payments, both in-store and online. Numerous payments companies have adjusted their forecasts, and HR requirements accordingly, Checkout.com, for example, increased their employee base by 500 people in 2020 alone, they expect to see a double in the size of their operations by the end of 2021.
There has been increasing competition in investment apps over the last few years, this year many have boomed especially due to the market crash giving first-time investors the chance to buy stocks cheaply and take one of few advantages of the devastating impacts of the global pandemic. One of the most impressive rises of which is Freetrade which has an extensive list of stocks, ETFs, and investment trusts, it is free to start using and has made enormous popularity due to its referral-for-a-stock marketing method. Many other apps, such as Robin Hood, Round, and Stash are using similar strategies to make investing more accessible.
In mid-December, Tesla set records when it entered the S&P 500 index as the largest ever stock, but with increasing innovation in 2020, the competition for electric cars is going to continue increasing, a concerning rival for Tesla will be Apple, who have announced plans to release "ICar" by 2024. Amazon also acquired Zoox in July of this year, who plan to release a passenger vehicle that has no steering wheel and can drive for hours on a single charge, known as "robotaxi". Although there were defeats in the quest for electric and automated cars, Uber left the race to develop a self-driving car early this December, which is unsurprising considering the rising competition in the market.
Numerous tech companies made massive advancements in their feild in 2020, 65 of which mad etheir IPO in 2020, while tech IPOs came to a hault in the spring due tot he pandemic. The market made huge advancesments over the summer, and as such, large and highly commented on companies like Palantir and DoorDash went public, the largest software IPO also took place, by Snowflake. Although earlier this month, AirBnB saw huge success on its first day of trading, with its stock more than doubling.
Big tech companies saw huge rises in market cap in 2020, as investors saw their ability to withstand the economic devestation that hit so many other sectors, FAAMG (Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook) saw a combined market cap increase of over $12 Trillion by November. Because of the pandemic many sectors; commerce, communication, education and more were forced to move online, which meant the big 5 companies were positioned well to reap the benefits, along with a number other tech companies.
Downloads of Mobile banking apps have taken off enormously during 2020, many online banks made significant marketing efforts in 2018 and 19' which left a hugely competitive market for consumers to choose from when the pandemic created a boom of online payments. With many concerned with their personal finance, these banking apps turned their attention to making saving and a healthy personal financial position a priority, creating and developing features that promote these factors for their users. Revolt saw a huge number of downloads in 2020 and as such actually outpaced it's main competition, Starling and Monzo. Canopy, Toucan, Moneybox, and many more set out strategies to transform borrowing, saving, credit scores, amongst a host of other features to help everyday people to stay afloat following the devastating and ongoing effects of Covid-19.
5G investments have boomed worldwide this year, with over 400 operators investing over 131 countries, 5G services are launched in all global regions, including 85 networks in EMEA, 35 in APAC and 15 in the Americas, 5G is also now deployed for private networks. 5G is now known as the fastest growing mobile technology in history, as of December, there were a total of 229 million 5G subscriptions worldwide representing an increase of 66% from the previous quarter.
Prediction and Language Modeling
The GPT-3 language model made global news with its human-like language generation. The GPT-3 or Generative Pre-trained Transformer was released in June this year and is a language model created by Open AI, a non-profit founded by Elon Musk and Sam Altman, combined they invested over $1 billion with the goal of advancing AI to increase its applications and abilities. Futher afield in helathcare tech, DeepMind, a UK AI company made an announcement on their latest inovation that has the potential to massively advance the medicinal drug field, with an AI prediction mdoel that can predict the structure of proteins.
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