2020 has been a truly unprecedented year in terms of circumstances and adaptations. But, even as companies and individuals around the world have adjusted their plans and practices to accommodate this “new normal,” changes haven’t been exclusively negative. In fact, as a result of this tumultuous year, many remarkable innovations have gained extraordinary traction, putting them on track for continued growth in the foreseeable future. From remote work and entertainment options to health and beauty developments, the technologies and developments that 2020 has produced make for a bright spot in an internationally darkened period.
With significant portions of the global workforce transitioning to working from home for at least a portion of this year, remote work products and services have taken center stage. Video calling platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams have rolled out updates and changes aimed at making this evolution an easier one. But these aren’t the only technologies that have made their mark this year. Businesses both large and small have depended heavily on public cloud solutions to provide resources and services to their customers and remote employees alike. Public cloud services allow for maximum scalability with minimal investment, letting your business grow quickly and securely on a global level. For many businesses, this sort of technology has been made all the more important in 2020, a year of resilience and adaptability. The ability to move rapidly yet effectively has never been a more important one and, thanks to public cloud solutions and other technological innovations, companies around the world have been able to do just that, even amidst global crises.
As hospitals filled to the brim with COVID-19 patients and healthcare providers worked around the clock to care for them while staying safe themselves, innovations across the health sector have aimed to make their jobs easier and keep people healthier along the way. Perhaps the most notable of these adaptations was in telehealth services, which surged in availability and popularity. The most old-school of medical professionals took advantage of video appointments to treat patients remotely, maintaining self-isolation for quarantining patients and allowing for maximum social distancing when in-person appointments were necessary. Mental healthcare, in particular, saw itself taking advantage of remote technologies to treat patients from afar, especially as isolation augmented loneliness and mental illness. Psychological concerns approached crisis levels themselves but, thanks to innovations like AI-facilitated therapy and even virtual visits with prescribing physicians, patients can take charge of their emotional and physical health alike with just their computer or smartphone.
For anyone whose favorite hobbies include visiting their local mall or boutique, 2020 was sure to come as a sort of culture shock. Exacerbated by boredom and stress levels on the rise, throughout the year, shoppers took to the web with their card numbers in hand. Mobile commerce, while hardly a new phenomenon, has risen to an exceptional degree of popularity. E-commerce platforms saw remarkable jumps through shopping events like Black Friday, as shoppers opted to stay safe and socially distant by getting a headstart on their holiday gift lists virtually—from false lashes for your fashionista sibling to custom candles for your hygge-entranced mother, the breadth of the world wide web has limitless options for products to buy. Contactless payment methods and even cryptocurrency followed suit throughout the year, with no-contact purchases seeming a safer alternative to cash, when possible. Even as non-essential stores reopen and social interactions become safer, many shoppers will continue to prefer the convenience of online shopping and virtual payments to busy shops and wallets stuffed with cash.
Whether you’ve spent 2020 watching wildfires across the globe or streaming I Am Greta, it’s been difficult to ignore environmental changes throughout the year. As a result, it’s no surprise that some of 2020’s best inventions have had an emphasis on being environmentally friendly and gentler with our climate. Sustainable smartphones and sneakers, AI-enabled beehives, and plant-based meat alternatives have all made strides towards greener technological innovations. Personal care products, electronics, and even farming tools have made creating cleaner technologies and building a healthier environment a top priority, and one that will undoubtedly continue in years to come. Large companies are increasingly following in the footsteps of these cross-market developments, aiming for carbon neutrality and more sustainable processes going forward. From commerce to the 2020 US election, environmental innovations and improvements are undoubtedly a critical factor this year and moving into the future.
Despite so many people staying home for much of this year, whether through personal precaution or governmental mandates, the beauty sector, too, has seen its share of innovations throughout 2020. With increased stress and issues like “maskne” popping up for many, self-care practices, including items like skincare regimens, DIY beauty treatments, and simplified routines have become priorities for many beauty lovers. Diagnostic tools, skin and hair care products, and even Alexa-enabled beauty devices have come into the market or increased in popularity. With the rise of video calls for work and social interactions alike, makeup mavens have had to adjust their routines to the screen. When tackling in-person, masked events, though, eye makeup has become all the more important. Products like faux mink eyelashes allow for an impactful, yet easy-to-accomplish eye look that’s sure to stand out over your favorite face mask. You might not be able to rock your favorite red lip, but your design can continue to make an impression on friends, family, and coworkers.
In quarantine or escaping the stresses of the year, people have turned to entertainment like movies, books, and video games throughout 2020. Nintendo’s Q1 release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, for example, allowed players to escape to an adorable, albeit virtual island, packed with the community and other comforts. Simple gameplay gave users the chance to unwind as they entered their Animal Crossing worlds and even gave them the chance to “visit” their fellow socially-distanced loved ones through their Nintendo Switch. For non-gamers, each new Netflix release brought something new to binge, with series like Emily in Paris making the news with in-depth looks and opinion pieces for every point of view. Perhaps the most monumental adaptation 2020 brought to the entertainment world, though, was the increase in films being released straight to streaming services. From Disney+’s Hamilton and live-action Mulan to Blumhouse’s You Should Have Left, box office weekends have gone largely virtual, leaving some to question whether theatrical releases will return to the same societally significant role they once served when the coronavirus crisis has passed.
With so many innovation adaptations resulting from this tumultuous year, careers for tech lovers have never been more plentiful. If 2020 is any indication, technological knowledge will benefit you whatever your interest or area of expertise. From new and improved technologies and consumer products adjusting to a rapidly changing market, technology experts are more in demand than ever across sectors. Medical providers, workplaces, and diversions alike have all moved to accommodate an increasingly remote world. With such a varied assortment of technologies coming to the forefront throughout 2020, there’s ample opportunity for people to come closer, even from far apart. From impactful eye looks standing out over face masks, to cloud services enabling remote work and even movie releases around the globe, the innovations of 2020 have brought a bright spot to this tumultuous year.