Technology has always been a constant part of our lives, and that fact has been more evident than ever in 2020 and 2021. Perhaps it’s because we’ve all spent more time at home, and technology has been our primary way of connecting with others and remaining productive. Maybe the sudden explosion of new technological innovations was simply a matter of need. We’ve had a lot of new needs over the past year, and innovators have jumped in to fulfill those needs because that’s what innovators do. Regardless of the reason, a number of new technologies became commonplace in 2020 and 2021, and they’re not likely to go away any time soon. Here are just a few of them.
Work From Home Technology
Did you work from home during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020? Maybe you’re even still working from home now. You already know that you have technology to thank for that, but maybe you’ve never stopped to think about the sheer number of different technologies that have to work together in order to make it possible for millions of people to work from home.
We’ve got reliable high-speed broadband Internet connections, encrypted real-time video conferencing software, cloud-based project management applications, high-quality video cameras that automatically track you as you move around a room – and those technologies are just the beginning. Imagine how different 2020 would have been if working from home wasn’t an option. You would have needed to choose between increasing your potential exposure to the virus or not working at all.
Pod Vaping Technology
Vaping isn’t a new thing. There are an estimated 41 million people around the world who vape, and that estimate was as of 2018; the total number of worldwide vapers is likely significantly larger than that now. One aspect of vaping really began to come of age in 2020, though, and that is pod vaping technology.
Until recently, people who made the switch from smoking to vaping faced a difficult choice. You had two different types of vaping products, and neither option was quite perfect. On one hand, you could use an e-cigarette with pre-filled pods or cartridges. That was the easiest and most convenient option; you could just push a cartridge into your e-cigarette and start vaping. The flavor selection, however, was extremely poor with pre-filled products.
On the other hand, you could use a refillable vaping device. Refillable vaping devices were more satisfying and offered a much wider flavor selection. However, they were also complicated to use and weren’t friendly for newcomers at all.
Refillable pod-based vaping devices like the Voopoo Vinci have finally solved the problem of convenience vs. flavor selection and made vaping more enjoyable and more accessible to newbies. The pods are easy to fill; just open the cover and add e-liquid. As for the devices, they’re largely self-configuring since they’re proprietary and work only with specific types of pods and atomizer coils. The latest pod vaping systems combine the best aspects of the other common types of vaping devices, and they’ve enabled more smokers than ever to switch successfully to vaping.
In 2020, many new millionaires were minted in the United States and abroad. Stock markets around the world crashed at the beginning of the year, and many people – suddenly stuck at home and with nothing worthwhile to spend their money on – saw an opportunity to buy shares on sale. Within a few months, the markets began one of the greatest bull runs in history. The bull run hasn’t ended yet, and as it’s continued, trading in so-called “meme stocks” has created even more millionaires.
We have retail traders – ordinary people like you – to thank for much of the action currently taking place in the stock market. Money is pouring into the market from the retail sector at a faster rate than ever before, and the reason why that’s happening is because mobile investment apps like Robinhood and Acorns have made it so easy. You don’t have to know anything about investing to buy a few shares in a company you like – and with commission-free trading, a significant entry barrier has been removed. In the past, you could look forward to your stockbroker taking a $50 commission every time you bought or sold shares. Naturally, that priced many small-time investors right out of the picture. If you only had $100 to invest, why would you bother if your broker was going to end up taking half of that as a commission?
The exchange-traded fund (ETF) is another relatively recent development that has helped retail investors gain a foothold in the complicated world of finance. For new investors who aren’t comfortable with the idea of picking individual stocks, ETFs are available that track the performance of the entire stock market or specific sectors within the market. They can be bought and sold like shares of stock, and they’re no more volatile than the market segments that they track. The retail investment trend is going to create generational wealth in families that have never enjoyed true financial security before, and that’s an important step on the road toward ending poverty.
The final life-changing technology of 2020 and 2021 is also financial in nature, but it’s so speculative that it’s about as far from retail investing as any financial trend could possibly be. We’re talking, of course, about cryptocurrencies. When Elon Musk tweeted in 2021 that Tesla had purchased about $1.5 billion in Bitcoin, the world stood up and took notice – and the value of Bitcoin skyrocketed. Although it has fallen back to Earth somewhat since then, the fact is that Bitcoin is an asset that’s seen its value jump from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars in just a few years. Entire companies have sprung up for the sole purpose of mining Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and more currencies continue to launch almost every day.
What the future holds for crypto is uncertain. People use exchanges to trade currencies like stocks, and some people have built holdings worth massive amounts of money even though many cryptocurrencies have no real-world uses at all. Nevertheless, where there is money to be made, people will speculate – and it doesn’t look like speculation in cryptocurrency is going to end in the near future. Cryptocurrency may turn out to be a bubble, but it’s going to make some people wealthy along the way.
Laila Azzahra is a professional writer and blogger that loves to write about technology, business, entertainment, science, and health.