It is safe to say that the world thought 2020 was the worst year in a long time, but 2021 wasn’t much better. As the year ends, it’s worthwhile reflecting on this year and the things that occurred for just a second, before we turn out optimistic attention to 2022 and the year ahead.
2021 was many things to many people, but from the technology side of things, here’s a quick summary of the big developments in space.
More working from home
Zoom, Teams, Skype, Webex and other video conference platforms were very much still a part of our lives this year and for many, there was no great return to the office, instead, an increasing amount of businesses (and employees) are working on finding a different, more flexible blend to working.
Given the extended dependency on your webcam game, it may be worth considering upgrading your setup for 2022 and don’t forget about adding some smart lighting to help ensure you look your best either on the work call or when you’re having fun streaming live to the world on Twitch or Only Fans if that’s your thing.
This digital attendance also extended to many tech conferences that were cancelled (at least the physically version) for the second year running. The largest trade show of the year, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) looks to be dramatically impacted again by the Covid-19 pandemic with Amazon, Google, Microsoft, AMD, MSI, IBM, Lenovo, BMW and Audi.
The rise of the NFTs
There is no doubt that we all learnt a lot about Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) this year. While NFTs certainly weren’t invented this year, they did rise to popularity with the digital artwork rising in value dramatically. As many celebrities jumped on the hype train, collections like the Bored Ape Yacht Club rose in popularity to now be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars on popular NFT Marketplace OpenSea.
This popularity in NFTs was also fed by talk of the future digital utopia known as the ‘Metaverse‘. Facebook (the company, not the service) even went so deep as to rename the company ‘Meta’ in 2021. This shows their intent to launch future AR/VR products that will let you consume and interact with others virtually.
While some NFTs are really just digital tokens to say you own a JPG, GIF or MP4 file, others actually are keys to unlock access in the real world, best detailed by GaryVee who made millions from his VeeFriends NFT drop.
Cash is dying a quick death
It has been a long time since I exchanged goods or services for cash. I tap and pay everywhere and with Google Wallet on my Pixel 6 Pro, it’s fast and easy. While this has been part of my world for years now, I increasingly see more people from all walks of life, doing the same. It is clear that during 2020 and 2021, the use of cash decreased considerably.
While there can be some additional fees for retailers to support tap and pay transactions, nothing can compete with the Covid-friendly, rapid transactions of digital payments. Whether it’s paying for a coffee, or grabbing the latest homewares from Kmart, fellow shoppers and stores certainly appreciate the speed at which payment can take place with tap and pay.
We got even more Streaming Services
As if we didn’t have enough streaming options in Australia, we got another in 2021. Paramount+ joined Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Stan, Apple TV+, Foxtel NOW, Kayo, BitBox and more.
This space has never been more crowded and with content diversity no longer and issue, the question really is what’s your pain tollerance for a streaming budget that involves multiple providers.
Gone are the days of being able to just subscribe to Netflix and be done, typically I’m seeing households have at least 2 or 3 video services, on top of audio services like Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music.
75″ 4K TVs became affordable
The walls of our living rooms, rumpus and games rooms are now being filled with increasingly larger TVs. While everyone’s measure of ‘affordable’ will be different, it seems the 75″ screen size really became a practical option in 2021 for a lot more families.
The year before, 65″ really offered the best price per inch, but in 2021 that became 75″, with some exceptions now seeing an 8 in front of their TVs diagonal measurement.
With Covid-19, cinema releases and cinema access has really taken a beating, so those who didn’t (or couldn’t) take holidays away, chose to invest in their home cinemas, making moving watching at home, a pretty viable (and cheaper option), than visiting the candy bar.
Thankfully at these screen sizes, there is an increasing amount of 4K content around, but it is definitely still too early for 8K adoption, that’ll take another couple of years before the displays are cheap enough (without an AFL salary) and then we have the 8K content availability discussion.
Electric Vehicle adoption finally taking off
It has taken the best part of a decade, but Austrlaia finally moved the needle when it comes to EV adoption in 2021, led by sales of Tesla’s Model 3.
VedaPrime tracks Tesla deliveries through the ports and given Tesla doesn’t provide local sales, this is our best data point to estimate Tesla deliveries this year and therefore Australian deliveries of EVs.
In November he shared that Over 10,000 Model 3s have arrived in Australia in 2021, this makes it more than the entire 6 years prior, combined. While Australia still lags behind the rest of the developed world in electric vehicle adoption, we can confidently say that 2021 was the year we pushed past the 1% of new vehicle sales.
The State Governments really led the way in terms of incentives to buy EVs, with some offering $3,000 off the price, others offered discounts and the elimination of stamp duty and registration for a couple of years to incentivise consumers to make the right choice.
Unforunately some states, like Victoria, introduced an EV tax, which sees EV owners pay a new per km charge, so that was one development I wish 2021 would certainly keep to itself. Overall the signs are positive for EVs in AU and I expect that trend to continue in 2022 as more models reach Australia and EV infrastructure continues to roll out to more locations around our great big island.
Starlink arrived to compete with the NBN
With all the mess that was the NBN project behind us, there was a new competitor arrive in 2021, to the monopolistic internet provider in Australia. The NBN not only has to compete with 5G, but also now Starlink, a new low-earth orbit satellite internet option from Elon Musks’ SpaceX.
If you pay attention to the Facebook Group for Aussie Starlink users, you’ll see its filled with happy customers that now get hundreds of Mbps in download speeds. For many, this is more expensive than what they would pay on SkyMuster or FTTN services, but offers many, many times the speed, transforming the internet experience in their households.
This is a very welcome addition to the internet options in Australia and one that some businesses and schools have also adopted.
Happy New Year!!
It’s been another massive year at techAU, with dozens of detailed hands-on reviews, hundreds of posts and that means there is now more than 6,370 posts on the site. A sincere thank you to any of you have read, commented, shared techAU content this year.
I hope you have a drink in hand, a great playlist on and are gearing up for a great 2022. Cheers mate!