We stream, zoom, order groceries and indoor plants online, create virtual villages, and solve the problem of laptop shortages to work and study from home. In many ways, the isolation caused by the 2020 pandemic has made our over-reliance on technology play a role. While our connection with real life has been cut off, digital relationships have also received attention.

But for every Zoom that changes life, there is at least one Quibi that is quickly forgotten. The following are the technical winners and losers of the year.

loser:

1) Virtual reality

As the world adapts to the new reality stuck at home, this epidemic was originally a virtual reality that provided an opportunity to escape reality. Through the use of special headsets and accessories such as gloves, the technology allows people to interact 360 degrees in a three-dimensional environment, which seems very suitable for people trapped indoors.

But people turned to the easy-to-use software and games they already had. Few people are eager to spend hundreds of dollars on clumsy new headsets or try to learn the essence of virtual reality conferencing software. And no VR games have become mainstream. Therefore, virtual reality, which has been on the verge of success for decades, has once again missed this moment.

2) Social media election tags

That year was the year of tagging on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even TikTok. Before the US presidential election on November 3, the two companies promised to curb election misinformation, including baseless allegations of fraud and premature victory by candidates. The most obvious part is the wide variety of tags applied to tweets, posts, photos and videos.

A typical tag used by President Donald Trump on a tweet is: “Some or all of the content shared in this tweet is controversial and may mislead elections or other citizenship procedures.”

However, many experts said that although these tags seem to indicate that the two companies are taking action, “in the end, it proved to be ineffective”, such as Syracuse University professor and social media expert Jennifer Grygiel (Jennifer Grygiel) Said.

4) Kibi

Less than a year ago, Quibi launched a compelling Super Bowl ad that asked the question “What is Quibi?” People may still be scratching their heads.

Quibi is short for “quick bite,” and it raised US$1.75 billion (approximately Rs 1,280 crore) from investors such as major Hollywood movie stars Disney, NBCUniversal and Viacom.

However, since short films are everywhere on the Internet and the coronavirus pandemic has left many people at home, the service is difficult to attract viewers. It announced that it will be closed in October, just a few months after its release in April.

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5) Uber and Lyft

I just started an initial public offering (IPO) a year ago, but I am still trying to show that I can make a profit. The ride-hailing service will be greatly discounted due to the pandemic in 2020, because people no longer ride in cars and are crowded at home.

In May, Uber laid off 3,700 employees, accounting for about 14% of its total workforce. Lyft also announced layoffs.

But there are some signs of hope. After significantly reducing costs through the restructuring of the second quarter, Lyft said last month that it expects to achieve its first profitable quarter by the end of 2021. The two companies achieved a major victory in California. Voters passed Proposition 22, which allowed them to obtain another law attempting to classify drivers as employees. This is an exception. Analysts believe the cost will make the country’s population Business in the most states suffered heavy losses.

5) The United States bans TikTok

Although India has banned popular video sharing applications, in the United States, TikTok seems to be about to get rid of Donald Trump’s tenure, and the president has not succeeded in banning it.

Earlier this month, a federal judge blocked a potential injunction. This is the latest legal failure of the government to try to retake the app from the Chinese owner. In October, another federal judge postponed the planned November shutdown.

At the same time, the government deadline for TikTok’s parent company ByteDance to complete Oracle and Walmart’s investment in TikTok has passed, and the status of the transaction is unclear.

Although President-elect Biden said that TikTok is a problem, it is still unclear what it is that his administration will try the Trump administration’s ban.

Award winner:

1) Nintendo Switch

Even if the eye-catching new game consoles on Xbox and PlayStation are released within a year, Nintendo Switch is still a good game console. Launched in 2017, Switch became a best seller. This is due to the processed Switch Lite released in September 2019.

In March, as people look for ways to entertain at home, it is difficult to find Switch. According to Nintendo, the release of the island simulation game “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” has increased its popularity. The game debuted on March 20 and has now sold 26 million units worldwide.

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According to data from NPD Group, in the first 11 months of 2020, Nintendo Switch sold 6.92 million units in the United States. This is the best-selling game console sold for 24 consecutive months.

2) Zoom

During the pandemic, when thousands of people suddenly moved to remote work and school, all video conferencing software from Microsoft Teams to WebEx thrived. But only one becomes a verb.

Before the pandemic, Zoom Video Communications was a relatively unacclaimed company, but its ease of use made it widely adopted during the pandemic. Increasing pain, including loose security, led to the destruction of the early “Zoom bomb”. The company has improved its security and remains one of the popular platforms for hosting remote meetings and courses.

3) Ransomware vendors

The scourge of ransomware is that criminals scramble to hijack data until the victim pays it off. The scourge of this ransomware reached an epic scale in 2020, very similar to the COVID-19 plague. In Germany, a patient was transferred from the emergency room of a hospital. The IT system of the hospital was paralyzed by an attack and died on the way to another hospital.

In the United States, the number of attacks on medical institutions is expected to nearly double from 50 in 2019. Attacks on state and local governments increased by about 50% to more than 150. Even grammar schools were hit, shutting down distance learning systems. Students from Baltimore to Las Vegas.

Cybersecurity company Emsisoft estimates that the losses between the US ransomware attacks that occurred in the US this year and the ransom paid and downtime/recovery amounted to more than US$9 billion (approximately Rs 66,070 crore).

4) PC manufacturers

At the beginning of this year, struggling due to severe delays in the supply chain, the personal computer industry found itself busy keeping up with the ever-increasing demand for machines, and during the pandemic, such machines enabled thousands of workers and students It is essential to stay at home.

This outbreak initially blocked production because PC manufacturers were unable to obtain the required parts from overseas factories that were closed in the early stages of the health crisis.

These closures led to a sharp drop in sales in the first three months of this year. But it has been a period of prosperity ever since.

According to research firm Gartner, the period from July to September was particularly strong. PC shipments in the United States increased by 11% over the same period in 2019, the industry’s largest quarterly sales growth in a decade.

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5) E-commerce

The largest is Amazon, one of the few companies that thrived during the coronavirus outbreak. People have begun to use it to order groceries, supplies, and other items online, which helped the company create record revenue and profits between April and June. Even if it had to spend US$4 billion (approximately Rs 294 billion) on cleaning supplies and pay workers overtime and bonuses, it achieved this goal.

Not only Amazon. This pandemic is accelerating the development of online shopping, and even if vaccines bring the world back to normal life, experts hope to point out this trend. Partly because shoppers consciously support small businesses, Adobe Analytics said that on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, online sales of small retailers in the US increased by 349%. According to data from Shopify, among the more than 1 million companies that use Shopify to build websites, Black Friday sales increased by 75% over the same period last year, reaching US$2.4 billion (approximately Rs 17.6 billion).

Jury:

Big technology

Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Google are financially sound. Since the beginning of the year, the share prices and profits of the two companies have increased substantially. They attracted users, introduced new products and features, and continued to hire, even if other companies and industries were facing substantial layoffs.

However, in the big technology world, not everything is good. Regulators are doing their best, and this situation is unlikely to ease by 2021. Google faces an antitrust lawsuit from the Justice Department. Facebook has been hit by the Federal Trade Commission and almost all US states that have tried to separate it from WhatsApp and Instagram.

There may be more cases. Congressional investigators spent several months studying the actions of Apple and Amazon except Facebook and Google, and called on the chief executives of all four companies to testify.


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(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff, but has been released from a press release)