A look back on my tech predictions for last year.
By Tim Frank Andersen, co-founder – Liveshopper
2021 — year 2 of the Pandemic, and a year full of surprises
A year ago, I posted my 10 digital predictions for 2021. We all thought that 2021 would be a return to some kind of new normal. Instead, a container ship blocked the Suez Channel, messing up supply chains. Computer chips were impossible to get your hands on, delaying production in a lot of industries and new Covid variants meant another round of lock-downs.
But in a lot of areas, things have changed for good: When it comes to work, shopping, entertainment, and workout, the new digital reality is here to stay. So, how well did I foresee what actually happened? Let´s take a closer look:
It is always both nerve-wracking and exciting to see how well I did in predicting what would be the most interesting tech trends for the year to come. I have looked back and made an update to all 10 areas to see whether it was a home run: , a close call: ️ or totally off base: ️
Not the biggest surprise here. All technologies that provided solutions eliminating touch had a fantastic year.
Aeroguest delivers a touch-free Hotel solution
NFC payment, face rec in airports, sensor-controlled surroundings, and so forth.
A great danish example is Aeroguest who is rolling out their touch-free check-in solution for hotels, where your phone becomes your hotel key. Go check them out.
Everything as a service
The number of subscriptions that we have per household has exploded during the year. Everything from virtual yoga classes to Podcasts and food delivery now comes as a subscription. And it is not uncommon for a family to subscribe to Disney+, Netflix, HBOMax, Apple+, and Amazon Prime at the same time. It´s a great business model because we consumers tend to forget. Next up is the subscription aggregator that will keep an eye on everything and make it super simple for you to manage and cancel the subscriptions you don´t want anymore. Like Truebill does.
Truebill helps you manage all your different subscriptions
Hybrid is the new black
Even though most of us today have a hate relationship with Zoom and Teams. We have also enjoyed the upside of not having to travel for hours to attend a physical meeting and the freedom and flexibility that comes from working at home occasionally.
Horizon Workrooms — the new Business Metaverse from Facebook — now Meta
The same goes for conferences and seminars, spinning classes, lectures, and shopping. Hybrid models are here to stay. They will become much better over time and provide truly immersive experiences once we enter the metaverse.
Goodbye to the physical wallet
Honestly, when was the last time you paid with physical money? I didn´t use them at all in 2021. I know this differs from country to country and that Denmark is among the most digitalized countries in the world, with our driver’s license, vaccine passport, and health card all being digitalized.
But this development is sweeping across the globe. According to CNBC, nearly 47% of consumers say they will not shop at a store that does not offer contactless payment.
Klarna from Sweden is now worth more than Deutsche Bank …
The concept of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) also surged during 2021 — just look at the development at Klarna now with a market cap at $ 46 billion — worth more than Deutsche Bank. Another clear indicator is that the next generation won´t be carrying a physical wallet.
TV shopping on steroids: live streaming e-commerce
This one was a clear home run and the business area that I have decided to devote all my time to by co-founding the company Liveshopper.
In an October Liveshopping event, Austin Lee sold for $ 1.7 billion within 12 hours
In a pre-show to Single´s day, the two Chinese live stream anchors Viya and Austin Lee managed to sell for a combined $ 3 billion of goods during their 12-hour show!
Right now, 15% of all e-commerce In China comes from liveshopping. It´s still early days in Europe and US, but McKinsey estimates that the US will reach the same level in 2026. In Denmark, The electronics warehouse Power sold for 20 million DKK during a 4 hours Black Friday show, so it´s also a reality here.
Power managed to sell for DKK 20 million in Denmark during one liveshopping event
️ National Controlled Digital Currencies
This one is a bit tricky since you can argue whether the glass is half full or half empty. While projects are moving forward in a lot of countries like Russia, Japan, and the United States, in response to China’s digital yuan project that is already at an advanced stage, it might take several years before these Central Bank Digital Currencies will be publicly available for everybody.
All the CBDC projects around the world
But while The Danish National Bank has decided not to be active in this field, Sweden officially launched eKrona in September, creating the world’s second digital currency backed by a central bank. So I will count this as a partial home run.
️ A New Health Paradigm
Whoop 4.0 — the most comprehensive consumer health solution to date
In 2021, I had my first digital consultation with my doctor, and it worked super smooth.
Recipes and test results are transferred digitally, appointments are booked online and emails are being answered.
But there is still a long way to go before we face the full effect of the paradigm shift I predicted and described last year.
So even though a lot is happening around the world, and companies like Whoop with their new 4.0 solution and Oura with their Generation 3 ring are making great progress, we didn´t quite end up where I expected.
️ Next-level wireless short-distance technologies
2021 saw the launch of both the Apple Airtag and the extended Find My … App, so never has it been easier to find your stuff. All thanks to the integrated Ultra Wide Band in all Apple devices.
Apple Airtag was released in 2021, making it easier to find your stuff
In September Amazon launched their Sidewalk project together with a dog tracking device called Fetch. But that´s about it. The revolutionary stuff that you could hope for did not show up, so I guess it´s a tie here.
️ The Games War is pushed for 2022
Even though both the Xbox Series X and the Sony Playstation 5 have launched, we are still waiting for the big breakthrough gaming titles. At the same time, it has been almost impossible to get your hands on any of the new consoles in 2021 –because of supply chain issues and lack of computer chips.
So, the big war seems to have been pushed to 2022 and it is bound to be a race about who brings the coolest and most impressive titles to market.
The new Matrix game is surprisingly photorealistic
One of the long-awaited games that have just been released is the Matrix awakens, build on Unreal Engine 5. The trailers show an impressive and very detailed world where you get to be NEO and wander around on your own.
Each platform will try to outmaneuver the other by releasing proprietary games: Marvel will release Spiderman 2 in a fantastic resolution — only available on Playstation 5. On the Xbox, Masterchief is back in Halo Infinite — 20 years after the first Halo game. Now we´re talking 120FPS in 4K Ultra HD. And to top that, the game will be included in the subscription service: Xbox Game Pass — the all-you-can-game package for $ 15/month. So, the war will be fought on consoles, on titles, and on subscription services. Stay tuned for the 2022 season.
️ One more thing: AR Glasses must have to wait another year
I know. This one was my big bet and my big hope. Sadly it didn´t happen. Even though Facebook — now Meta — came through with their launch of Essilorluxottica co-lab smartglasses, it wasn´t the AR glasses that we are all waiting for. Snap also released their new generation of spectacles, calling them AR glasses , but it´s not the real deal.
Snap Spectacles with their first bid on how AR glasses could look
I am still impatiently waiting for Apple to release their glasses and there´s a lot of rumors that it will happen in 2022. I guess we´ll just have to wait one more year …
In conclusion: A Year of hits and misses
As always you can´t win them all, but most of my predictions came in quite close. A lot of releases were postponed because of shortages in components and supply chain issues, but seen from a digital perspective 2021 was a wild year anyway where challenges and opportunities were unevenly distributed between industries.
New technology areas popped up during the year, which I will address in my 10 tech predictions for 2022. I am done compiling my list, so stay tuned here for my next articles about the most interesting digital topics we will all talk about and work with for the year to come.