With a year that’s been shaped by a virus and the protection against it, there have been countless societal changes and inventions that have become essential during the pandemic. With both old and new, technology and advancements have allowed people to find a way to persevere during this virus. This list will highlight the technologies, inventions, and trends that have become symbolic of 2020. 

1. First off, is the mask.

Mandate, protests, arguments for and against them. Masks have been around long before the COVID-19 crisis, but this year they’ve been pushed into the spotlight like never before. Despite them being an old invention, pretty much everyone can admit that one of the biggest symbols of 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic is the protective face mask.

2. Another spotlight of a COVID-19 world is the germ-free/no-touch door opening tool and stylus.

Companies such as the Kooty Key have been around since 2017, but since the pandemic, many have started utilizing tools such as these, with the brass alternatives like the No Contact Key taking off since the beginning of 2020.

3. And then there’s our new primary form of social contact: Zoom.

With almost every school and college working via Zoom classes, as well as many meetings and even social events taking place on the platform, the assorted boxes of loved ones and associates will definitely be a remembered staple of the culture surrounding Covid.

4. Followed of course by Cloud Computing.

With everything going online and many jobs transitioning to work from home, paper has become mostly obsolete. With companies like Microsoft reporting a 775% spike in demand for cloud services due to COVID-19, you can’t deny the newfound reliance on cloud storage everyone now has for their work/schooling.

5. And of course an oldie but a goodie, hand sanitizer & soap.

With the stressed importance of cleanliness, this year has been one that emphasized the 2-minute hand washing rule and has stocked every public space with hand sanitizer to lower the spread.

6. And everyone’s latest guilty pleasure, contactless delivery apps.

With the recurring closings of dining-in at restaurants and the new stay at home guidelines, many have turned to contactless delivery apps such as Postmates, Grubhub, DoorDash, and Uber Eats to get the food they enjoy from the comfort of their own homes. Contactless delivery of the food makes it a means of getting meals with minimal risk, which has caused these apps to thrive.

7. Mirrored closely by the surge in digital retail.

With the closing of stores and the dangers associated with the ones that are still open, digital retailers and online merchants have thrived. Amazon was already a hugely successful digital retailer, but it has reached new heights since COVID-19 and many can see the increase in their own online shopping order histories.

8. And the boom in contactless payment options.

While the use of contactless payment has already been increasing, the sentiment that COVID-19 has caused has created a newfound desire for space and contactless forms of everyday activities. Meaning this form of payment has thrived. Many businesses have started accepting contactless payments such as Tap and Apple Pay to assimilate into our new world, where contactless payment is seen as the safest form.

9. Then there were new surges of old school forms of entertainment like drive-ins and drive-thru shows. 

Because of social distancing guidelines, people have been left searching for entertainment and have turned to drive-in and drive-thru alternatives to places like movie theaters. With drive-in movies making a comeback, park and rave festivals and drive through haunted houses and Christmas lights thriving, many will remember their most entertaining moments of the year taking place within the confines of a car.

10. And of course, there were the constant reminders that 2020 was not a normal year, made evident by the abundance of social distancing floor markers that now litter our world.

For those who did leave their homes this year, one of the things no one will be able to forget is the abundance of social media floor markers. Whether it’s a spot marking where you should stand or arrows telling you which way to walk, anyone who’s been in public this past year has had to follow the guidelines on the floor.

Now here’s hoping that 2021 comes with some more memorable trends and inventions that don’t revolve around safety from a virus.

Rocky Walker (he/him/his)

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