Tech

The biggest technology trend in 2021

I found an unpleasant familiarity with the Greek alphabet from the latest variant of COVID-19. Supply chain issues have increased food bills, and bad weather has made the climate crisis even more serious. However, 2021 was also a year of positive change, with widespread vaccine deployments, many restructuring their careers, and a surge in the stock market.

There was a lot about innovation. Here are some of the biggest technology trends of the year.

Give the pandemic the best shot

Despite the slow, often chaotic deployment of vaccines, more than 76% of Canada’s population is currently inoculated, and booster programs are accelerating. Significant developments are underway to ensure that Canada is more self-sufficient in navigating the next wave. In August, the federal government announced plans to build a state-of-the-art mRNA vaccine production facility in Canada, and biopharmacy manufacturers are approaching to provide the country with the first homemade COVID-19 vaccine.

“Since the pandemic, Canada’s view of pharmaceuticals has changed dramatically,” said Takashi Nagao, president and CEO of biotechnology company Medicago. “I don’t know when the next pandemic will occur, and I can’t do it all on one platform or company.”

Medicago’s plant-based vaccine has shown promising results for delta variants in Phase 3 trials, but is awaiting approval from Health Canada. “We are pleased to have the potential to contribute to the diversification of the pool of vaccines available,” says Nagao.

Meanwhile, researchers at McMaster University are making advances in adenovirus COVID vaccines delivered by inhaled aerosols that directly target the lungs. Human clinical trials are expected to begin early next year, but this vaccine delivery method still needs further research.

Fiona Smile, a senior researcher and professor of infectious diseases and medical microbiology at McMaster University, said:

In terms of treatment, Vancouver-based Abcelera Biologics aims to build on the success of bablanivimab, an antibody therapy that was approved for emergency use in Canada and the United States last year and saved thousands of lives. increase. This month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expanded the emergency use authorization for bumlanivimab, which was given with another monoclonal antibody, etesevimab, to treat COVID in patients under the age of 12.

Large-scale remodeling at Big Tech

From rebranding Facebook as Meta to the resignation of Twitter and Amazon’s CEO, Big Tech has undergone several major changes.

Taylor Owen, founder of the Center for Media, Technology and Democracy at McGill University, said:

The need for tighter regulation is increasing. In the fall, former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen accused the company of deliberately causing discord after leaking tens of thousands of internal documents about social media giants.

Owen said big tech needs to be curbed, arguing that Canada needs to strengthen digital governance, significantly increase transparency and accountability, and intensify competition in the online market. increase. “In 2022, we have the opportunity to learn from what other countries have done and implement a serious governance agenda,” he says.

Funds are flowing into Canadian companies

Silicon Valley Bank expects Canada to end 2021 with a record of venture capital transactions. By the end of September, there were already 568 transactions, worth $ 11.8 billion, according to the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association. That’s more than all of 2019, the highest year of the previous year, with $ 6.2 billion invested in 560 transactions.

Experts attribute this momentum to later rounds of funding, as mature Canadian ventures tend to attract more money from foreign venture capitalists. Big deals this year include $ 375 million in Series D funding from ApplyBoard in June and $ 250 million in Series D funding from Vancouver’s Dapper Labs in September. This follows the $ 305 million in Series C funding that landed earlier this year. ..

“We’re building a better company. It’s a fast-growing company that can raise late-stage funding instead of selling,” said Charles Plant, founder of the Narwhal Project, an organization that supports emerging technology companies. I am saying.

According to Plant, more mega deals are expected next year. “I think software will continue to outperform health and clean technology, as so many companies are ready to make breakthroughs,” he says.

Supply chain problems are protracted

Whether it’s semiconductors, meat, or Christmas trees, this year’s global supply chain vulnerabilities were on display, requiring companies of all sizes to rethink how to get supplies.

“The global impact of COVID-19 has increased the importance and urgency of transparency and access to supplier information,” said Stephany Lapierre, founder and CEO of Toronto supply chain management company TealBook. I am saying. “Companies are becoming a higher priority and teams need to keep up with demand while adapting to market changes.”

While some experts predict that the supply chain crisis will ease in the second half of 2022, companies still need to plan ongoing challenges. In other words, you need good data. “Accessing the right information gives us more diversity and flexibility in our network, protects us from costly disruptions, and enables organizations to be agile when faced with new needs,” Lapierre said. say.

To the moon!Increasing interest in cryptospace

In November, Bitcoin rose to a record high of nearly $ 69,000. Venture capital funds have invested about $ 30 billion into the crypto industry this year, more than all years have combined. But the busiest segment of crypto space belongs to non-fungible tokens (NFTs): Shopify announces a program that allows creators to sell these digital collections, and Nike buys a virtual shoe company. , Even Melania Trump is launching a new NFT venture.

“We can expect to offer more and more cryptocurrencies,” said Cédric Jeannot, co-founder of Be One Financial, an app that accepts cash and cryptocurrency deposits and allows consumers to convert one to the other. In addition, further growth of NFT is expected. “NFTs have many use cases, such as renting a work of art to a digital museum or creating a kind of Spotify 2.0 where artists are automatically paid for each time a song is played, without human intervention. I do, “says Jeannot.

1969

It was a historic year for humans in space. With 13 crew members in space flight (8 orbits, 5 quasi-orbits), three private companies (SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic) have completed groundbreaking commercial missions.

“Until last year, the big question in replacing old space guards was whether incumbents could keep up with the pace of innovation. I think the answer is now the decisive” no “,” he told space technology. Chad Anderson, managing partner of Space Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on it, says.

Planet Labs, one of Space Capital’s portfolio companies, the Earth observation satellite business, began trading in NASDAQ on December 8. Anderson expects this trend to continue next year. “We expect more space companies to be unveiled in 2022,” he says.

His other future predictions are that SpaceX’s giant starship (reusable spacecraft) will reach full orbit, the first commercial mission to the Moon, a civilian space station, and some of the satellites. Includes breakthroughs.

Adena Ali writes about MaRS technology. Toronto Star’s parent company, Torstar, has partnered with MaRS to highlight the innovation of Canadian companies.



The biggest technology trend in 2021

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