Top 15 tech innovations of the last 25 years

Text messaging – 1992

1992 saw the first ever text message. Now one of the most commonly used forms of communication, the text message has grown from simple, short sentences to a full medium in and of itself including digital images, videos, sound bites and emojis. Texting has moved from short form of communication between casual and comfortable friends to have a place in business, family life, governmental practice and everything in between.

The DVD – 1995 

The days of the VHS were numbered when the high capacity DVD hit the stands in 1995; compact with explosive audio and brilliant visuals, the DVD became available for mass consumption when the price dropped from $100 per disk to $20.

Consumer digital cameras – mid 90’s

The mid 90’s saw the increased accessibility in small, point and shoot digital cameras. The decrease in price meant photography and documentation was now anyone’s game. We said goodbye to elitism within photography and welcomed a new wave of excessive holiday pictures, school play videos and drunken selfies.

Nintendo 64 – 1996 

Nintendo sold more than 20 million 64 consoles in the US alone and was the third home video game console up for international sale from the company. Not only do we have to include this console on the list for the sake of pure nostalgia but also to note the shift Nintendo has most recently taken in reverting back to 64-esque cartridges in their 2017 release, the Nintendo Switch. Our days of blowing on cartridges and jamming them back in aren’t over just yet.

Google search – 1997 

It is pretty hard to imagine our lives without Google. What if I want to know the average number of spots on a leopard? Google it. How about the exact number of semi-detached houses in Iceland? Just Google it. As of 2016 Google Web Search is the most used search engine in the US, with a 64 percent market share, and realistically, I need tell you no more. Your life, my life, everyone’s lives would be substantially more annoying without Google.

DVR – 1998 

The rise of DVR gave way to a new world of on demand television. We said goodbye to appointment television, watching our favourite shows whenever we wished AND being able to fast forward through the adverts was the way to go. Whilst TiVo and DVR meant the shows had to be recorded and re-watched at a later date, it certainly introduced the world to consumer driven viewing, encouraging the later development of on-demand television.

Wi-Fi – 1998 

Really, it’s a no brainer. As much as we can wax nostalgic about the old dial up tone and having to hop off Miniclip when someone wanted to use the phone, Wi-Fi really did change the way we use the internet. From personal computers and hand held mobile devices to games consoles, cameras and printers – the modern world is Wi-Fi obsessed. The world wide web is near constant  and there is nothing out of reach.

Online blogger platforms – 1999 

With the rise of YouTube, bloggers and general internet fame we must give a nod of thanks to the development of blogging platforms such as Blogger, released in 1999. They have opened up entirely new and lucrative career paths created around maintaining an online presence and communicating via blogging and social media with an audience, enabling anyone to create and seek readership.

USB flash drive – 2000

Again, we can wax lyrical over the death of the floppy disk, but largely our lives have been made substantially easier with the introduction of the USB stick. Immediate and effective external storage made the transferring of documents and data a quick and painless experience, enabling the public to no longer be limited to email file size restrictions.

Bluetooth – 2000

Making the list purely for the primary school days of ‘bluetoothing’ a song to your friend so they could have the best ring tone, Bluetooth made file sharing easy. It took a while and we may have all had to stand with our phones piled on top of each other but there is no understating the significance of Bluetooth connection when it comes to wireless connectivity.

Wikipedia – 2001 

Even if you’re just using the random article generating button, we are all a little smarter from having Wikipedia in our lives. Despite the fact you’re told not to use it in your coursework, you still do, you just don’t put it in your bibliography. Wikipedia has become to go to answer of the world wide’s web of questions. Arguably, also its web of lies, as Wikipedia saw the rise of user-created content and the sudden awareness of the unreliability of content within the internet. Needless to say, we still love it.

Digital camcorders – 2003

In 2003 Sony released the XDCAM tapeless video format, that allowed users to create video content that saved onto a memory chip instead of a tape. The revolution in this digital format meant the videos could easily be downloaded onto a computing system for storage as well editing. It also means your embarrassing toddler home videos can make it onto Facebook with complete ease – thank you Sony.

Google Maps – 2005 

Not everyone can be blessed with a perfect sense of direction, and for those lucky enough not to know their streets from their avenues, Google Maps is here to save the day. The general introduction of GPS into the lives of the public was groundbreaking, having moved from only being available to the US military to wide public use, the world became that much easier to explore.

Iphone – 2007 

The iPhone really showed the world the power of the touchscreen device. It took the world but storm and with the rise of the iPhone, came the rise of apps. Released in 2008, a year after the iPhone had been up and running and in the trembling hands of the general public, Apple released the App Store, unleashing a world of addictive games, photo editing apps and online shopping hubs so the world could be a finger tapping, slightly more beautiful than reality, penniless group of people. I salute you Apple.

360 Camera – 2017 

The selfie stick wasn’t enough. We didn’t simply want to be able to see a picture of your outfit from one angle – we wanted it from ALL angles. The 360 camera make your dodgey panoramas less glitchy and ensures everyone included has the correct limbs in the correct place and of the correct length. With the rise of the 360 cam, we’re seeing Youtube content from the likes of Casey Neistat sailing through New York or on the Oscars red carpet as well as an increase in 360 images on Facebook.

Photo: iPhone, Karlis Dambrans, Flickr; all others Pixabay.


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July 2021
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