Do you remember when we walked around with our eyes down on our phones and played Pokémon Go? When the #MeToo movement went viral? Or when everyone started recording dance videos and posting them on TikTok? Between 2016 and today, a lot has happened in the world. We end our 25 year blog series by addressing some of the digital innovations that have happened in the last 6 years.
We start the article 6 years ago, in other words in 2016. The year when we at Softhouse became part of Google’s partner program to be able to offer our customers the Google Cloud platform. At the same time around the world, Pokémon Go was launched. For those of you who missed this hyped application, it meant that, through your phone, you should find and capture different Pokémon in different, physical, places in your city. Pokémon Go was a huge success and quickly became the most downloaded game in world history. In the summer of 2016, you probably saw most people staring down at their mobile phones outdoors searching and catching Pokémon. The game was honored because the game made more people go out and move their bodys. But it also had a positive social aspect when meeting other players and catching monsters together or challenging each other in different challenges.
Some others who were honored that year were Grace Hopper who invented the compiler, Bill Gates who founded Microsoft and the programmer Margaret Hamilton whose code put man on the moon, received the “Presidential Medal of Freedom” in the United States.
Technology development took off and in 2016 something was launched that has been on the lips of many people for many years, namely Virtual Reality (VR) which also became a hit with their new products. VR is a way of using technology to see reality through a pair of glasses. In practice, it is above all about putting on a headset that makes you feel like you are somewhere else. The technology is used for everything from various games and education to the treatment of phobias.
The same year there were also some updates for our various social apps. One of them is Whatsapp and Viber, chat apps that have now started using encryption. Which means that no one except the recipient can see what you are writing, which the police in many countries protested against. They believe it prevents the fight against crime and terrorism. Another 2016 update was made by Facebook. The platform had received some criticism because there was only a like button and no other reactions or feelings. So this year, Facebook chose to supplement the like button with buttons that give different emotional and facial expressions.
Smart homes became a trend
For us, we started 2017 by founding Softhouse Invest. Softhouse Invest is our investment company that invests both expertise, capital and knowledge while the companies get an active partner that provides guidance, management skills and capital for digitization.
Another company that is also launching something new in 2017 is IKEA. The company enters the market for smart homes by launching the lighting package “Trådfri”. Now you can control your lamps through an IKEA application. In the same year, IKEA launched smart speakers “Symfonisk” through a collaboration with Sonos.
Having smart devices at home became more trendy and the same year Google launched “Google Home” which is a voice-activated smart speaker to have in your home. Google Home uses Google Assistant to perform tasks such as answering questions, making calls, playing music, etc.
More launches are taking place this year such as the Nintendo Switch, the game Fortnite is launched, and you can start paying through your iphone with Apple Pay at the same time as Facebook launched its function “Marketplace” in Sweden. There you can sell and buy things through ads that cost nothing to post. Which became an immediate competitor to Blocket and Tradera where you have to pay for your uploaded ads.
A historic event that happened in 2017 was the #MeToo movement spread around the world and was started by a hashtag. The purpose of Me Too is to draw attention to sexual harassment against women and the movement became global. As early as 2006, the American Tarana Burke created the hashtag to draw attention to the situation of black young women in vulnerable areas. But the hashtag got its big spread when actress Alyssa Milano 2017 asks women who have been sexually harassed to respond to her tweet with the words “me too”.
Even in Sweden, the hashtag is a starting shot for a number of high-profile cases where public men, but also a number of women, are forced to leave their jobs after accusations of sexual harassment. Me too is hailed by political leaders and described by researchers as a historical movement – think what a hashtag can accomplish and be a starting shot for.
Take control over your data
Speaking of social media, something else that attracted attention in 2018 was the company Cambridge Analytica which became one of this year’s big IT bombs. Cambridge Analytica was investigated for its use of data from 50 million Facebook users in connection with the US presidential election in 2016. It turns out that the British analysis company collected data and used it for Donald Trump’s election campaign and before the Brexit vote.
In the same year, private individuals in the EU will have more control over their data. In 2018, a new GDPR law entered. The GDPR gives all EU citizens the right to know and decide how their personal data is used, stored, protected, transferred and deleted. An organization that fails to do so can be fined up to 4 percent of their annual revenue.
Another law in Sweden that entered in 2018 is that the mobile phone use behind the wheel is banned. Which means that it is now forbidden to surf, text and talk on the phone while sitting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, as long as you do not use hands-free.
One channel that is being developed is Youtube, which is no longer just a free service. In the summer of 2018, Youtube will launch “Youtube Music” and “Youtube Premium”, which means that Youtube videos can be ad-free and now there is the opportunity to save videos in offline mode.
Another social channel launched this year and is today one of the largest when it comes to social media, and that is TikTok, which was originally called Musically. TikTok is an app where users create short film clips and clips with music, dance or entertainment. TikTok started as a dance and music app and spread like wildfire among the world’s young and old, making people viral with millions of followers overnight. Today, all sorts of clips are uploaded through the app, but above entertainment, dance or music clips. Today, Tiktok is the fastest growing social media platform and has over 500 million active users worldwide.
25 years of digital innovations
In 2019, folding phones was the new hype. In mid-October 2019, the first folding phone was launched in Sweden, namely the Samsung Galaxy Fold. A 7.3 inch tablet that can be folded into a 4.6 inch phone. But Samsung was not the first in the market with this. First on the market was the company Royole with the phone Flexpaj.
Another new hype thing in 2019 will be “dark mode” in the phone or on the computer. All apps and programs are starting to create the ability to darken the background. A function that can both save power and be more comfortable for the eyes. In the fall of 2019, for example, Google launched dark mode in Gmail. Regarding phones and computers, the world’s first commercial 5G network was launched in Finland in 2019. In Sweden, however, we had to wait for the new generation of mobile networks until 2020. But something we did not have to wait for was the new TV by LG. LG Signature Oled TV R which is a 65 inch screen that can be rolled down in a compact black box. That same year, you could now watch Disney+ on your TV, mobile or iPad. Disney + is a streaming service with entertainment from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic and other franchise companies.
Many had high expectations for 2020 and that several incredible things would happen. Unfortunately, there was a setback that we all know about when the pandemic, covid-19 breaks out at the end of December 2019 and makes the last two years everything else but normal. Which of course also affected digital innovations and technologies.
For us at Softhouse, several events happened in 2020 which we are grateful for. Two of them are that we opened a new office in Karlshamn and moved the Malmö office to Slagthuset in Malmö. A year later, we welcomed Milou to the group and started up our office in Kalmar in common premises with them. Our office in Jönköping also got a new, fresh office right in the center. Last but not least, we celebrated 25 years together with all our colleagues in Båstad! A weekend that offered many fun activities such as riding, padel, golf, mountain biking, team building, spa and much more. We are so happy that we were able to have this celebration together in October 2021 and we look forward to a joint continued journey forward! Do you also want to be a part of Softhouse? We are now looking for more colleagues for our different offices around southern Sweden. Take a look at our career page and we will tell you more!
During these 6 years, lots of exciting things happened that we are grateful for today. This article has only included a few of all the major events that happened during these years. Do you want to read the entire blog series with 25 years of digital innovations? Take a look at this page!
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