If 2016 was a painting, it would be an eclectic mix of gradients splashed on top of each and then lit on fire. Yes, that’s how crazy this year actually was. With host changes, some unbelievably cool, some, just unbelievable, this year has seemingly had a lot to talk about. Full of hits and misses, the one word to describe the year was overwhelming.
- Change is difficult, metaphorically and literally.
My fellow citizens and I have been privy to one of the most substantial changes in economic policy in many decades. Gone are the days of those ₹ 500, ₹ 1000 notes, gone are the days of black money, and gone are the days of any sort of cash availability actually. Tis the year that banks got busy, lost their holidays and online wallets sprang into action and saved the day. Not a trend any tech or financial expert saw coming in the least! With the demonetisation move, millions of Indians are being forced to change their habits and management of cash by switching to online currency. Could it have been implemented better? Yes. Does it change the state of black money and corruption, we’ll have to see. Is digital the future of currency? Substantially. Will the queues ever stop? Oh god I hope yes.
- Dude, where's my car? It’s driving itself.
Thanks to Hollywood, comic books and the Jetsons, our vision of the future was flying cars, Somewhere down the road, that dystopian idea was exchanged for a more plausible and practical one—self-driving cars.
When tech giants boosted their moonshot ideas, their first aim was creating autonomous machines driving passengers around and dealing with, and eventually eradicating traffic accidents. For a change, this futuristic idea made it’s way to the consumers through Tesla Model X and it’s slew of cool features, one of which is ‘summon’ where you get to ping your car nearby and it drives itself upto you, making you feel like Tony Stark for a minute. Even the fact that you can put your car in autopilot on a commercial road shows the technology is here and ready to be utilised in practical scenarios.
This cool idea of course comes with it’s set of challenges, like somebody remotely driving your car with you in it or crashes due to technical error, leading to serious damage and accountability issues. However, brands like GM, Ford, Tesla, Google and Uber working actively towards this future shows the faith and subsequent resources we’re willing to put into this future. Hey, if it means safer roads and beer delivering itself to your doorstep, then the only way is forward!
- From Akashwaani to Amazon originals!
2016 was a big year for content in India. By the week before this article is published, Indian consumers had access to hundreds of movies and tv series collectively across 6 major online content providers (not including Youtube). That’s significantly more content delivered online than the whole of last decade in India.
The year saw a big player like Amazon entering the market with it’s Prime video service at competitive prices, and even Netlfix expanded it’s library for the Indian consumer. This is in addition to platforms like Hotstar, Spuul, Jio serving content to countless users, and it was not on a dish (Proud of that joke).
Are we at a place where we can replace our set top boxes completely with streaming services? No, but we’re close, and it means that the global content industry has chosen India as a decisive market for it’s expansion, also giving us a legitimate reason to expect better internet speeds!
- When a brand wants to go brand new!
This year meant a fresh change for a lot of brands, so Instagram became purple and yellow and whatever-the-other-colour is. Some people legit lost their cool over the new logo, vowing to boycott the brand because of it. Thanks to the reach of online, changing a logo for a multinational brand is no more a personal decision under the expertise of a designer, it’s a forum in the form of online warfare of opinions around the world.
Does it really have that much of an impact on a user’s daily life? Did a tagline/slogan like “Make America Great again” actually enable a racist billionaire to rule a superpower? Thats highly debatable.
Maybe not in the long run, but the first stage of such changes are usually non-acceptance. On the other hand, most people wouldn’t even know when MasterCard changed it’s logo. So the debate is really open on whether the new logo is a no-go.
- The social network that didn’t work.
So social media got a president elected, right? Maybe not. 2016 was the year people put Facebook in a place of power, the power to change person. Owing to it’s impact on influencing opinions to the extent of changing the outcome of an election, Facebook decided to change it’s strategy and curb the enormous volume of fake news around it’s feeds.
Are we really there though? Did Facebook really get Donald Trump elected through it’s echo chamber strategy or fake news circulation? Or did we just choose to ignore the presence of this huge populace in the central belt of America, who, when you look at it, is not as attached to social
media or even the internet as the two coasts of America.
This simply brings the true impact of social media on people’s opinions into question, one whose answers will change over time.
So there you have it, the year that was, full of changes. If we had to sum it up, we’d go with ‘overwhelming’. Now, to look forward to 2017 and hoping the changes aren't all too bad, or inconsequential.