Our annual Future 100 report dives into the trends, innovation and cultural changes that will drive the next year. How did last year’s predictions fare? Below, we look back at our most accurate predictions in culture, technology and travel.
Trend check: Best of our 2021 predictions - Culture, Technology and Travel
Dec 20, 2021
We're taking a look at what we got right in culture, technology and travel.
New gaming frontiers (#2)
Gaming spaces continued to transform for a range of events and audiences for virtual gathering and connection.
- Gaming platforms are hosting large events acting as virtual venues. Ariana Grande’s Rift Tour, hosted on Fortnite, kicked off in August and allowed players to watch, dance, and travel virtually in-game during the concert. Networking and professional events took advantage of gaming platforms as well. The South by Southwest (SXSW) 2021 Conference and Festival was hosted by Unreal Engine for thousands of viewers.
- Branded virtual worlds are popping up across industries, generating fresh engagement with new audiences. Vans World launched as a virtual skatepark in September where Roblox players can practice skateboarding tricks, design their own Vans shoes and skateboards, and try on virtual gear. The Hyundai Mobility Adventure launched on Roblox in September, made up of five “parks” where users can race, play games, learn about Hyundai’s technologies and take part in festivals. Roblox is also hosting the Ralph Lauren Winter Escape, a holiday-themed popup experience where users can experience the Ralph Lauren world and purchase limited-edition items from the collection.
- Virtual real estate development has naturally evolved as well. Upland raised $ 18 million at $300M valuation in November for an NFT-based virtual real estate game. The Sandbox virtual gaming world hosted their first multi-week play to earn event from November to December, allowing gamers to purchase digital land, create non-fungible tokens within the game and monetize on their quests and builds.
Tech & innovation
Data sustainability (#13)
Brands are pledging to combat their digital footprints on the environment.
- Mastercard launched a global Sustainability Innovation Lab in September in Stockholm, Sweden. The global research and development center will develop digital products and solutions with climate in mind, while also supporting impact driven startups and customers.
- NHS Digital announced a plan to move towards carbon neutral practices, including revising cloud hosting technologies. Its commitment will support staff and update sustainable practices throughout the company.
- The Bitcoin Mining Council debuted in June 2021, aiming to increase transparency in the industry. To temper backlash for the industry’s high-energy consumption, the group aims to standardize energy reporting and address global community concerns related to Bitcoin.
- El Salvador’s Bitcoin city announced plans to be built at the base of a volcano, fueling Bitcoin mining with geothermal energy.
Travel & hospitality
Informed journeys (#29)
Travelers are turning to apps to navigate their journeys sustainably and safely.
- Travelers can now track the carbon impact of their flight before they book it via Google Flight’s carbon emission estimates. Each flight is labeled as high, low, typical, or unknown.
- Environmental awareness is driving travel in other ways as well. The European Commission proposed the European Year of Rail initiative in 2021, highlighting sustainable and safe transport in post-pandemic times.
- Booking.com’s 2021 Sustainable Travel Report assessed responses from 29,000 travelers across 30 countries. 61% stated that the pandemic made consumers want to travel more sustainably, and 49% believe there are not enough sustainable travel options available. To combat this, Booking.com is now showing third-party sustainability certifications for properties around the world.
Main image courtesy of the Ralph Lauren Winter Escape on Roblox.