Ten year tech retrospective; the big moments since Gemalto was born

Last updated: 08 August 2022

Ten years ago, Gemalto was formed by the merger of Gemplus International and Axalto. Technology has changed so much since then, and its effect on society has been profound. Since 2006, smartphones and their apps have brought us all closer together, the explosion of cloud computing has allowed businesses to scale with ease, and the arrival of the Internet of Things could help us tackle some of the biggest challenges we face.

But there have been many other technology developments that have also gone on to shape the way we live today. We put together this snapshot across various sectors to give you a sense of what’s happened.

Consumer tech

In March 2006, Twitter launches with the idea of sharing live status updates. While its creators didn’t really know its purpose at the time, it has gone on to become the de facto source for breaking news.

In June 2007, Apple launches the iPhone, changing the mobile industry at a stroke. Smartphones are now people’s most important device, putting practically everything we need at the tap of a screen. At the end of 2015, 1.5 billion smartphones are sold worldwide – five times the number of PCs.

Not wanting to be left out of the innovation conversation, Google set its self-driving cars free onto the streets its campus in October 2010. Meanwhile, Tesla Motors, the electric vehicle pioneer, has spent the last decade producing the most advanced cars ever, without cutting corners on style.

And just this March, the first mass market commercial Virtual Reality headsets have gone on sale – with high hopes they can be the next big thing after the smartphone.


The payments industry is currently enjoying a boom, with the Fintech revolution promising to seriously disrupt the banking industry. But the incumbents will be hard to beat, as banks continue to innovate their digital channels.

Back in 2006 we saw the first roll-out of contactless banking cards in Europe, while the following year, Barclays launches 2-Factor authentication to secure online banking – a mere six years before Twitter allows strong authentication!

Then in 2011, Google & Blackberry both launched the world’s first NFC payment solutions. This was followed up by Samsung and VISA who launched their version for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Mobile payments continued their momentum with Apple Pay launching in 2014, and in October of that year, Spain’s CaixaBank embraced the wearable boom, with payment bracelets.

Last year, Samsung and Google launched their own mobile payment solutions using host-card emulation and tokenization for securing mobile payments.

Identification services

ID services have also evolved in the past decade. In 2006, the first electronic passports were rolled-out in many countries in the EU, the U.S. and others. These helped improve security as well as opening up to new services like automated border control using ePassport gates that smooth immigration.

In 2011, biometric voter registration was used to create an electoral register for Benin’s presidential elections smoothing the democratic process in West Africa. And back in Europe, over 24% of Estonians cast their votes on the Internet during the country’s parliamentary elections.

Cyber security

Cybercrime continues to be a very pressing issue, so much so that in May this year, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said cyber threats were the single biggest risk to financial markets. The past ten years have shown why.

In 2007, malware called Zeus was identified that was able to steal personal details via keylogging and form grabbing. International agencies spent many years trying to capture the author of the original code. Criminals used it to steal over $70 million, and variants of the original Trojan are still in use in some of today’s biggest hacks.

Other notable hacks include the 40 million card details of Target customers, and Sony Pictures who had unreleased films, sensitive emails and the social security numbers of 47,000 employees maliciously leaked.

Last year, there were over 700 million records breached – that’s almost 2 million a day and 1346 every minute.

Mobile networks

Mobile has almost developed at an incredible pace. In 2006, 3G was still the buzzword, but by late 2010, Verizon had already rolled out their 4G-LTE network for 110 million Americans. 148 countries now have 4G LTE networks, but the industry is already looking ahead with 5G standards well on their way to being finalized.

In 2014 the GSMA first released standards for embedded SIM provisioning for M2M while in February 2016 this was extended to consumer devices like tablets and watches. This will have a huge impact on the development of the Internet of Things – opening up new levels of connectivity to manufacturing, industry and end-users.


This past decade has all been about productivity, and how technology has enabled the “as-a-Service” business model.

In 2009, Google and others start offering browser-based enterprise applications, though services such as Google Apps thanks to cloud computing.

Meanwhile over at Intel, the IT team noticed employees using their own devices at work. This would become the BYOD trend that continues to challenge IT departments to strike a balance between access to and the security of sensitive data.

The last major development has been the emergence of Big Data in 2011. Academics noted that in 1986, 99.2% of all storage capacity was analog, but in 2007, 94% of storage capacity was digital. Companies began to analyze and interpret the vast datasets their held, looking to gain a competitive edge.

The pace of innovation since 2006 has been relentless. It makes us spare a thought for government officials who set technology policy – they could sign up to something today only for a crazy inventor to come out with something that changes everything. Here’s to the future!

Do you think we’ve missed any important tech developments over in the past 10 years, and what excites you about the future? Get in touch either in the comments or @Gemalto.

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