As 2020 draws to a close, RTÉ News takes a look at seven ways in which the Irish and global economy was changed fundamentally this year.

2020 will be remembered as the year of the screen as the pandemic pushed normally face-to-face interactions into the digital world - exposing the sometimes yawning gaps in the country's connectivity in the process.

2019 ended with the Government finally signing the controversial National Broadband Plan - and while the debate about its bidding process and price will continue for some time, row about its scale was largely put to bed by the end of March.

With hundreds of thousands of workers and students suddenly shifting their activities from the office, school or university to the home, there were immediate fears about the ability of the country's networks to cope.

Meanwhile others found that the best connection they could get was simply not good enough, as the gaps in Ireland's broadband network were laid bare.

So the real work of the National Broadband Plan could not happen soon enough for some - though there is still some waiting to go - another six or seven years for some. The Government has sought to shorten that timeframe, though it is unlikely to be by any dramatic duration.

Another positive development for those languishing in buffering hell was the growth of 5G connectivity during the year - with more networks ultra-fast connections over the air.

However the nature of the technology means the roll-out has so-far favoured the country's towns and cities, with less populated areas likely to be waiting some time for its arrival too.

But for those that could connect, the phone, tablet or laptop screen quickly became their conduit with the world.

Online retailers - and in particular big players like Amazon - saw sales boom while bricks and mortar shops were out-of-bounds.

Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ (which launched in Ireland just in time for the first lockdown) saw subscriptions soar as homes replaced real-world entertainment with box set binges.

Meanwhile the team meeting, lecture hall, classroom and even family catch-up migrated to video chat - with the previously unknown Zoom suddenly becoming a must-have app.

The Californian company went from relatively obscurity to verb in a matter of weeks, somehow overtaking established platforms like Skype, Microsoft Teams and Apple's FaceTime to become the de facto digital meeting space.

But with that overnight success came problems - with multiple security issues being highlighted.

And having benefitted from what has been a terrible backdrop for most other businesses, it also suffered when the dream of a post-pandemic world moved closer to a reality.

Between January and October, Zoom shares rose by more than 740% on the back of its success. In the weeks since they've fallen by about 29%, however, roughly coinciding with data from Pfizer and Modena that shows just how effective their Covid vaccines are.