The tech sector moves fast, with some new innovations launching and folding quicker than you can blink (remember Google Glass?). Meanwhile, the pandemic has changed everything from how we work to how we interact socially, shifting consumer behaviors and market trends accordingly.
All this disruption makes it difficult to predict where tech will develop in 2022. In a recent survey, a team of experts was able to identify specific “drivers” behind tech innovations of the future.
“Desire for sustainable energy, the availability of wireless/broadband connectivity, and use of technology for medical procedures ranked highest as drivers, while 3D printing, the use of robots for labor, and cloud computing were ranked most highly as major disruptors,” wrote the IEEE 2022 report team.
Here are just a few of the technologies driven by these market trends that may become more common in 2022.
Blockchain is not a new technology. From trendy cryptocurrencies to NFTs, blockchain is now familiar to most consumers — even if few understand the engineering behind it. In 2022, Deloitte predicts that blockchain will become an integral part of doing business.
“Blockchain and [distributed ledger technology] platforms have crossed the disillusionment trough of the hype cycle and are well on their way to driving real productivity,” wrote Deloitte analysts. “They are fundamentally changing the nature of doing business across organizational boundaries and helping companies reimagine how they make and manage identity, data, brand, provenance, professional certifications, copyrights, and other tangible and digital assets.”
Blockchain has evolved to a level of maturity, with the regulatory standards and technology to support it, that will enable organizations to adopt the technology for security and interoperability. As the need to share data securely continues to rise, blockchain is a palatable, relatively common solution.
Speaking of the need to share data: Cloud technology has been the saving grace for many businesses that have shifted to remote work over the last two years. Gartner predicts that 47% of knowledge workers will work remotely in 2022, up from 27% pre-pandemic. As a result, cloud-enabled workspaces, collaboration tools, and monitoring programs are here to stay.
Perhaps the biggest technological development in 2022 will be the rise of cloud-based security tools and cloud data loss prevention (DLP). Gartner previously estimated that by 2021, 90% of organizations will have implemented at least one form of integrated DLP, up from 50% in 2017. However, many CIOs are prioritizing programs that can continue to protect the cloud as hybrid work scales.
If Facebook’s rebrand is any indication, metaverses are going to become more widespread in 2022. A metaverse doesn’t refer to one specific type of technology, but rather a broad shift in how we interact with technology, described Wired. Technologies make up the metaverse, which can exist or be accessed using VR, AR, or even through phones, PCs, and gaming consoles — such as the "Fortnite" metaverse.
How close are we to an accessible, always-on metaverse? It’s still the stuff of science fiction, but perhaps 2022 will see new developments in technology that enable us to get closer.
“If VR and AR headsets become comfortable and cheap enough for people to wear on a daily basis — a substantial ‘if’ — then perhaps the idea of a virtual poker game where your friends are robots and holograms and floating in space could be somewhat close to reality,” wrote Wired.
Machine learning and AI have been trending for a while. But, as organizations struggle to keep their data secure, more IT teams are leaning on AI to help. Cyber AI can be used to accelerate data analysis, identify anomalies, and detect threats, taking away the labor-intensive parts of cybersecurity and allowing teams to focus on prevention and remediation.
Tools like Nightfall and IBM QRadar Advisor are helping organizations respond more rapidly to cyber threats. And, though the market is still early stage, analysts predict it will grow by $19 billion between 2021 and 2025.