The Tech Trends for 2022: What Is Coming?

By: Michael McQueen

With the last couple of years boasting an unrivalled pace of change, 2022 is approaching with promise of further transformations in the way we live, work and shop. With global crises exposing inefficiencies and issues of remote living raising demands for new solutions, technological innovations have been quickly adopted by businesses and are set to continue taking over our work and play.

What will we leave behind?

With the last two years forcing us to embrace a new way of living, the coming year will see us leave behind many of the things we had taken for granted. The one that is front of mind for employers around the globe is full time in-house work, with the emerging hybrid work model looking like it is here to stay.

While the figures differ depending on the industry or study you look at, it overall seems that only 10% of businesses will remain fully remote, with 30% returning to the office full time. For the remaining 60%, a hybrid model will be adopted. What this will raise, however, is problems for businesses that are still designing their jobs, promotions and teamwork around a face-to-face work model.[1]

Beyond the world of work, the way we shop is likely to transform with credit card use set to decline. As online shopping was necessarily embraced during lockdowns, the ‘buy now, pay later’ (BNPL) model gained popularity, especially among Millennials and Gen Z, both of which are growing in their influence in the market. While BNPL has represented only a small portion of payment card spending, this is likely to expand rapidly in 2022. Deals and funding for BNPL start-ups set new records in 2021, and the industry is predicted to grow 15x by 2025. Either way, the demise of credit cards may be upon us.[2]

A final area that we may see transform in 2022 expands across all our online engagements, coming in the form of passwords. Since the beginning the internet, passwords have been a source of friction and frustration for users. It is only in the last couple of years that other viable security solutions have been created, each of these set to grow in popularity in the coming year. Multi-factor authentication, in the form of pin-entry, CAPTCHA and SecurID, is increasingly being adopted. Biometric sensors are steadily gaining territory, with fingerprint, facial and voice recognition already replacing passwords completely in Microsoft, Apple and Samsung products.[3]

The Virtual World

One area rapidly growing in its dominance is the virtual world. Accelerated by online living and lockdowns, our daily lives are increasingly being lived out on virtual platforms. One of the most futuristic manifestations of this has been the metaverse, which gained lots of attention with Facebook’s 2021 rebrand to Meta. Promising a future where our social engagements, work, leisure and shopping will play out in a virtual world, it stirred up much controversy.

Already, virtual reality and the metaverse are offering virtual alternatives to traditionally very physical activities. Virtual workouts are now a viable form of exercise, involving squatting, running, punching and cycling in real life all while playing a virtual game.[4] Wherever businesses do not return to the office, the metaverse now allows them to virtually meet around the same table, all while at separate desks in home offices.[5]

For the retail world, the metaverse signals a whole new era of consumer engagement, marketing and in person shopping. With digital identities and avatars taking off on apps such as Snapchat, Zepeto and VRChat, monetisation opportunities are expanding for businesses who can now sell virtual products to virtual people living in a virtual world. This kind of selling is referred to as ‘direct-to-avatar’, and it is something we are likely to see expand exponentially with the ongoing growth of the metaverse.[6]

Outside of the metaverse, the restrictions placed around us by COVID meant that even the industries that depend on physical interaction had to find online solutions. With the industry struggling to keep its head above water, healthcare saw the rise of remote patient monitoring (RPM). This technology tracks key vitals in patients remotely, a necessary response to the overwhelming demand for healthcare in the last couple of years. We are likely to see this trend continue with several start-ups and big tech deals offering smartphone apps and devices that monitor biometric data automatically. Tech companies are introducing infrastructures to make this data easily shareable, and using AI to improve their predictions and recommendations.[7]

The Physical World

Despite our increasingly digitised lives, the demand for physical products has not diminished. Lockdowns exponentially increased demand for delivery services, causing companies to partner with ultrafast delivery companies. Although with some wondering about the profitability of these ultrafast delivery services, many predict 2022 to be the year that makes or breaks the emerging industry.[8]

Supply chain issues have revealed the need for diversified supply models in order to keep up with such demands. Digital twins, AI and data-driven forecasting are among the tech innovations businesses may soon come to depend on, allowing companies to manage supply chain inefficiencies, predict problems and solve them ahead of time. Automated systems and processes further enable this, with technology like drone delivery allowing further efficiency.[9]

The coming year is likely to see technology gain more and more of our time and attention, providing solutions to problems that we would not have even anticipated a couple of years ago. An increasingly automated, AI-driven, virtual world is rapidly becoming our new normal, and 2022 will only see more of it arrive.

[1] Leaver, S 2021, ‘Predictions 2022: This Is A Year To Be Bold’, Forrester, 26 October.

[2] CB Insights 2021, ‘12 Tech Trends To Watch Closely In 2022’, CB Insights, accessed 8 February 2022.

[3] AC3 2022, ‘The end of passwords’, AC3, accessed 8 February 2022.

[4] Nguyen, N 2022, ‘Virtual Workouts, Real Sweat: Exercising in the Metaverse With the Meta Quest 2’, Wall Street Journal, 30 January.

[5] Kelly, J 2022, ‘King Arthur And His Knights Of The Round Table: Now The Metaverse Can Connect Workers Around The World In Virtual Reality’, Forbes, 25 January.

[6] CB Insights 2021, ‘12 Tech Trends To Watch Closely In 2022’, CB Insights, accessed 8 February 2022.

[7] CB Insights 2021, ‘12 Tech Trends To Watch Closely In 2022’, CB Insights, accessed 8 February 2022.

[8] CB Insights 2021, ‘12 Tech Trends To Watch Closely In 2022’, CB Insights, accessed 8 February 2022.

[9] CB Insights 2021, ‘12 Tech Trends To Watch Closely In 2022’, CB Insights, accessed 8 February 2022.

Article supplied with thanks to Michael McQueen.

About the Author: Michael is a trends forecaster, business strategist and award-winning conference speaker.

Feature image: Photo by Werner Du plessis on Unsplash

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