7 upcoming tech trends we expect to see in 2022
From the increased digitisation of services in the NHS to the rapid growth of the creator economy, the uncertainties of the past year have continued to highlight the importance of rapid adaptability in the tech sector and beyond.
As we kickstart the new year, Bruntwood SciTech's Head of Innovation Deb Hetherington takes a look into the emerging trends that are expected to shape the industry in 2022.
Trend 1: Creating a new economy
The rise in influencers creating and monetising their own content has come hand in hand with the popularity of social media channels, as well as new platforms created to work alongside these content creators to generate income and interact with their audience in innovative ways.
The emergence of more Non-Fungible Tokens (blockchain-based records showcasing digital ownership of items like art, collectibles and music) means creators are able to protect the assets they’re creating and monetise them, with investors also seeing increased value in the NFT market.
There is still some discussion around the long term use of NFT’s and whether they’re simply a ‘fad’, but the fact that they are on a public blockchain, with an open API, gives an interesting angle of dual compatibility which is certainly significant.
Trend 2: Technological transformation of supply chains
2021 saw increased investment in supply chain technologies, with the pandemic amplifying the need for tools to manage the challenges that come with lockdowns to enable them to be prepared. From data quality, compliance and risk management to understanding fast-changing markets, in 2022 we expect companies will continue to embed technology-driven solutions across vertically integrated supply chain models.
The most successful business models will be those that are able to pivot easily without reinventing their business once facing a possible threat and becoming more digitally enabled will allow them to do this.
Trend 3: The rise of decentralised finance (DeFi)
With the potential to transform the entire global financial landscape, DeFi is one of the most exciting and trends in crypto. DeFi is the provision of financial service, using the public blockchain. Now a multi billion dollar ecosystem, it aims to provide these services to customers without intermediaries; making them open to anyone to use without going through middlemen such as banks or brokerages.
Despite there being 520+ DeFi apps and over 24 governments actively researching central bank decentralised currencies, it is still early days and the system is still a long way off full mainstream adoption but we expect this to accelerate in 2022.
Trend 4: The new virtual playground
The metaverse is defined as the convergence of physical, augmented and virtual reality in a shared online space.
Companies across the globe are racing to be a key player within the virtual space and the technology behind these augmented reality worlds where we can play games, work and socialise is developing at speed.
After Zuckerberg announced Meta - which has so far made the largest investment in the metaverse - Microsoft introduced its intention to join the race with Mesh, alongside businesses such as Sony, Adidas, Nike and Ralph Lauren.
Despite the platform still being in its infancy, we’re expecting more companies to enter the market in the upcoming year with new VR headsets and users creating their own digital assets, as well as more corporate businesses utilising VR for work meetings.
The Metaverse certainly has its sceptics, including those who struggled with the fully remote approach to work adopted by businesses during the pandemic. The lack of physical interaction, communication, and social opportunities were listed as some of the key concerns of workers throughout.
The Metaverse may well gain traction within such sectors as events, where concerts and live sporting fixtures can be easily enjoyed from the comfort of your own living room, without losing too much of the atmosphere synonymous with such occasions. We may also see a generational shift toward online interaction as those who are currently interacting in an increasingly digital way, become comfortable users of this alternative reality.
Trend 5: Wearable technology supercharged by AI
Through leveraging more AI algorithms and thereby providing customers with more unique experiences, we’re expecting to see user spend on wearables dramatically increase in 2022.
With the technology behind the devices continuing to evolve at a rapid rate, companies such as FitBit, Whoop, Apple and Samsung are beginning to charge less for the physical product and instead opt for subscription-based services for their customers. Manufacturers are then gaining access to this to bespoke analytic data, which now has a higher predicted value than oil - which means it’s no surprise that there’s a fight to earn the biggest share of this competitive market.
Trend 6: AI automating healthcare at all levels
Following the recent challenges of the pandemic and the increased pressure on its infrastructure, the NHS and healthcare organisations have been pushed to embed driving changes to meet the demands of their customers.
In 2022, we expect more investments into augmented intelligence in order to support organisation, data-driven decision-making through incorporating new Internet of Things technology, patient-portal and wearables data to then embed this into patient care.
Looking away from legacy EHRs (Electronic Health Records), such as mobile applications, smart health, wearables and other devices, providers and researchers are attempting to utilise AI to produce the right tools that can streamline the creation of actionable insights that will in turn improve remote and in-person patient care.
Trend 7: The future of payment
The commerce landscape is evolving as an increasing number of ways for consumers to spend quickly and easily are introduced to the market.
Innovation is at the forefront of Fintech, and the industry is being shaped by the customers’ demand for flexibility, choice and instantaneous purchases.
Buy now pay later is one of the many newer technologies leading the pack and we don’t expect this to slow down in 2022. Offering customers an alternative to credit cards, we expect even more merchants to adopt the services from bigger players within the industry such as Klarna and Clearpay, with these Fintech businesses also branching out further afield to markets where credit card take up has traditionally been lower.
Underpinned by a strong focus on climate and diversity, we expect the upcoming year to build on what has been achieved in 2021 and we look forward to supporting our community of tech startups, scaleups and corporates in 2022 and beyond.
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