A lot has changed in the last year. The world came out of the worst of a fatal pandemic—and while Covid-19 is still a significant area of concern on a global scale, it has also shaped the direction of growth when it comes to technological growth and advancements.
Almost overnight, life shifted to remote. People in quarantine would communicate with family over video calls. Colleagues would collaborate and continue working through Slack, Zoom and Google more than before. The amount of content consumed worldwide skyrocketed. Shopping online—leisurely purchases to grocery shopping and even restaurant deliveries—became the new normal for many. That being said, overall purchases increased globally, causing supply chains to falter and overstrain.
In short, technology became the driver of such change—filling in the areas of inefficiencies and creating opportunities where there were significant challenges.
Moving into 2022, the world is still riding this wave of technological change. The trends for 2022 wouldn’t have looked the way they do if not for the pandemic pushing the boundaries of what’s possible—but now, the changes are happening so quickly that it’s paramount to remain ahead of the curve by reviewing—and embracing—the biggest trends of the upcoming year.
Continuous Rise Of AI
AI has been a prevalent buzzword for quite a few years now, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the potential applications and use cases for such adaptable, evolving technologies continue to emerge.
The power of AI goes much further than that—and its value in a business setting is immeasurable. One of the biggest applications of AI is predictive analytics—and the market is growing year-to-year, with projections to reach $22.1 billion by 2026.
The value of predictive analytics spans a variety of industries. It makes it possible to run well-optimized ads in digital marketing and track shifts in consumer behavior. It allows eliminating risks of fraud by making it possible to identify deviations from standard patterns. It also can push the boundaries of medicine by speeding up the drug development process in the future.
The Importance Of Security And Privacy
With the massive shift toward spending so much time in the digital space, there is a risk of high vulnerability when it comes to privacy and security. Not only do data leaks and cyber attacks put businesses at risk, but they also have a large negative impact on individuals as well.
In 2022, the need for proper measures in place to protect people’s and companies’ data will be put in place. One of such solutions is the trend discussed previously—artificial intelligence. Pattern recognition and predictive analytics will be crucial in identifying anomalies in the early stages and averting large-scale data breaches in the future. It will also be possible to learn and analyze common behavioral patterns between the attacks and stop criminals before irrecoverable damage is done.
The Rise Of The Metaverse
The literal blend between real life and digital activities has a term—the metaverse. It’s used to describe a world that spans the real and the digital, encompassing virtual capabilities from gaming to even virtual economies fueled by cryptocurrencies.
The onset of the metaverse signifies a shift toward a digital world equivalent to the one we are used to interacting in. What started in the world of gaming (think Roblox and Fortnite) signals a larger shift toward a future where social interactions, entertainment, advertising and even purchasing power in the virtual world will grow toward equivalency to the same in the real world.
All of this signals a year of more immersive experiences and technologies, collaborative spaces and products, new social networks, as well as a rise in VR and AR adoption.
Wider Adoption of Blockchain Technologies
Blockchain is certainly not a new concept—but it has become more and more widely adopted as time goes by. With the rise of the metaverse, its adoption will continue to increase through 2022.
Blockchain technology introduces a secure, structured, decentralized way to track transactions across devices—a secure “ledger” for identity protection and data validation. According to Statista, spending on blockchain solutions will continue to grow in the coming years, reaching almost $19 billion U.S. dollars by 2024.
Businesses should start learning more about this technology, given how crucial it is in the times of the metaverse and through the rise of NFTs. If it aligns with the business objectives, internal applications of the technology, as well as strategies to leverage the public applications of it, will be uber important in 2022.
More Permanent Adjustments To Hybrid Workspaces
One of the biggest lessons of the Covid-19 pandemic is that businesses need not be confined to a physical location anymore. With almost a year (and more) of remote work, employers have realized that hybrid workspaces can promote more productivity and allow the company to explore a more diverse pool of candidates across a variety of roles.
In this context, I predict there will be a rise in the adoption of existing technologies that make the workflows across time zones and locations more frictionless. Beyond the traditional platforms like Slack and Zoom, there will be more tools to consider in fueling collaboration at a distance and ensuring a healthy work-life balance as well as high levels of output in this new, hybrid work setting.
These are only a few of the many trends that will define 2022 as a year of technological advancements. Spurred by the pandemic, a lot of these trends tie back into the acceleration of the digital transformation and share a few common qualities with each other. But the common denominator is the following: as a business, 2022 is the year for any company to reevaluate its internal goals and closely align them with the right progressive tech solutions that will fuel long-term growth.
Originally published in Forbes