As 2022 begins, technology continues to evolve in many exciting ways. The latest trends are being driven by business needs, risks, increased competition, innovation, and many other factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, security is getting more attention partly because of the rise in remote and hybrid work arrangements. Employees operating from home or other locations are more susceptible to cyberattacks that can compromise an entire enterprise network.
Your company may or may not have a use for every new emerging technology. However, understanding the landscape will give you a better grasp of your options, as well as the needs of your customers, and what your competition might be up to. Here we present 5 of the most interesting tech developments to keep an eye on this year.
1. Initial Stages of 6G
Yes, you read that right: 6G. Though 5G has not yet been fully implemented, plans for 6G are already in the works. 6G technology is expected to improve on weaknesses in 5G as they’re revealed in the coming years as it becomes more universally deployed. These efforts are expected to continue in 2022 and beyond, with actual rollout likely taking place around 2030.
In a recently updated article, Lifewire lists a number of indications that progress toward 6G implementation is already well underway. They include the FCC opening up terahertz wave spectrum, universities conducting 6G research, China announcing the commencement of 6G research and sending a 6G satellite into orbit for testing, and the launch of the Next G Alliance with corporate members like Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, Microsoft, Samsung, Facebook, Apple, Google, Ericsson, Nokia, and Qualcomm.
2. Increased Focus on Security
Cyberattacks have become more prevalent, especially ransomware attacks. The Colonial Pipeline attack is a prominent example, one in which the company paid the ransom to regain use of its data, demonstrating how much power cybercriminals can gain over companies. Even if your enterprise doesn’t provide essential services, the data that could be at risk is essential to you and your business operations.
Other companies have seen that impact and have doubled down on teaching employees the Dos and Don’ts of network computing, such as not clicking on links from unknown email senders. Additionally, enterprise security companies have added features like stronger cloud protection, regulation assistance, and attention to all data stores to prevent attacks. As businesses try to stay one step ahead of the bad guys, this increased focus on security will continue in 2022 and beyond.
3. Growth in Cloud Computing
In 2022, experts expect spending on cloud services to increase by around 50% over 2020. That’s because, as noted by DevPro Journal, “Cloud solutions and services can address some of business’ most pressing issues, such as labor shortages and supply chain disruptions.” For example, automated cloud solutions can take the place of labor-intensive processes, enabling companies to lower their human workforce requirements.
The growth of cloud usage is also based on qualities like increased storage capacity, robust security, and support for the Internet of Things (IoT). The following graphic from technology training company Data Flair demonstrates these benefits and many others.
4. More Emphasis on the Metaverse
The metaverse is the next iteration of the internet, enabling users to perform shopping, entertainment, social, and work functions in an immersive environment with virtual and augmented reality elements. Only a few companies have ventured into this space so far, including Facebook, which, in 2021, notably changed its company name to Meta. For Facebook, the name change represents a shift in focus to hardware, such as virtual reality headsets that can support metaverse activities.
The metaverse holds great potential for business expansion. For example, as with the internet, companies will be able to advertise, sponsor events, and offer digital products and games. In 2022, many companies from across industries will begin to think about how they might take advantage of these elements of the metaverse to expand their offerings and their reach. At the same time, tech companies will launch new metaverse-based tools across industries like manufacturing, healthcare, education, real estate, retail, entertainment, and more.
5. Expansion of Robotics
Robots are machines that can support human activity in a variety of ways. They are already being used to take over many business and industrial processes that are repetitive or dangerous for humans. The method of automating repeated operations is known as robotics process automation (RPA).
Challenges resulting from the pandemic have created new use cases for robots, including as tools to increase supply chain efficiency and as providers of automation that can reduce the number of human workers required in manufacturing settings. As a result, the use of robotics will expand even more in 2022, making RPA a “standard technology for business,” according to a recent Inc. article.
A subset of robotics is nanorobotics, which can be useful for medicine and other fields. For instance, they can be used to deliver drugs to hard-to-reach areas of the body. Other uses include the following:
- In surface treatments to protect electronic devices.
- With fabrics to collect data about the wearer.
- To make lighter materials to build lightweight transportation vehicles that would require much less fuel.
- Built into solar panels to convert sunlight to electricity more efficiently, leading to more inexpensive solar power.
Should You Follow the Trends?
Reading about technology trends is always interesting but deciding whether to incorporate them into your business is another matter. When considering which tools to use, be sure those you’re evaluating solve an actual business problem. For example, only companies in certain sectors are likely to need robotics, while just about every business could benefit from a security upgrade. Start from your goals and challenges and see if the above solutions — or the many others not mentioned here — seem like a good fit.