Given the rate of technological growth in years past, it might be hard to imagine that it’s just a taste of what we will continue to see in the coming years and decades. But, with many forms of technology, the best is yet to come.
In fact, some technologies, especially those that support businesses, will see significant changes just ahead. Here we explore several technology trends you may have heard of, or use in your company, and how they are likely to evolve in 2022.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the technology that makes possible things like speech recognition, personal assistants, and navigation apps. AI will become more widespread in 2022 because the ability of computers to have decision-making abilities yields innumerable uses and benefits.
For example, healthcare professionals can outfit patients with AI-enabled wearable devices that analyze their condition and offer initial treatment options. In transportation, AI is the brain behind self-driving cars, which continue to push forward in their mission to get to the general public.
Blockchain is a specific type of database that stores data in the form of blocks, rather than in rows and columns as with traditional databases. Each block is connected to the previous one, creating a chain of blocks, which is where the technology’s name comes from. This design creates a high level of data security, as do the encryption and hash formats that are also used in blockchain.
This technology is helpful for more than just tracking cryptocurrencies. It can also be used by a variety of industries to prepare contracts, secure health records, conduct banking transactions, and even exchange clean electricity generated by homeowners and businesses. These and other uses will become more widespread in 2022.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
Virtual reality (VR) is an environment that users can become completely immersed in, while augmented reality (AR) places virtual elements on top of physical environments. The number of use cases for these related technologies is nearly limitless, as they can be deployed in healthcare, auto manufacturing, education, and many other industries.
As just one example, mental health professionals can use VR to help clients with anxiety disorders become more accustomed to stressful situations without subjecting them to those circumstances in real life. This and many other examples are why VR and AR will continue to gather momentum in 2022.
Robotics and Automation
Technological advancement is enabling professionals across industries to make greater use of machines to perform repetitive, unpleasant, or dangerous tasks. For example, during power outages following storms, power utilities must quickly find areas where trees and other vegetation have fallen on power equipment.
This task is time-consuming and difficult, sometimes forcing crews to enter dangerous areas. Using drones, utilities can identify these areas quickly and send the right crews with the right equipment to the right area instead of wasting time searching for areas to address. Such solutions will become even more prevalent in 2022.
Industrial Internet of Things
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) refers to the growing collection of internet-connected devices used in business and industrial environments. Companies can use them for a wide variety of applications, such as tracking inventory within a manufacturing facility, keeping equipment operating at its best, or automatically ordering needed supplies.
All these uses enable companies to be more efficient and effective, which is why IIoT devices will continue to proliferate in 2022. The following video describes additional use cases for IIoT technology:
Cloud services became essential in 2020 when many companies massively adopted a work-from-home (WFH) model. Employees had to be able to access networks from wherever they were, away from the office. They also had to be able to save and back up their documents and other electronic assets. Aside from supporting a dispersed workforce, cloud services offer many other benefits, which is why they will continue to become more widely used in 2022.
One of the advantages of cloud services is the decreased maintenance required from a company’s IT staff. Rather than worrying about updates and bugs from external providers, these professionals can focus on more pressing matters because the cloud services update software seamlessly and automatically. Similarly, companies don’t have to invest in hardware they may not even end up using. Instead, all applications and data live on servers hosted by the provider.
Based on these characteristics, cloud services offer a financial benefit as well. Companies simply pay a consistent monthly fee, enabling them to budget more easily, without having to worry about surprise expenses for things like emergency repair services. Finally, cloud services are secure, helping businesses avoid highly problematic cyberattacks.
Quantum computers are much different from normal computers. Don’t expect to see one on every desk, even in the future, because their quantum nature calls for highly controlled environments, including extremely low temperatures and no vibration. For the foreseeable future, they will likely be used primarily by large institutions such as universities and governments, with the ability for businesses to access them on a limited basis through service providers like Google.
Given all of that, quantum computing is still expected to expand in 2022 and beyond because of its capacity for problem solving on a scale far beyond what current computers are capable of. For example, quantum computing can help healthcare professionals diagnose illnesses, identify new diseases, and develop drugs more easily. It can support global food production and distribution by finding ways to create more resilient and bountiful crops and increase supply chain efficiency.
Quantum computing can also be useful to address climate change, modernize power delivery, and strengthen cybersecurity. While many challenges remain before they can be used routinely, 2022 will see many of those issues grow closer to being resolved.
Start Planning Now
For tools that you use already, you can look forward to even greater functionality and usability in 2022. To prepare, think about the technologies listed here and how you might be able to integrate them (or integrate them more) into your plans for the coming year.