The ongoing pandemic, coupled with social unrest, supply chain shortages, and skyrocketing gas prices are sending consumers reeling, making predicting exactly how this tumultuous year will end into “anybody’s guess.”
Never fear: global innovators are always working to improve our lives, leveraging every technology possible. The tech space moves fast as a result, birthing new and ever-more-relevant trends at every turn.
So, what awaits businesses for 2022 and beyond? We predict that these 48 technology innovation trends will have a significant impact on business (and some in everyday life) in 2022 (and into 2023 and beyond).
While some of these technology innovations aren’t 100% new, they continue to evolve, and growing adoption of these innovations is likely to make an impact.
- Quantum Computing. According to AI Multiple, quantum computing uses superposition and entanglement for faster computation. This innovation makes it possible for computers to solve the more complex mathematical problems that will inevitably arise as we become more dependent on advanced technologies.
- Extended Reality. Nvidia says that extended reality, or XR, uses a collection of immersive technologies to make users feel like they’re in another world. It combines VR, AR, and mixed reality to create a more realistic VR experience.
- 3D Printing. This is more than a hobbyist’s technology. In an article published by Fast Company, Yoav Zeif predicts that 3D printing will allow for greater personalization, eco-friendly options, and faster product iteration.
- Clean Energy Solutions. Did you know that industries across the globe are fueling their factories with hydrogen, the most abundant gas in the universe? Although it isn’t perfect, The Washington Post says greater use of hydrogen could be the key to effectively fighting climate change.
- VR. Virtual reality has been around for many years, but in 2022, experts like Benjamin Arango (in an article published by Wondershare Filmora) expect it to give users a more realistic view of virtual locations. It also has the potential to improve communication and connect people across the globe in a unified space, especially as VR gear becomes more affordable.
- AR. In a LinkedIn Pulse article, Tom Emrich predicts an increase in the implementation of augmented reality, or AR, into every aspect of our life, including consumer advertising. Emrich says that “AR is intrinsically personal, making use of the consumer’s space or face, and offers an interactive memorable branded experience consumers can spend significant time in.”
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA). AI Multiple can see RPA benefiting businesses in a number of ways in 2022. Whether you’re looking to reduce employee churn and hiring costs or improve your ROI or data quality, RPA can provide the solution to a range of business needs.
- IoT. The Internet of Things uses machines, wearables, and sensors to connect the real world to the digital realm. TechTarget says IoT makes automation possible, reducing the costs to manufacture goods while increasing transparency.
- AI. The meaning of “Artificial Intelligence” varies depending on whom you ask. Essentially, it’s a machine’s ability to “consider the options” (and rapidly), a need growing at record pace since March, 2020. According to CSU Global, AI improves decision-making by recognizing patterns at scale, making it faster and easier to make real-time decisions.
- Nanotechnology. The Nano Chem Group says nanotechnology will make previously unheard-of innovations possible, including better industrial coatings, transdermal patches, and even food packaging that can keep food and drink fresh for longer and indicate when the contents may be contaminated.
- Cookie-less Browsing. Third-party cookies track consumers across the web, gathering data about their browsing habits and preferences. However, consumers are more concerned about their privacy, and companies like Apple and Google are banning third-party cookies entirely. The result? According to Terakeet, businesses should create ad-free marketing strategies to cope with the change.
- Data Clean Rooms. Consumer privacy is a hot-button issue. In response to the move away from third-party cookies, Search Engine Journal says many companies are creating “data clean rooms.” This technology scrubs raw data of personally identifiable information and aggregates it, safeguarding consumer data from falling into the wrong hands.
- The Metaverse. The metaverse is still in development, but it has tremendous potential for the future of business-consumer relations. According to XR Today, the metaverse will be a democratic, globally-accessible space that mimics real life.
- Total Experience. User, employee, and customer experience come together to form total experience (TX). According to WalkMe, TX works best when organizations remove silos, prioritize human-to-human interaction, and consider the employee and customer experience holistically and interdependently.
- 4D Printing. You’ve likely heard of 3D printing, but 4D printing is an emerging technology that’s becoming more popular with product-based businesses. A July 2021 article appearing in Polymer and published by Science Direct says that 4D printing is capable of morphing from 1D to 3D as needed, making it possible to create hyper-personalized prints for medical devices and prosthetics.
- Digital Twins. VentureBeat makes a compelling case for the use of digital twins in a manufacturing environment. Unlike regular digital simulations, digital twins (i.e., a digital version of a plant, supply chain, or other “real world” facility or process) make it possible to predict maintenance for heavy machinery, pre-plan manufacturing processes, and much more.
- 5G. The world needs greater connectivity if we want to make technology innovation a part of our daily lives. Business Wire reports that 5G is forecast to reach 1.3 billion connections by the end of 2022, with connections nearly tripling in the U.S. alone. 5G is enhancing mobile broadband and making IoT possible on a grander scale.
- Multi-cloud Environment. Cloud computing is a great way to reduce costs and speed up your network. However, sometimes one cloud isn’t enough, which is why so many businesses are now moving toward a multi-cloud environment. According to Google, this gives companies “the freedom to use the best possible cloud for each workload.”
- Biohacking. While the world of sci-fi dreams of skin implants and brain chips, the biohacking industry is still alive and well. Narbis demonstrates that fitness tracking rings, smart glasses, and neurofeedback devices make biohacking a significant trend in 2022.
- Business to Avatar. In the Metaverse, every consumer is free to create an identity of their choosing, called an avatar. The Metaverse is in its early stages, but Backstage says that businesses should prepare to add B2A to their B2C and B2B branded experiences.
- Deepfakes. While thought to be used only for nefarious purposes, the technology used for deepfakes is at the heart of more than a few innovations in 2022. According to Cyber Magazine, businesses can use this synthetic video technology to create smarter online experiences and realistic videos without human subjects.
- IoB. The Internet of Behaviors, or IoB, looks at how humans interact with technology, and how those interactions lead to purchases. Research Nester recently reported that the IoB market is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of around 22% between 2022 and 2031. This growth is thanks to the booming adoption of IoT devices and the development of machine learning abilities.
- Robotics. Robotics & Automation News says there was a 10% increase in industrial robot usage in 2020. We can expect to see more investments in robotics companies in 2022, as well as greater interoperability and ease of use.
- Cybersecurity Mesh. Hackers have so many ways to pierce an organization’s cyber defenses. Cybersecurity mesh (CSM) adds multiple layers of defense that make it much harder for hackers to breach your infrastructure. According to Gartner, “By 2024, organizations adopting a cybersecurity mesh architecture to integrate security tools to work as a collaborative ecosystem will reduce the financial impact of individual security incidents by an average of 90%.”
- Telehealth. During the pandemic, millions of people around the world visited their doctors online instead of in person. It’s a trend that’s continued to grow in popularity, even as pandemic restrictions lift. MarketWatch reports that the telehealth market size is expected to boom from $63B in 2021 to $485B in 2030.
- Natural Language Processing. Have you ever spoken to a chatbot and knew you were speaking to a computer? With natural language processing (NLP), it’s becoming much easier for robots to mimic human language. The Harvard Business Review explains that NLP analytics can help organizations turn their text data into valuable insights, too.
- Virtual Prototyping. It’s expensive for product designers and manufacturers to create a physical prototype while they’re iterating on a design. Virtual prototyping (sort of like the digital twins mentioned earlier) is a hot trend used across many industries in 2022 that promises to cut down on product testing costs and time-to-market. In fact, in the electronic vehicle industry alone, the virtual prototyping market is expected to grow to $5.6B by 2030, according to MarketResearch.com, reporting on the findings of a study conducted by BIS Research analysts.
- Neural Mesh. Consumers are clamoring for more advanced, hands-free technology. It’s no surprise that technology like Neuralink, a connected brain implant, is gaining steam. According to Teslarati, the company plans to do human trials by the end of 2022 for this innovative technology.
- Contactless service. The pandemic dramatically changed consumer behavior. One of the more permanent trends we’re seeing is the shift toward contactless services like drive-thru, curbside, and self-service kiosks. ALICE by actabl argues that contactless interactions will become the go-to in many hospitality businesses, including hotels and restaurants.
- Online Learning. In-person learning is valuable, but in 2022 and beyond, consumers are clamoring for digital-first learning experiences. eLearning Industry predicts that we’ll see a greater demand for remote learning, advances with AI and learning, and more content curation in 2022.
- Predictive Analytics. By quickly analyzing historical data, this technology has the power to predict what can happen in the future — giving businesses enough time to pivot as necessary. For example, FedTech Magazine foresees predictive analytics aiding federal agencies in identifying housing and food shortages.
- Autonomous Machines. Self-driving cars, drones, and even Amazon delivery bots are great examples of autonomous machines. Tomorrow’s World Today believes more car manufacturers will produce vehicles that can automatically steer, accelerate and brake in 2022.
- Low-code Services. Regular coding requires a lot of knowledge and practice, but low-code and no-code technology can allow anyone without significant coding experience to create their own programs. Develops Digest sees this technology becoming more prevalent in the workplace in 2022, enabling those closest to the problem to develop the software solutions needed.
- Chatbots. Chatbots aren’t a new technology, but in 2022, they have the potential to optimize customer service without compromising on the employee experience. Yellow.AI predicts that chatbots will become more ubiquitous in 2022 and will even include new features like voice, predictive analytics, and payments.
- Voice Search. Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa—all these virtual assistants have played a part in popularizing voice search in the years leading up to 2022. Truelist estimates that shoppers around the world will buy $40B worth of goods via voice search in 2022 alone.
- Photogrammetry. This technology recreates the real world in a virtual environment, thereby allowing users to simulate everything from construction to surgery. While often used in the entertainment industry, its usage is increasing in other areas. Digital Journal reports that further growth is expected in the photogrammetry software market over the coming years.
- Open-source Software. Open-source software democratizes the development space. Red Hat says that in 2022, we can expect to see more businesses migrate away from proprietary software and move toward open-source instead.
- Computer Vision. Computers can’t “see” the way a human does, but computer vision is trying to change that. According to Geeks for Geeks, computer vision will have a market worth $49B by the end of the year, with growth predicted in data annotation, 3D technology, and the prevention of cyber crime.
- Digital Workplaces. With more people working remotely, organizations are responding by creating digital workplaces. The Burwood Group reports that the number of remote workers is expected to double by the end of 2022, with corporations looking to cloud-based applications to help facilitate this change.
- Edge Computing. Edge computing is an innovation that allows computing to happen near a location where you’re storing data. Instead of centralizing everything in the cloud, you can process more information on-site and in real-time. In an age where businesses need data insights quickly, edge computing makes it possible to make agile decisions. Scale Computing sees its usage increasing in 2022, leading to a greater unification of IT and operational technologies in the process.
- Audio-first Content. According to Pressrelations, the rise of audio-first content has big implications for businesses. They recommend brands integrate podcasts and Clubhouse discussions into their marketing mix for 2022.
- Wearables. Smartwatches are a popular type of wearable technology, but in 2022, Climedo predicts that wearables will go a step further. Be on the lookout for “hearables” and “insideables,” which promise to revolutionize how patients manage chronic health conditions.
- Biometrics. Many consumers already use facial recognition or their fingerprint to unlock their smartphones. However, according to Imageware, we can also expect to see behavioral biometrics and multimodal biometrics hit the market in 2022.
- Genomics. Companies like 23andme and Ancestry.com have revolutionized our lives by making DNA information accessible to the masses. In 2022, Marketwatch predicts this will create a genomics market, where consumers can customize their health and lifestyle choices based on their genes.
- LIDAR. Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) is an essential technology innovation that makes self-driving cars possible. LIDAR Magazine predicts we’ll see greater use of LIDAR for the metaverse in 2022, as well as in drones and AI.
- Semiconductors. Consider this a reverse trend: According to Deloitte, semiconductor shortages will likely create a ripple effect that could hamper technological innovations this year. The trend and topic are, essentially, the ongoing shortage of semiconductors and what alternatives will arise in their place (if any).
- Smart Homes. From smart lights to thermostats, millions of consumers have installed smart devices in their homes. In 2022, Forbes predicts that consumers will go all-in on device integration, touch-free features, and health-focused technologies.
- Drones. Drones can do far more than record stunning footage for movies and TV shows. Business Wire predicts the drone market will continue to grow over the next few years, with advances in agriculture, aerial photography, surveillance, survey mapping, and energy applications leading the way.
Some of these 48 technology innovations are just emerging, while others have been around for a few years but are experiencing rapid growth and advancement in 2022 (and in the coming years). Each of these technology innovations are worth keeping your eye on in 2022 to see where they go and how they’ll reshape our daily lives.
Finding a Roadmap
Finding a path to a more resilient, agile supply chain takes time, investment, and plenty of forward thinking. Our experience suggests companies need to take four important steps.
- Conduct a roadmap assessment
A broad look at a supply chain requires stepping away from the duct-tape school of thought and fixing what’s wrong with the engine. In our work, we dig into the critical needs driving the choice of system tools, drawing relationships to what functionality will meet those needs. Looking closely at implementation and workflow, this calls for honest feedback, which increases the initial adoption rate for the platform. If people don’t trust the system, they won’t use it, undermining the considerable investment in planning solutions.
- Standardize processes
While it seems like this should be a given, standardization remains extremely challenging. And it’s especially problematic for conglomerates, who often have as many as ten different types of ERP systems in place. This isn’t an area where companies can simply spend a lot of money and then cross their fingers. Deciding on the best system and then migrating others over to it can take years. There may not even be a good reason to use the same system, but the data must be normalized with standard key performance indicators.
- Create a new planning process
Planners typically use history to predict the future. And if that was a safe bet, systems supply chain planning could easily be put on autopilot. But the past two years have shown us that history no longer tells the future. So, the importance of scenario planning has become critical. Companies need to run multiple scenarios and then come together for a consensus planning process, one that includes finance, marketing, and operations.
- Add visibility
The most effective systems let people see every part of the chain more clearly. Where are products now, and when will shipments arrive? What happens if it’s 90 days? Or 120? How can we change production and delivery schedules accordingly? What does our raw material plan look like? How much capital do we need? How much do we need to outsource? Insights like that require an effective dashboard, a control tower that pulls every part of the organization together. And these scenarios, which once took weeks to pull together, can now be calculated in a matter of minutes, providing top management all the intelligence they need to move forward. Combined, these actions help people act less like firefighters and more like the strategic thinkers they really are. It enables them to ask fundamental questions. Where are we going to be three years from now? Five? How can we reconfigure our infrastructure to capitalize on whatever might happen?
Complex Problems, Simplified Solutions
We’ve long helped companies use these steps to make their supply chain more agile and resilient. One of our clients is a desk manufacturer, already rapidly growing even before the work-and-learn from home revolution. Because of its effective systems, it has managed to thrive and delight customers, even in the face of intense demand.
Another manufactures pipe. Using the solutions we provided, it was able to reinvent sales and operations planning processes. So, as the demand for building products escalated—with no end in sight—it’s been able to shift production models to meet demand. Importantly, it’s gaining market share from less-prepared competitors.
Customers, ultimately, will migrate to suppliers that give them what they need the fastest, at the best price, and most reliably.
To keep them, companies need solutions that simplify their work. Scalability doesn’t mean complexity. It calls for a strong foundation in core operating technologies that can help you bridge the gap between market opportunity and ability to execute. We can help provide these, with simple designs that are easy to use, engage teams, and adapt for every circumstance.