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2022 Tech Trends Outlook: What Happens Next?

This year may very well be another period of unprecedented challenges and opportunities. In 2022, several highly anticipated technology-related advancements will NOT happen, according to the predictions by ABI Research.

Their analysts identify many trends that will shape the technology market and some others that, although attracting huge amounts of pundit speculation and commentary, are less likely to advance rapidly over the next twelve months.

"The fallout from COVID-19 prevention measures, the process of transitioning from pandemic to endemic disease, and global political tensions weigh heavily on the coming year's fortunes," said Stuart Carlaw, chief research officer at ABI Research.

What Won’t Happen in 2022?

Despite all the headlines and investments, the metaverse will not arrive in 2022 or, for that matter, within the typical 5-year forecast window. The metaverse is still more of a buzzword and vision than a fully-fledged end goal with a clearly defined arrival date.

What we have today is a number of tech companies building their version of a metaverse, but this multiverse is not fully interconnected, does not yet widely employ open standards, and certainly has not fully embraced extended reality -- all tenets of the metaverse vision.

Edge computing, both mobile-access edge computing and general edge computing, will continue to increase in deployment numbers. However, the deployments in 2022 will be the most critical ones made by early adopters -- not the start of a boom that had been anticipated.

Edge computing use cases and financial viability are tightly coupled to 5G cellular mobile networks, both public and private. The availability of affordable 5G services on which edge computing will thrive is not yet a global reality. As a result, edge computing adoption will be slower than anticipated.

After several years of leading social robotics companies either shutting up shop or withdrawing their commercial offerings, 2021 saw renewed investment and focus on the market and its potential.  Amazon’s launch of its first social robot, the Astro, certainly sparked a great deal of attention.

However, despite the enormous potential for social or companion robotics, 2022 will not be the breakout year the industry is hoping for, despite the scale, pricing, and awareness that a player like Amazon can bring to an emerging technology market.

The automotive supply chain remains unable to meet pent-up demand, thanks to the shortage of critical semiconductors. A reliance on outdated semiconductor process technologies with limited production capacity, proprietary designs, and an opaque demand-signaling process has prolonged the semiconductor crisis in the automotive sector.

There are no quick fixes for problems that have been years in the making. Therefore, the consequences of the decision made by automakers in 2020 to cancel their existing semiconductor orders will last beyond 2022. Ultimately, ABI Research does not expect new vehicle sales to return to the 90 million mark -- last seen in 2018 -- until 2023 at the earliest.

A combination of factors will take until 2023 to resolve semiconductor shortage issues through additional capacity, verification of real demand (versus panic 2X to 3X orders), and the inflationary impact on consumer spending on products.

Continued risk factors include social or political risks and the ability to bring new semiconductor fab capacity online, on time, especially for tight engineering specified automotive and commercial vehicles. 

COVID-19 variants and the impact on nations without high vaccination rates also play a role in permitting staffing of facilities and transportation of finished goods and semiconductor supplies.

"Our goal is to provide the key decision tools businesses need to act with speed, appropriateness, and efficiency. 2022 will be challenging, but it also holds great promise and great opportunity," Carlaw concludes.

So, What Will Happen in 2022?

I'm optimistic about the enterprise investment in technologies that enable a distributed workforce of knowledge workers and front-line employees to operate at peak performance online.

Collaboration between CHROs and CIOs will create the corporate policies and the IT infrastructure that will empower new and current employees to work from anywhere with any device that they prefer.

Digital Workspace intelligent hubs will provide a compilation of IT-approved productivity enhancing apps and deliver secure access to other essential tools or online resources that accelerate workflow.

Enterprise networks will be re-engineered and optimized for working environments where employees are able to securely access multi-cloud combinations of SaaS and traditional enterprise software apps.

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