2022. We thought it would be over. Instead, the pandemic is still the major disruptor in our lives. Technology is taking a pivotal role in how we move forward.
According to Gartner, CEOs have three priorities for 2022: growth, digitalization, and efficiency. David Groombridge, VP Analyst, Gartner said, "CEOs know they must accelerate the adoption of digital business and are seeking more direct digital routes to connect with their customers. But with an eye on future economic risks, they also want to be efficient and protect margins and cash flow."1
To see what technologies and trends are going to be impactful in 2022, we scoured the industry and compiled prognostications and insights from industry thought leaders, such as Gartner, Forrester, IDC, and others.
According to IDC, AI spending is expected to reach $500 billion by 2024. PriceWaterhouseCoopers said "artificial intelligence technologies could increase global GDP by $15.7 trillion, a full 14%, by 2030."2
Organizations are becoming smarter about AI and how they are incorporating it their daily operations in everything from data collection to the total human experience. But, it's the early adopters and investors in AI who will reap the most benefits. By 2025, Gartner predicts that the 10% of enterprises that establish AI engineering best practices will generate at least three times more value from their AI efforts than the 90% that do not.3
AI and Healthcare
In 2022, healthcare will see the greatest impact from AI (and machine learning [ML]), predicts Myles Gilsenan, Vice President of Data, Analytics and AI, Apps Associates.4 "With advances in technology and data collection, AI and ML will be able to assist with diagnosis and treatment, and can dramatically accelerate the development of medicines and vaccines. The potential to extend human life is a very real possibility while also improving the quality of life, thanks to advances made during the pandemic."5
A growing subset of AI is Generative AI,6 which is based on using machine learning to glean data about content or objects and use it to generate new artifacts. Instead of being used to draw conclusions, generative or creative AI is producing original work, whether it's writing software code, facilitating drug development, or identifying new products. It's expected that creative AI machines will receive dozens of patents in 2022. The first one was awarded in 2021 in South Africa.7 By 2025, Gartner expects generative AI to account for 10% of all data produced, up from 1% today.8
Used to create human-centric experiences, AI plays an integral role in shaping how people interact and engage with each other. In 2022, and beyond, partly due to soaring user expectations during the pandemic, and partly due to technological advancements, AI will have a greater, positive impact on the total experience (TX). This involves customer, employee, user, and multi-experience disciplines, according to Groombridge.9 The goal of TX is greater satisfaction, confidence, loyalty, and advocacy.
Groombridge continues that leaders in all disciplines should be equally responsible for meeting the combined needs of employees and customers, and that "traditional management approaches will not scale." TX includes advanced CX platforms as well as smart spaces and IoT devices that engage, interact, and respond to the humans within and enable them to live, learn, and work with ease, safety, and confidence.
Gartner predicts organizations with CX channels incorporating AI will experience a 25% increase in operational efficiency.10
Hyperautomation, based on AI, machine learning, robotic process automation, and other technologies, is being used to simplify processes, efficiencies, and the customer experience. Hyperautomation is the concept of anything that can be automated, such as repetitive tasks that don't need human supervision, should be automated. The difference between automation and hyperautomation is scale. Automation involves a single task. Hyperautomation involves multiple tasks and/or automation tools.11 Some fear that automation will take jobs away. To the contrary, automation involving connected buildings, IoT, and industrial AI and ML, etc., will enable human assets to be assigned to more meaningful tasks.
Gartner's research shows that the top-performing hyperautomation teams focus on three key priorities: improving the quality of work, speeding up business processes, and enhancing decision-making agility, Groombridge said.12 In one study, 80% of industry leaders say they are automating simple processes.13
The Great Resignation of 2021 did not spare tech companies. IT leaders are dealing with labor shortages and it's affecting the bottom line. In a recent Gartner survey, IT executives said they consider the current talent shortage as the most significant adoption barrier to 64% of emerging technologies.14
The talent gap is not going to ease up any time soon. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2026, the shortage of engineers in the U.S. will exceed 1.2 million, while Gartner's research indicates that 63 percent of senior executives say that the shortage of software engineers remains an area of great concern.15
To retain talent, one tactic is to put more emphasis on experience and real-world skills and less emphasis on degrees.16 The accessibility, affordability, and effectiveness of online learning, as demonstrated during the pandemic, makes developing technical skills easier than ever.
The labor shortage will also result in higher salaries and bonuses, causing a movement in talent from startups to large companies that can remain competitive in terms of salaries and benefits.
The cloud will see dramatic growth in 2022.
"With companies committing to hybrid work environments, leaders have to rethink priorities and consider balancing between scale, speed, privacy, and security," said Jamshid Rezaei, CIO, Mitel. "Businesses and customers need more flexibility than legacy data center environments or pure public cloud solutions can offer. That is why many companies are considering significant new investments in a hybrid cloud option. In 2022, we will see more accelerated adoption of hybrid cloud as it delivers excellent agility to grow and support remote employees, enabling companies to pivot as business demands evolve and change in an uncertain world."17
Forrester predicts that in 2022, half of enterprise organizations will adopt cloud-native platforms. Organizations will also refactor/replatform existing cloud strategies to be cloud-native as well. By 2025, Gartner predicts that cloud native platforms (CNP) will serve as the foundation for more than 95% of new digital initiatives, up from less than 40% in 2021.18
The top five cybersecurity threats include: social engineering, ransomware, distributed denial of service (DDoS), compromised third-party software, and cloud-computing vulnerabilities.19 Horizon
As workers went remote almost overnight, the security door swung open to an already growing cast of bad actors trying to gain unauthorized access to networks. "Today, assets and users can be anywhere, meaning the traditional security perimeter is gone. This requires a cybersecurity mesh architecture," said Groombridge.20
Gartner further explains that "the cybersecurity mesh enables any person or thing to securely access and use any digital asset, no matter where either is located, while providing the necessary level of security. "21
According to Gartner, by 2024, companies will adopt a mesh architecture to integrate security tools into ecosystems. This move can reduce the financial impact of security incidents by an average of 90%.22 In addition, organizations must remain vigilant in training team members on social engineering security threats.
There were two major drivers for 5G in 2021: consumer demand due to the release of more 5G smartphones and the pandemic. 2022 will be the year demand for 5G explodes. With remote working, learning, and living now the norm, 5G speeds, low latency, and capacity are more critical than ever.
People say they want 5G. What they really want is what 5G will do for them. Remote access. Healthcare. Education. Entertainment. Video collaboration. IoT. Smart cities. Machine learning. Artificial/virtual reality. Security and surveillance. Edge computing. Basically everything.
Theresa Lanowitz, head of evangelism at AT&T Cybersecurity says, "While 5G adoption accelerated in 2021, in 2022, we will see 5G go from a new technology to a business enabler…5G will also benefit from the adoption of edge computing due to the convenience it brings."23
The move to 5G not only depends on the carriers' growing networks, it also depends on existing enterprises' existing network infrastructures' ability to support 5G. Expect to see a large number of organizations upgrading their wireless infrastructures for 5G.
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19. The CICS 2021 Horizon Report: Technology Trends That Will Shape the Next Decade
21. https://www.gartner.com/ smarterwithgartner/gartner-top-strategic-technology-trends-for-2021