BlogWhat are key trends to look for in 2022?

You can’t go through a two-year-long global pandemic without expecting anything to change– from our daily routine and ways of living to abrupt changes in consumer marketing, digital trends, the IT industry, and so on.  

Last year was a year of transformation. We– people, businesses, individuals, society, began to shape our future rather than just living in the present according to Mckinsey research.  

The tech industry 

Despite the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic threatens most industries, the general reliance on digital technology and a forced shift to more robust and remote IT has allowed the digital world to continue to grow and innovate.  

As the majority of businesses have gone digital-only, the global IT industry has shifted into high gear to meet the sudden demand for remote working and collaboration solutions. The shift has been so abrupt and dramatic that it’s unclear how (or even if) businesses will ever return to their previous ways of doing business. 

The only certainty is that the crisis will have a significant impact on the IT industry. It is requiring a complete rethinking of what it will take to accommodate business technology needs as we move forward from the current situation. 

Spotify, the global leader in music streaming, was reliant on free users who were forced to listen to advertisements. And one pivot they made during the height of the pandemic is to offer original content in the form of podcasts.  

Big tech industries, such as Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft have combined revenue of more than $1.2 trillion over the last year which made these tech giants unfathomably richer than they were before the pandemic.  

Not gonna lie, these tech industries have kept us alive during the pandemic and continue to redefine and restructure how we work, live, and interact.  

Almost every aspect of our world has changed in the last year. Living through a global pandemic has resulted in significant changes in our jobs, eating habits, childcare, and even our collective sense of time. 

But what awaits us this 2022? 

1. 5G is going to make a difference 

During the early stages of the pandemic, as more people worked remotely, operators shifted investment to fixed infrastructure supporting home broadband connections. Starting 2022, we’ll see renewed focus on the Fifth Generation Mobile Network (5G). 

When compared to previous mobile network speeds, such as 4G, which has been recorded as performing up to 300Mb/s when optimal, 5G’s advancements represent a phenomenal leap forward in the realm of data exchange and bandwidth.  

That’s a whole 100 times faster! You’ll be able to download a high-definition movie in a span of 10 seconds! Sounds cool, right? 

5G will enable greater capacity and open up a whole new set of use cases because networks will be able to handle high-demand applications concurrently. 

The adoption of 5G will have a wide-ranging impact on everything from IoT (Internet of Things) and the emergence of smart cities to virtual-augmented reality, edge computing and BIG Data, remote-robotic surgery and health services, and even holographic video, among many other things. 

2. Extended Reality (Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Reality)  

Extended reality- the umbrella term for all real and virtual combined environments and human interactions enabled computer technology. It rolls together similar and known abbreviations like VR- for Virtual Reality, AR for Augmented Reality, and MR for Mixed Reality.  

XR is rapidly permeating industries and augmenting human reality in previously unimaginable ways. The XR market is expected to reach $209 billion by 2022, which is eight times its current value. Because of this tremendous growth, the realities of our lives in 2030 may be beyond our ability to comprehend. 

Augmented Reality 

It is the most common XR technology, also the simplest of the three XR subsets. AR describes the interaction between a virtual experience and the real world, resulting in an augmented or supplemented environment.  

The smartphone game “Pokémon GO,” which allows users to virtually place a character anywhere in their surroundings, is a popular example of augmented reality. 

Augmented reality can exist in any environment that has two essential components: 

1. A camera for photographing the surrounding environment 

2. A processor that comprehends the environment and actively simulates a virtual object placed within it. 

Virtual Reality 

In contrast to augmented reality, users are fully immersed in a simulated digital environment in a virtual reality experience. 

Individuals must put on a VR headset or head-mounted display to get a 360-degree view of an artificial world that tricks their brain into thinking they are, for example, walking on a skyscraper, swimming beneath the ocean, or stepping into whatever new world the VR developers created. 

Mixed Reality 

In mixed reality, digital and physical objects coexist and can interact in real-time. This is the most recent immersive technology, also known as hybrid reality. 

Its goal is to superimpose an interactive experience on top of reality, allowing for both simulated and true reality. 

Microsoft’s HoloLens integration with Skype is an excellent example of mixed reality, as the user can superimpose a Skype session into reality, transmit their reality over Skype, and virtually control their Skype session with their hands by “touching” the simulation. 

3. The changing talent pool and employee experience 

Given the disruptions to so many business models, companies must act quickly to redefine workforce strategies and reimagine the employee experience.  

Since the pandemic, the working class underwent a significant transformation. Employees are looking for mental health policies in addition to a change in working culture and an increase in the need for flexibility and wellness benefits.  

A research report by Accenture states that employee engagement has dropped to an all-time low in recent months, with 54 percent of employees disengaged and 14 percent actively disengaged. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the mental health and well-being of the entire working class, affecting productivity and work efficiency. 

So, in order for companies to retain existing talent, they must: 

  • Impose digital collaboration for better work experience 
  • Develop strategies to improve employee engagement and satisfaction 
  • Bring in diversity, equity, and inclusion 
  • Ensure employee well-being and recognition 

4. Marketing trends 

Last year, with all the changes we felt and experienced, we also saw how quickly marketing evolved. During the COVID-19 pandemic, marketers embraced digital transformation more than ever as they adapted to constantly changing virtual and hybrid business landscapes. 

Then, as countries cautiously reopened and more consumers left the house, some businesses experienced drops in the virtual engagement and online traffic on which they had previously relied.  

Keeping up with these changes as a marketer of any level of experience isn’t always easy. However, in order to succeed in the fast-paced marketing world and maintain a sense of relevance with your audience, you must stay ahead of the competition.  

Brief video marketing content 

The short-form video has the highest ROI of any social media marketing strategy, with 30% of social media marketers planning to invest more in it than any other trend in 2022. 

A short-form video not only requires less bandwidth to create, but it also aligns well with the fast-paced attention spans of online audiences across a wide range of demographics. This is most likely why platforms such as TikTok, Reels, and Snapchat have seen rapid growth and marketing interest in the past year.  

More business will use SEO to compete for search traffic 

As the demand for SEO strategies grows, so do the opportunities for search optimisation. As Google’s algorithms have evolved, SEO has become much more than simply churning out basic posts that answer basic search queries.  

Brands are now investing in SEO specialists who can assist them with everything from search insights reports to multimedia optimisation. 

Increase importance on mobile optimisation 

It comes as no surprise that consumers are spending an increasing amount of time on mobile devices.  

In fact, mobile devices, including tablets, account for more than half of all annual online website traffic. And, as of January 2021, 5.22 billion people or 66.6 percent of the global population use a mobile device.  

Mobile-friendly websites and apps are critical components of your online presence. Users have demonstrated a clear preference for mobile commerce and are more likely to return to mobile-optimised sites.  

Mobile users also prefer quick and personalised interactions, with 63 percent of smartphone users more likely to buy from companies whose mobile sites or apps provide relevant recommendations on products they might be interested in. 

As millennials and Gen Z audiences’ purchasing power grows, mobile-optimised digital experiences will become even more important to consider as a business owner marketing to these fast-paced, highly connected generations. 

Influencer marketing will progress from a passing fad to a standard marketing strategy 

Influencers, or people with large social media followings, now play a significant role in a customer’s decision-making process. Brands have the ability to work with influencers to drive a steady stream of new customers to their products and services.  

Influencers are frequently masters of the platforms they use as well as the field or topic they discuss. They already have an engaged audience that is interested in their content and is influenced by the information they provide. 

When marketers collaborate with industry thought leaders and influencers, they can increase brand awareness and gain fans from the influencer’s own audience. 

The value of influencer marketing is demonstrated by the fact that 61 percent of consumers trust influencer recommendations. 

Customers will immerse themselves in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences. 

Viewing a computer-generated, lifelike scenario is what virtual reality is all about. Viewing the real world with visual, haptic, olfactory, or visual enhancements is known as augmented reality. While VR and AR provide distinct experiences, both are making waves in the marketing world today. 

5. Operations that are long-term and resilient 

Successful businesses will redesign their operations and supply chains to protect themselves from a broader and more severe range of potential shocks and disruptive events.  

Harvard Business Review blog on building a more resilient business mentioned six principles that every business should embrace today:  

  1. Redundancy protects systems from unexpected shocks. It could be in the form of duplicating elements or by combining elements that achieve the same goal. 
  1. The variety of responses to a new stress helps to ensure that systems do not fail catastrophically, albeit at the expense of the efficiencies gained through standardisation. 
  1. Modularity allows individual elements to fail without causing the entire system to collapse, but at the expense of the efficiency of a tightly integrated organisational design. 
  1. Adaptability to change will help companies evolve. Adaptive organisations’ processes and structures are designed for flexibility and learning rather than stability and minimal variance. 
  1. Prudence entails operating on the precautionary principle, which states that if something is possible, it will happen eventually. This necessitates the creation of contingency plans and stress tests for plausible risks with serious consequences. 
  1. Embeddedness is critical to a company’s long-term success because companies are embedded in supply chains, business ecosystems, economies, societies, and natural ecosystems,  

Companies that can maintain their momentum while also setting new standards and operations, and upending old paradigms will gain a long-term strategic advantage. 

6. The right mix of human workers and intelligent robots 

According to Matanya Horowitz, founder and CEO of AMP Robotics, “2022 will be the year recycling really advances toward an inflection point, driven by AI, robotics, and data capture, as well as a broader appreciation for the environmental and economic impacts of keeping resources in use.”  

We now have increasingly capable robots, with around 2.7 million industrial robots working right now, globally. And artificial intelligence (AI) systems that can perform previously human-only tasks.  

This raises some critical questions for employers, including how to strike a balance between intelligent machines and human intelligence.  

  • What are the roles that machines should be given?  
  • What are the best roles for humans?  

There is no doubt that automation will have an impact on every industry, so business leaders must prepare their organisations and their employees for the changing nature of work. 

7. The As-a-Service and Cloud Revolution 

The coronavirus-driven acceleration in digital transformation among enterprises is expected to continue this year, driven by the rapid adoption of cloud computing which facilitated remote working, learning, and video conferencing among others.  

As-a-service solutions for artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning, and other technologies are now available. The cloud revolution, now an essential part of the modern workplace, means that businesses can store files on remote databases and retrieve them whenever they are needed.  

Remote data storage, databases, software, and servers are all possible with the cloud.  

Instead of being provided on-premises by an enterprise, cloud computing services are delivered via the “As-a-Service” model over the internet.  

Cloud computing services assist organisations in lowering costs and simplifying IT infrastructure, resulting in fewer servers, hard disk drives, and switches. 

This enables businesses to collaborate with big companies like IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, and other as-a-service and cloud providers to use their AI platform and pay for what they require when they require it. 

In a study conducted by IDC, it is expected that global cloud computing spending will exceed $1 trillion by 2024. More than 60% of global cloud revenues are expected to come from the “As-a-Service” category.  

Final Note 

2022 is expected to be another productive year for technology and startups. As new entrepreneurs enter the market, we will see new innovations in a variety of fields. 

As long as you keep your finger on the pulse of these key trends, and remain open to change, your business will not fall behind.
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