The turn of a new year is always a great opportunity for both individuals and organizations to reset over the holidays, reflect on the successes and challenges of the previous year and prepare for the coming year. It’s that time of year to capitalize on trending opportunities or set goals and commitments for new areas of self-improvement. In 2021, we survived yet another pandemic year, which once again saw adjustments and investments in areas that alter how we work in a virtual environment. 2022 will see much of the same, with additional digital transformation investments to optimize the all-encompassing nature of a remote work environment.
Across the technology sector, especially at the consumer level, you’ll find many of the 2022 prediction articles focusing on the advancement of virtual and augmented reality, blockchain and cryptocurrency, the development of the metaverse and the continued maturity of smart devices and vehicles. For the technology channel, some glaring key drivers are shaping our enterprise and SMB predictions; many of the new emerging technologies and next-gen architecture have continued to trend upward and will play a massive role in the year ahead. As a result, we’ve organized our 2022 predictions into each of these relevant next-gen categories.
Cloud — Cloud Native Platforms and Workload Performance Growth
Moving to some form of an off-premise or hybrid cloud model has become a do-or-die scenario for many businesses, as the costs, support and risk of hosting a fully-managed on-premise data center environment are becoming too much, especially when more reliable and cost-effective solutions are on the market. For many organizations, 2022 will be the year they fully migrate to public and private cloud, completely eliminating the hybrid transition.
Cloud-native platforms are applications that allow IT organizations to be more agile and responsive to digital transformation initiatives. Traditional “lift-and-shift” cloud applications have become unnecessarily complex, especially as it relates to support and maintenance. Cloud-native applications help automate tasks and allow resources to focus on competitive differentiation. New financing models, like consumption IT, are allowing more businesses to adopt hybrid cloud technology, when they may not have been able to come up with immediate capital in the past.
Cybersecurity — Privacy and Cybersecurity Mesh
We’ve talked extensively about the rise of cybersecurity attacks since the start of the pandemic (up 300%+ from the year prior). Cybercriminals are looking to capitalize on remote workforces and find vulnerabilities in organizations’ virtual networks to phish for or expose valuable data. As a result, there is now a broad array of cybersecurity vendors, each with specialized niches in identifying, predicting, preventing and recovering from these inevitable breaches. As a result, cybersecurity mesh will also become more prevalent; cybersecurity mesh is an architecture that will help integrate each of these disparate vendor platforms to better work together and reliably protect assets.
In 2022, features like machine learning and AI can help detect novel patterns and free up resources while the use of enterprise blockchain will alter how businesses manage and secure their digital assets. Internet security and privacy will also take new leaps and bounds. While GDPR was the first legislation of its kind, expect new laws to be formed to better protect the personal information of its citizens. Privacy-enhancing computation will better secure data and adapt to these new data protection laws as they are implemented. In 2022, expect a large number of companies to put a focus on “fixing the internet” with new applications, regulations and knowledge-sharing to slow down ransomware attacks.
Data Analytics — Hyperautomation and Data Fabric Architecture
We’ve all personally seen devices and processes become automated over the past few years. In fact, it’s to the point where robotics and IoT device ideas that seemed like pipe dreams just a decade ago are commonplace realities today. This concept of automation will surge in 2022 to a level not seen before, into a new approach called hyperautomation. Hyperautomation occurs when an organization is fully committed to identifying ways to automate an entire IT environment, where tools, applications and technologies are orchestrated with one another.
When these solutions all work together, AI-inspired decisions can be made, which reduces risk, and generative AI can replicate creative content and solution, adding new value to the channel. There are many benefits to hyperautomation, primarily that it creates a consistent experience in the IT stack. While some believe automation will replace human jobs, the reality is that today’s automation will better free up skilled talent to focus on high-value activity.
Data fabric architecture is another trend to look for in 2022 and is heavily tied to edge computing. Data fabric allows data to be accessed across platforms and devices, making it accessible everywhere, anytime. Data fabric relies on analytics to make the most efficient decisions on where data should live, reducing the reliance on traditional data management efforts.
IoT — Technology for Good
In 2022, more organizations will be using their IoT and edge technology for good, helping build renewable energy initiatives and other sustainability practices geared toward slowing climate change. Fully committing to a green energy model has been met with hesitation, but as the expenses for these updates become more affordable, companies must be able to meet market demand, for both consumer reputation and employer desirability. Edge and IoT devices will help power these efforts to work in conjunction with other smart, sustainable technologies.
While the global chip shortage continues to play a major factor in the rollout of many of these technologies, manufacturers are continuing to turn up the pressure on these challenges to address growing climate change concerns. Companies will begin to come together to develop an energy grid that can better support renewable energy to make it more accessible for others, globally.
Networking and Connectivity — Expansion of 5G… and Maybe Into 6G or Satellite Internet?
With a majority of employers around the world implementing a fully remote or hybrid work model over the past two years and the Omicron variant slowing down return-to-office plans, 2022 will once again see millions of homes equipped with reliable, fast and secure network performance to perform job expectations. While 5G is seemingly in its infancy, research on 6G has already begun and by the end of the year, we could see elements of this higher frequency spectrum being used. In addition, satellite internet could see a rise to challenge 5G, especially in rural locations with limited 5G connectivity.
Additional Technology Predictions for 2022: