The other day, technology business journalists from Forbes, Insider, SiliconAngle and WIRED participated in a panel discussion about what trends will be hot in 2022. The purpose of the event was to help public relations professionals like me stay on top of the latest trends in order to better advise their clients and employers in 2022.
Here are the top seven 2022 trends they predicted:
- Participation in Web 3.0 will balloon. This is the next iteration of the world wide web. Web 2.0 was the growth of social media networks and things like blogging. 3.0 includes the Metaverse, NFTs, cryptocurrencies and a host of other cool and nifty things that people seem to talk about and invest in daily. The downside is that some aspects of Web 3.0, like NFTs, are volatile and unregulated. An NFT is a digital asset. Here’s an example. If I were to sell my first tweet, I’d be in the NFT business. Some people have sold their first Tweets for more than $50,000.
- The Metaverse frenzy will continue. Metaverse, part of Web 3.0, was made famous by Facebook’s recent name change to Meta. It’s a whole new world including AR or augmented reality and VR or virtual reality, and so on. Imagine working, playing and meeting in an online environment. On Dec. 1, a research analyst named Andrew Prince published a blog story that saying, “Grand View Research posted expects the AR market to grow from $25 billion this year to $36 billion in 2022.” He said that this number was released before Facebook’s branding change, and he believed that the market will easily double by the end of 2022.
- XR will become more popular. XR, extended reality, is a term referring to all real-and-virtual combined environments and human-machine interactions generated by computer technology and wearables. According to Wikipedia, the ‘X’ represents a variable for any current or future spatial computing technologies, e.g., it includes representative forms such as augmented reality, mixed reality and virtual reality and the areas interpolated among them. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo was quoted this year (2021) in media stories saying that Apple’s first AR/VR headset could be introduced in 2022, but more advanced products like AR glasses are not expected before 2025.
- Digital transformation will continue to accelerate. Digital transformation, according to a HBR story (Nov. 30, 2021), is about achieving better business outcomes; it involves things like robotic process automation, machine learning, and cloud computing. It’s kind of a dated term compared to say “Metaverse”, but many businesses have digital transformation plans, and many PR campaigns still involve discussing some aspect of this.
- Fintech trends will continue to change the face of the financial industry. Contactless payments and cashless transitions were mentioned. One of the journalists commented that contactless payments are safer, timely due to the pandemic. Notice the large number of fintech startup investments and acquisitions this year.
- The pandemic will continue to dominate our lives. Every aspect of our lives including learning, working and playing seems to be affected by coronavirus and the various variants including Delta and now omicron. Any biotech solution that addresses it in a successful manner will likely be trending in 2022.
- Hybrid work models will become ubiquitous. Remote work means working from anywhere except the office. Coffee shops and home are two popular choices. Many people set up workstations in their bedrooms and kitchens this year. I’m pleased to have a large, dedicated home office with a connected bathroom, a sofa for my dog and a stationary bike. And then there is the hybrid model, which might entail working three days in the office and two days not in the office. Hybrid seems to be the big trend at the moment. It’s nice to have a company laptop and be able to work anywhere. Setting up a flexible work environment helps prevent The Great Resignation.
In summary, I think that the main trend that will be discussed in 2022 is completing tasks digitally and in other “realities.” This creates efficiencies and keeps people safe from problems like pandemics. It also causes problems, like investing in Web 3.0 NFTs and cryptocurrencies is still a risky business.
Michelle McIntyre is a Silicon Valley public relations consultant and IBM vet who spends most of her time working for Aircover Communications. Follow her at @fromMichelle on Twitter. Author’s note: Thank you PRSA-SV for hosting the panel and networking event. The panelists were Eugene Kim, Diane Brady, Kristen Nicole, and Lauren Goode. It was co-chaired by Michelle’s Aircover Communications’ Colleague Caroline James.