7 White Hot Tech Trends to Be Ready for in 2022

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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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. 

The US Demographic is Fast Changing; 3 Tips on Reaching Ethnic Communities

The demographics of my town of Saratoga, a quaint village nestled in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains – and by the way close to Apple, Cisco, Intel and Netflix headquarters — switched from mostly white to Asian probably around 2018. According to 2019 Census data, Saratoga is 49 percent Asian and 43 percent white.

This data is important and educational. Marketers need to realize how big the ethnic communities are in the U.S. and utilize smart tactics for reaching them.

If someone wants to reach the diverse audience here in my Silicon Valley village, made up of affluent technology executives, engineers, software developers, doctors and lawyers, teachers, plumbers, retirees, stay-at-home dads and moms, singles with no kids, and families, it’s wise to also talk to ethnic media when they are pitching stories.

Here are three tips on smart media relations or “PR” outreach to these groups:

  1. Tailor messages to community values. Vietnamese values are not necessarily the same as Indian ones. By the same token, some are.
  2. Use a trusted spokesperson. A colleague was the one that reached out to Sing Tao Daily for a PR campaign recently. I handled the main Silicon Valley newspaper as well as the broadcast networks like ABC, Fox and CBS. When it comes to Sing Tao Daily, my associate speaks their language and two of the people she highlighted in the story pitch were Chinese. Her help was greatly valued.
  3. Offer a stipend to trusted journalists at multi-cultural outlets. Julian Do who drives ethnic media services for clients like Blue Cross gave a unique tip during a gathering of PR professionals in Clubhouse recently. He said these media outlets are hurting for money and giving financial help by way of stipends helps immensely. He said it works adding that it does not influence the story. He compared it to buying advertising.

A good rule of thumb no matter what community you are trying to reach is to give something to the group that its constituents want or need.

Journalists like stories about the people they serve: Their readers or viewers, e.g. if it’s broadcast, like to hear “like” examples. Instead of pitching your standard U.S. company press release on a new product to an ethnic media outlet like Telemundo TV, form a story pitch around an interesting Latinx person at your organization who has impacted the community in a positive way.

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Michelle McIntyre is an award-winning public relations consultant and IBM vet in the Silicon Valley. She’s @michelle408 in Clubhouse and @FromMichelle in Twitter. Some of these tips came from a PRSA-SV Clubhouse panel event.

State of Communications 2020: Leaders Report It’s Not Business as Usual

The Silicon Valley Public Relations Society of America Silicon Valley chapter held its Friday Forum today with a panel offering timely updates on the state of communications departments and agencies.

In-house and agency pundits commented on the benefits of PR consulting help that’s fully remote, lack of diversity in the communications c-suite, 2021 spending priorities and mental health challenges.

There were varied answers in response to, how has business changed in 2020?

Jocelyn Breeland, Stanford said there have been communications staff cuts and hiring freezes. She has lost administrative support. A+ for transparency, Ms. Breeland.

Scott Thornburg said a PR leader now wears many hats and many plans went on hold. Now it’s time to rebuild.

Shaun Fletcher, PhD summed it up nicely, “We can no longer move forward as business as usual.”

His main concern seemed to be the added mental health challenges of people of color. He asks, can we do a better job as communicators telling those particular challenges and stories?

2021 spending priorities 

Ms. Aarti Shah who has been reporting on the communications industry since 2007 for PRovoke, formerly The Holmes Report discussed survey results released in August about 2021 spending priorities. 

The top five spending areas communications leaders in house will focus on are first corporate reputation, followed by second place public relations. Social media, in particular organic, was third on the list. Content development ranked fourth followed by employee engagement/change management. 

Lack of c-suite diversity

Shah was clearly bothered by the lack of diversity and people of color in the communications c-suite. Others chimed in on that topic. Jazmin Eusebio said when she started at her current communication job, she was shocked to not find anyone who looked like herself: “There were a lot of white faces. But now we have made huge strides.”

Syreeta Mussante seemed the most frank about lack of management diversity. She said that in her experience San Francisco firms have done a better job at employing and promoting nonwhite males than San Jose companies. 

Mussante mentioned that some agency managers clearly frowned upon female workers having children. (I’m pretty sure she was talking about a previous job.)

A representative from Highwire PR mentioned that they were hiring more diverse candidates. 

On remote work

Curtis Sparrer who runs a PR firm that’s been remote from its inception said that right now publicists are more accessible than they ever have been. He added that the high touch fluff activities mostly have gone away: there is more time to focus and be attentive to clients. 

Sparrer seemed the most positive of the bunch maybe because he was already remote, which I can relate to. I’ve been a remote PR professional for well over a decade. When Covid hit, I thought, it’s almost business as usual for me.

Although I’ve been remote a while, I do miss the in-person networking. I fondly remember sipping wine with PR friends at Santana Row pre-Covid.

Besides Fletcher mentioning the special mental health challenges of people of color, most PRSA-SV panel participants did not dive deep into the topic.

To sign up for the next PRSA-SV panel, visit the group’s page on Eventbrite. Go here to join PRSA.

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This story is by Silicon Valley PR Consultant Michelle McIntyre. An IBM vet and Eagle Scout mom, Ms. McIntyre serves as the volunteer media relations lead for the Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council of Boy Scouts of America. @FromMichelle on Twitter

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