Happy New Year! We hope 2022 has been good for you so far. As each year passes by, we get to experience the evolution of technology. The Covid-19 pandemic has been a force affecting our daily lives tremendously for the past couple of years. This year again the impact of the pandemic can be seen shaping the trends that are emerging. Let’s take a look at what we can expect for 2022 in terms of tech trends!
1. Hybrid working arrangement is here to stay
Firstly, what is a hybrid working arrangement? Simply put, it is when employees are given the flexibility to work remotely or on-site. Sounds familiar? Yes, many of us are currently working in a hybrid working arrangement due to the pandemic. In the beginning when the Covid-19 restrictions hit us, we were unsure how long this arrangement was going to last. Now, from a study conducted by Google in 2021, 75% of the respondents expect hybrid working to become the standard practise in the next 3 years. Also, it seems that employees are getting used to it, and many prefer the hybrid working arrangement as a recent survey from Wakefield Research shows that 47% of respondents would look for another job if their current employee does not switch to the hybrid working arrangement.
This trend is especially affecting the tech industry and other industries where a large part of the work can be done independently utilizing appropriate tech gadgets and software that are evolving to support the new normal better. In the process of making the hybrid working arrangement feasible, we get to see the power of technology in facilitating remote collaborations. For example, GitHub has an intranet site called the “Hub”, which pulls information from Slack (an instant messaging app), emails and GitHub itself, acting as a central source of information for employees to access from anywhere. Similarly, various businesses have adopted new practices and tools such as virtual white boards that allow employees to collaborate remotely, not even mentioning about the surge in videoconferencing app usage by a whopping 21 times compared to pre-Covid usage levels.
We can definitely expect this arrangement to become the new normal from 2022 onwards.
2. Artificial Intelligence found in more places than ever
Artificial intelligence (AI) is something that we are already getting used to, with it being incorporated into our daily lives. We would think that this is it but there is going to be more! Compared to when the first iPhone came out in 2007 (can you believe that was 15 years ago?) and today, in 2022, there is a vast difference in the features of a smartphone and many of those are enabled by AI and machine learning (ML) algorithms. For example, we are unlocking phones with Face IDs enabled by facial recognition models, communicating with digital assistants like Siri where speed recognition and natural language processing (NLP) play a key role, and taking photos enhanced digitally by smart technology detecting objects in the photos. In 2022, we will see improvements in these kind of algorithms in terms of performance and accuracy. There are already some image recognition algorithms that can annotate images more accurately compared to humans.
One of the areas to look forward to in 2022 is AI tech in the health sector as it will be useful for many. Leaps By Bayer, is a company investing and collaborating with other companies in health tech that can change our futures for the better and have a huge impact on humanity. One of their goals is to use AI to unlock huge amount of data about the characteristics of disease-causing organisms to prevent genetic diseases such as Alzheimer’s and blindness.
Another health AI technology that is expected to exist soon are smart toilets! Yes, you read that right, smart toilets that will be able to diagnose gastrointestinal issues by using computer vision to analyse stool samples. The future of healthcare is impressive, isn’t it?
3. Automation with software improving productivity
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to adopt automation programs. Thus, some robotic trends are expected to be increasingly used in 2022 to help businesses in their shift to automation.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
RPA is a software using bots that allows businesses to automate repetitive tasks and operational processes that are often done manually by humans such as completing routine analysis and reports or filling in forms. As human beings tend to make errors and perform slower than bots, RPA results in fewer operational errors, higher speed, and smaller costs, allowing businesses to be more efficient and profitable. For example, RPA is utilized by Singapore’s Anti-Scam Center to detect and warn potential victims of job scams. This kind of software is expected to accelerate in 2022 and become the standard practise for businesses.
Robotics as a service (Raas)
RPA software might not be suitable for smaller firms due to financial constraints and the complexity of the system. Hence, Raas models step in to solve the problem for them. Raas is a subscription-based service model of the RPA software that includes preventive maintenance, analytics, monitoring and other benefits such as the capability to adapt to platforms based on the current needs and requirements. An example of a Raas model is Meili FMS, a cloud-based platform for universal fleet management that contains Raas features such as allowing businesses to conduct automated task allocation, data analytics and many more things.
Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR)
An AMR is a type of robot that can carry out a wide range of tasks autonomously such as scanning inventory levels, measuring refrigerators’ temperatures and providing businesses with real-time data. Thanks to the use of sensors combined with AI and ML technologies, the AMRs can move in the environment independently carrying those tasks, which can result in an increase of efficiency, productivity, and revenue for varying businesses in logistics, warehouses, and healthcare facilities, for instance. The demand for AMRs have been accelerating since the pandemic due to e-commerce growth, increased automation, shortage of labour and mass personalisation of goods. The AMR market was valued at $1.3B SGD in 2017 and is expected to hit $9.4B SGD in 2022.
4. Immersive gaming taking us to new worlds
As more time is spent at home and the line between work and leisure is getting blurrier, immersive gaming is offering a way to reset your brain after a long day. Whether you are a gamer or not, this is something that you should definitely try at least once as it would be a very cool experience! In immersive gaming, the player will be transported into an alternative world using Virtual Reality (VR) to make them feel like they are the character in the game itself. These gaming experiences require a good game flow, well developed story line and realism made possible by cutting-edge graphics. During these gaming experiences, you will be required to wear VR goggles in order for you to experience the visuals. This can be called entering the “metaverse”.
The “metaverse” is basically a combination of virtual, augmented and physical reality, blurring the line between your interactions online and in real life. This term has become more popular since Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be changing its name to “Meta” and will also be spending at least $10 billion on the metaverse. Seems like we can expect more from the metaverse soon enough!
With 5G becoming more prevalent, we can expect more extreme realism, enhanced sensory stimulation and full body experiences involving Augmented Realities (AR) and Virtual Realities (VR) from this type of gaming.
P.S. Do checkout these places if you want to experience immersive gaming in Singapore:
3) Sandbox VR
5. 5G enabling seamless experiences
The existence of 5G is something that everyone has been raving about. What can we expect from 5G in 2022 or in the upcoming years?
While 5G increases speed by up to 10 times compared to 4G, edge computing helps with low latency (high volume of data with minimal delay) and faster turnaround to the end user. To give you a clearer understanding, 4G has a network latency of up to 100 milliseconds, 4G with edge computing has a network latency of less than 30 milliseconds, and 5G itself has a network latency of 10 to 20 milliseconds. This gives you a rough idea of how fast 5G with edge computing could be. Low latency is important for things like video conferencing so that people don’t experience any lagging and also immersive gaming as we have seen above.
5G will be expected to be used in business applications such as IOT and factory automation. Also, governments and national defence companies will be able to develop and deploy custom, private 5G networks. As governments and national defence companies possess highly confidential information, a private network will be needed to share data safely and securely so that it never reaches the public. Smart factories, warehouses and seaports will also be able to capitalize on robotic automation with AI enabled private 5G networks. With 5G technologies, smart factories will be able to conduct manufacturing with automated robotic machines.
6. High-speed internet soon covering rural areas
Whether you are a student or a working adult, having a reliable internet access in your home has never been more crucial than now, during this Covid-19 period. Lessons from home, working from home and video call meetings, all require a good and reliable internet access. Everyone around the world should have this luxury and soon it will be a reality as Elon Musk’s spacecraft company SpaceX has been working on a satellite internet service called Starlink that is expected to increase its coverage in 2022.
Starlink aims to provide high-speed and low-latency internet service to everyone around the world, no matter where you are. With Starlink, people will be able to make video calls, play online games, stream videos, and do many other high data activities with minimal delay. This would eventually make a huge impact on rural and remote areas, where internet access has been either unreliable or completely unavailable, in terms of gaining access to education, health services and even communication support during natural disasters.
What are your opinions about this satellite internet service and internet being available in rural areas? Share in the comments below!
7. Sustainable energy solutions contributing to save the planet
Over the past few years, Covid-19 has caused industries to shut down and people worldwide to stay at home due to nationwide lockdowns. This has resulted in a slight positive impact on the environment where there has been an overall reduction of emissions by 8%, and an increase in usage of renewable energy. The International Energy Agency’sRenewable Energy Market Update stated that 45% more renewable energy was generated and used in 2020 once the pandemic hit. Not only that, the cost of generating renewable energy from resources such as wind, solar and tidal, fell by 7%-16%, becoming lower than even the cheapest fossil fuels. Due to this, it is expected that there will be more investments being put into resources that generate renewable energy. These changes will also be very helpful for countries that are aiming to become carbon neutral. Who knew that Covid-19 would also affect the world in a positive way? Here are some trends and innovations that are expected to help with renewable energy in 2022.
AI and Big Data
To produce energy with complex infrastructure, the renewable energy sector takes advantage of AI algorithms and Big Data. You might be wondering, how exactly are AI and Big Data used in the renewable energy sector? AI enables, for example, fast real-time decision making in energy grids and power demand forecasting and predictive maintenance of renewable energy sources. AI is also used in applications, which predict the energy grid capacity levels and conduct time-based autonomous trading and pricing based on Big Data collected over time and managed real-time in the system.
A major challenge faced in harvesting renewable energy is production and process efficiency. Advanced robotics can help reduce these challenges in quite a few ways. For example, automatically orienting solar panels maximize energy conversion; equipment automation reduces the need for human work; and drone inspections and robotics-based automated operations handling repetitive and dangerous work improve safety and productivity. Thus, robotics will affect the future of human work the way or another, making our lives easier or changing the type of work we will do in the future.
Which of these tech trends are you most excited for? Or which do you think should not exist at all? Do let us know your thoughts and opinions on these trends and maybe share some ideas of tech that does not exist yet but you think should exist. Bring out the techie in you!
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