It’s already 2022 but COVID-19 is still affecting our lives. Despite the chip shortage the last two year’s events boosted the progress of technology in many areas and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the pandemic continues to influence what technology will offer in 2022. From evolution in remote work to the metaverse, here are 5+1 new tech trends 2022 will bring us.
More focus on behavioral data
Gartner predicts that by 2025, over half of the global population will be subject to one or more IoB programs. But what’s the Internet of Behaviors? IoB analyzes existing technologies and algorithms such as location tracking, health monitors, or IoT device usage and connects the data to real-life events.
Data obtained by IoB is then analyzed in terms of behavioral psychology. Obviously, debates on ethics and privacy are pending, but keep in mind that IoB has already been existing for a while now.
Back in 2013, Google Now was capable of giving you a heads-up to leave for work, based on your commuting routines, current, and past locations, your calendar, and even real-time traffic conditions. If traffic conditions were suboptimal, Google gave you an estimation on how much you’ll be late for work and instructed you to leave to avoid being late.
This aspect of the service required a lot of regular analytics and a great deal of behavioral data mining. Since then, we are using many more IoT devices. Tech companies will squeeze behavioral data out of them to advance intelligent algorithms like virtual assistants, or feed data into a brand new marketing frontier.
This will open up a lot of debate on AI data ethics and raise a lot of privacy concerns since IoB’s only purpose is to influence human behavior, while the intention of companies and organizations is not always clean as a whistle. The future ahead of IoB isn’t clear either, but strong data security policies and strict privacy governance are steps towards an ethical improvement in digital life.
IoB could make health apps and devices become more precise, providing an even more positive impact on wellbeing, homes could improve further environmentally, and self-driving cars could become safer.
Like it or not, the Internet of Behaviours will gain more attention from everyone in the following years, and it will be interesting to follow the developments.
Remote working and virtual congregation
It’s been almost two years since businesses and organizations suddenly had to jump into the deep end of the pool to transform from on-site to remote operations. Many companies adapted well and realized a maintainable future for working from home, providing remote work options to employees post-COVID as well. We’ve already seen a lot of improvements for remote work toolsets and technologies in the last two years, but we are far from perfection. Remote working continues to have a big impact on current tech trends.
5G gained a lot of momentum lately, and this year we can expect significant improvements in home networks in terms of speed and reliability. Internet providers might even market remote work-oriented packages containing extra lines and routers with corporate-level security.
Cloud-based productivity and co-working tools surged in the last few years. Miro and Mural became very popular in remote teams, and last year Figma entered the digital whiteboard market too with the release of FigJam.
This year we might see more services inspired by relaxed work environments: Virtual breakrooms will provide a recreational space for connecting with your co-workers. Services like Teemyco, Reslash, or Wonder will help maintain spontaneous interactions and collaborations for fully remote organizations and potentially make many formal communication channels less relevant for co-workers. Create offices and rooms, move between them, bump into colleagues virtually in a casual experience.
In case your team is not fully remote you might face different challenges. New video conferencing services, like Around can help hybrid teams collaborate better by reducing background noise, eliminating echo caused by multiple people being in the same room and minimizing the so called “Zoom fatigue” by cropping the background and showing the participants in floating bubbles instead of taking over the whole screen.
Apple also released a new feature called Center Stage in their 2021 lineup of iPads, which uses the Ultra-Wide camera and machine learning to change the way you participate in video calls. As you move around, it automatically pans to keep you centered in the frame. When others join in or leave the call, the view expands or zooms in. This enables a more natural and casual video calling experience and apart from FaceTime a variety of third-party apps, like Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams already support it.
Folding screens: the newest technology trend in phone design
The fundamentals of how a smartphone looks and works has barely changed in the last decade, but it seems like there is a new emerging tech trend in phone design as phone manufactures are definitely trying to make folding screens a thing.
While you might have seen foldable phones for a while now, starting with Samsung launching its Galaxy Fold in 2019, a lot of progress has been made in the last years, with companies like Xiaomi, Oppo, Huawei, Motorola and even Microsoft launching their interpretation of how a phone with a folding screen should work.
Of course the spread of this new form factor does not only depend on the manufacturers, but also on the users and other participants in the market, but it seems like Google also sees the potential as they have a dedicated segment for Foldable devices in their new Material Design 3.
With prices of folding phones decreasing, new companies joining the competition and new devices seeming to have less rough edges, we think in 2022 you’ll definitely see more foldables.
Local computing: The beginning of the end
One of the top tech trends for this year is going to be distributed computing. Distributed computing systems consist of components located on different networked computers, which communicate & coordinate to run as a single computer to achieve one common goal.
Scalability and redundancy are the two major benefits of distributed systems over centralized ones. If one machine doesn’t work, you always have another one that can provide the same services, and this does not need to be expensive.
If we look closely, distributed systems are not only an engineering problem but a UX one too. Even though computers are virtual, one cannot ignore the consequences of real-life challenges.
Cloud gaming platforms will also put less focus on conventional computation this year. Cloud gaming will definitely grow in 2022, going by the number of tractions eSports has got from 2021. Audiences watched over 8.21 billion hours of content across all live-streaming platforms in Q3 2021, which can certify that gaming and streaming, is continuing to grow even more this year.
With the help of this technology, you will be able to use a remote device to play games over the cloud in high fidelity. The remote server does all the heavy work while your home device receives streaming video and sends input commands. Essentially, cloud gaming is like a video streaming service, but way more interactive.
A lot of different companies are racing to become the Netflix of cloud gaming, the major players being Google Stadia, Nvidia GeForce Now, Xbox Cloud Gaming, PlayStation Now and Amazon Luna. All of them have a different game library, business model and target audience. For example Stadia sells games individually, and offers free games and 4K streaming for Pro subscribers only, Amazon Luna and Playstation Now offer a rotating game library for a monthly subscription, while GeForce Now allows you to stream your own PC games to other devices.
Some of these services are not limited to web browsers or phones either. If you own a recent LG TV you can already try both Stadia and GeForce NOW on it, as they have arrived to the LG Content Store at the end of 2021, and Samsung is also planning to include them in their 2022 lineup.
As fancy as it sounds, there are still some hiccups that need to be dealt with. A major one is latency, which is the amount of delay between the user’s inputs and the moment they take effect can affect gameplay — especially in fast-paced FPS games. This not only affects the user experience of the service but also questions the durability of the technology.
Another hiccup is the bandwidth requirement. If you’ve got a bandwidth cap, slower internet, or both, odds are you’ll need a better internet plan or improved connection to stream games.
Google’s own cloud streaming service, Stadia, recommends minimum speeds of 20Mbps for 1080p gaming at 60fps, jumping up to 35Mbps for 4K 60fps for a consistent gaming experience. Stadia also has a feature called “Crowd Play” which lets you go from watching your favorite streamer on YouTube to jumping into the game if that streamer lets you join in.
AR’s new home: E-commerce
AR has been in some weird limbo for years now. You can experiment with it by catching Pokémons or by trying out a few goofy Instagram filters, but it feels like AR’s footing in business toolsets wasn’t very firm.
One area where AR has numerous opportunities is the retail sector. There are a few already realized use cases, like store mapping. Store mapping can give you on-screen directions, while you hold up your phone, to help you find what you’re looking for. AR can also be helpful for trying out products before buying them. IKEA and Target already experimented with this, allowing you to place your preferred sofa in your living room virtually on your phone, and place and order if the furniture fits your taste and environment.
Giants like Apple are also heavily invested in AR: their keynote presentations has been filled with AR demos for years now, and their latest Pro iPhone and iPad models are equipped with LiDAR sensors mainly to perfect AR accuracy, enabling retail companies to adapt and utilize AR advancements like improved motion capture and people occlusion. They are also rumored to be secretly working on an AR/VR headset.
The newly released spatial audio and dynamic head tracking features, available in new Airpods models, also points towards the company’s commitment to AR. Spatial audio and dynamic head tracking uses the gyroscope and accelerometer in the headphones and the iOS device to track the motion of your head and your device’s position, comparing the motion data, and then remapping the sound field so that it stays anchored to your device even as your head moves. This makes you feel like the sound comes from your device, even though you’re wearing headphones.
Metaverse became one of the biggest buzzwords lately, following Facebook’s recent rebranding to Meta and Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that the company’s plan is to build a “metaverse”. But what is exactly the metaverse? Broadly speaking it’s a combination of numerous technologies, like virtual reality, augmented reality and eye tracking, used to create a virtual world for rich user interaction, mimicking the real world. Though it does not necessarily have to be only accessible through VR or AR, but also via computers, phones or game consoles. The metaverse could also include a digital economy, where you can create, buy and sell things.
While it does not exist yet, companies like Microsoft and Facebook already speculate that it will become the new place to play games, work with remote colleges, meet with friends, buy clothes or even study. Blurring the line between the physical and digital life. While it’s still not clear what the metaverse will turn out to be in reality, it’s definitely among the biggest future tech trends.
If you’d ask a product designer or a product company what are the hottest tech trends, they’d certainly mention the no-code revolution at some point. There are a lot of new platforms that allow anyone to build and deploy their own websites or products, without having to write a single line of code, and they’ll gain even more relevance in the upcoming years. These tools can help product teams to test ideas quickly, create high-quality products in a short period of time, while also keeping the budget low.
There are three major platforms gaining momentum these last years, Bravo Studio, Webflow and Bubble.io, each focusing on solving a different kind of problem. In case what you need is a high quality website, you should check out Webflow, a website builder trusted by companies like Hellosign and Bonsai. If you need to build a web app or a mobile application Bubble.io could be your answer. If you’re looking for something that allows you to launch your product to the App Store straight from your design tool, then Bravo Studio is what you’re looking for. If you’d like to learn more about these platforms check out our dedicated article about the No Code Revolution.
Machine learning will be more focused on behaviors and product design will eventually need to take this into account. Even though vaccines and even booster shots are getting distributed, it’s fair to assume that isolated work is not going away anytime soon. Still, evolving technologies will ease the negative aspects of it, ambitiously attempting to make it more popular in a post-Covid world.
The appearance of the folding screen technology will lead the first truly significant innovation in the smartphone industry in years, and you’ll definitely see a lot more devices that can fold in one way or another. 5G is spreading, and with internet speeds getting better and latency decreasing, cloud gaming platforms will make playing Triple-A games increasingly more convenient and accessible. Even if you only have a smartphone.
While the so-called Metaverse is not at our doorstep just yet, big companies see a huge potential in it, and are making steps towards archiving it. We still don’t know what it will look like, but one thing is sure. AR and VR will become an increasingly more important part of our everyday life.