It’s no secret that the COVID pandemic has increased businesses’ dependence on technology. During the Spring of 2020, more than one third of U.S. employees were working from home, and there was a massive increase in digital business tools like video conferencing platforms, e-signature software, and virtual communication systems.
Now, as we enter the third year of the pandemic, both companies and consumers have higher standards and expectations when it comes to how technology is integrated into day-to-day business processes.
Here are five ways experts predict businesses will innovate using technology in 2022:
- Companies will race each other into the “metaverse.” According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, people will soon be frequently hanging out inside of virtual reality. In 2022, the large tech companies will contest each other for slices of the emerging market. With different hardware offering different experiences, the theoretical shared space of the metaverse will be fragmented at first. There will be a proliferation of headsets, operating systems, and interface devices for PCs, smartphones, and perhaps even gaming consoles. Any company developing software for the metaverse must make sure their products play nicely with others.
- Work-from-home becomes work-from-anywhere. According to Business Insider, the momentum we’ve established in the lockdown years has proven helpful for distributing the workforce. In the near future, though, companies and people alike will do much of their thinking outside the office—and beyond it. And as we work outside the traditional office—which is fast becoming a hub for collaboration—technology will play a crucial role in creating opportunities that will transform the way we work. For example, Artificial Intelligence will play a greater role. So will Augmented Reality, which can create a workspace in which employees can immerse themselves — not unlike a traditional office.
- Robotics becomes more important. Many industries have been hit hard by the pandemic. Agriculture, warehousing, health care, and supply chain management sectors will benefit greatly from the introduction of improved robotic technology, according to Inc. Magazine. Robots and automation also offer a way to keep businesses working while keeping employees socially distanced, especially in the industries of warehousing, logistics, and supermarkets. Robots free humans from doing repetitive, boring tasks, and enable them to focus on more interesting work.
- Smart Homes will work even better. Right now, it’s not hard to find a plethora of smart thermostats and intelligent light bulbs. What is hard to find is the stuff that works with the products you already have. But several big tech companies, such as Samsung, Apple, Google, and Amazon are collaborating on a new smart home standard they’ve named Matter. Matter is an underlying layer that promises to connect all the smart home gadgets you have in such a way that they all play nice with each other, no matter who made them — or how you want to interact with them.
- Biometric data will be more widely used. Data from our bodies, or biometric data, will be used to diagnose, prevent, and treat more health disorders in 2022. It’s easy to obtain a wide array of health-oriented wearables, or gadgets that measure how well the different parts of our bodies work—heart function, lung capacity, sleep patterns, calories burned, and even the toxins in your sweat. This year, you might use a ring or a bracelet to collect data about how your body functions. The trick will be to find ways for overworked medical professionals to easily parse this data, as well as to find ways of protecting it. Existing medical privacy laws such as HIPAA were conceived long before wearables were a thing, so expect this to change as well.
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