It’s sometimes humorous to look back at the predictions we’ve made in the past, and of course this is the time of year for forecasting. Past predictions have included Cloud Computing, BYOD, Mobile, Big Data, Business Intelligence, Outsourcing, and even In-memory Computing just to name a few.
So much changes, so fast, at all times. A hundred years ago our list might have included improvements to the automobile, that new inkblot test that doctor Rorschach suggested or the hope for a tuberculosis vaccine.
To keep it relevant to our readers and industry, we’ve focused on a few trends we anticipate blossoming during 2022. Please feel free to tell us what you think we missed!
There has long been a chasm between users who prefer a platform that puts all functionality at their fingertips and technologists who prefer their favorite point solutions and aren’t worried about having them all on a “single-pane-of-glass.” More people are starting to talk about finding best-of-platform solutions rather than best-of-breed tools and we expect that trend to continue in 2022. The “layer of abstraction” described in NIST’s Definition of Cloud Computing is becoming more pronounced, so users have a better chance than ever of prevailing.
DIY Low-Code/No-Code Apps
While on the subject of platforms, an astounding number of new ones have emerged enabling anyone who knows their business processes to map them into applications without writing a stitch of code. Most of these are point-drag-click solutions that take a “building-block” approach giving users great flexibility and, again, much more power. Coding is becoming outmoded.
When you think about what kinds of businesses would benefit most from automation you begin by asking which industries involve the most simple, repetitive tasks that would most easily be automated. One of the first that should occur to you is manufacturing. So many key functions in factories are already automated, but now we have a host of new technologies being applied, including internet-of-things (IoT) sensors and controls, artificial intelligence and machine learning, robotic process automation (RPA), event-driven architecture, blockchain, and much more. Driven by the competitive desire to produce goods faster and with higher quality we will see more and more of these technologies being integrated into many manufacturing processes turning more facilities into smart factories every day.
While there are still those who fear that automation will replace humans and put many out of their jobs, others are finding that the automation of duties that really should be automated like repetitive tasks or those requiring little thinking or decision-making, is relieving them of many burdens and freeing them to do more meaningful work. Their satisfaction with their working lives is improving as a result. We’re seeing a dramatic expansion of technologies and techniques as more and more managers find additional low-level work to automate,
There’s that famous old story about Einstein’s teacher’s thinking he was simple because he never remembered things. Then they asked him why and he explained that he didn’t see the point in memorizing anything he could easily look up. As mobile devices and the SaaS that helps them become ever more sophisticated, and AI improves its ability to anticipate, we see mobile devices coming closer and closer to Alan Kay’s original vision of the Dynabook, the personal digital assistant that could bring its user any information needed at anytime, from anywhere, all transacted in natural language.
Up until now it’s been a safe bet that everything is hybrid mainly because everything has been in transition from on-premises to public and private cloud. For some, 2022 will be the year in which they achieve complete migration and find themselves fully in the cloud. The operational and financial possibilities are exciting. Cloud ubiquity, the point at which cloud is a utility computing platform similar to gas, electric, telephone, and water, may not arrive in 2022 but we’ll see significant progress.
The word “workplace” is already on its way to being completely redefined. In 2022, more people will come to realize they don’t know where the person they’re working with is physically located. And they don’t really care! The entire nature of employment will change as hiring decisions are made without regard to physical proximity to any given office location. Technologies will emerge to make the WFH experience effortless and pleasant. Collaboration will expand to include AI participants. The content of our thoughts will become “king.”
The buying and selling of goods online is by no means new, but rapidly evolving technologies have been a game-changer. During the pandemic lockdown, consumers completely switched their way of purchasing goods, forcing companies to invest in channels and digital marketing they hadn’t considered before. For example, most manufacturers are planning to invest in e-commerce upgrades by activating digital marketing and sales over the next two years. This is a monumental trend because for industrial companies their expectations are to accelerate from virtually zero percent of online sales to more than 60% of online sales within the next several years. Many companies have already augmented their e-commerce activity and pivoted from B2B to B2B2C models.
Even now you can subscribe to several different brands of automobile rather than own one. You can subscribe to a robot floor sweeper which will request replenishment of its consumable supplies as needed without your involvement. Computer ink-jet printers will re-order ink in a similar fashion. Ownership may start become an unwanted burden in 2022, or it might take a bit longer, but the potential for a more agile customer experience is breathtaking.
Frankly, we could do this all day, all month, all year. There are now so many moving parts in our technological landscape its impossible to track them all, but incredibly exciting to take note of those that present themselves vividly. What biggest trends do YOU see coming?