Technological change is about people. And in 2022, the era of hybrid work, more than ever. The biggest trends in technology are about the new ways we work and connect – and how technology makes this possible.
The pandemic has accelerated technological change. This year, it’s time we take this transformation to the next level. It means creating digital experiences that are more immersive, inclusive, secure and easy to use than ever before.
The most important technology trends for the coming year.
# 1 – Collaborate with photorealistic holograms
Imagine going out to dinner with a friend or colleague who is 10,000 miles away but who in every way seems to be sitting on the other side of the table. Holographic technology can make this a reality. Because despite the high expectations for an unreal metaverse, I believe that people want an experience that is more real. Unlike a metaverse avatar, hologram technologies can project a hyperreal, three-dimensional representation of you and your roommate wherever you are. I expect that holograms can drastically transform business collaboration. For example, a design prototype can be viewed using a hologram from all angles by real-time collaborators who also look lifelike – even if they are on different continents. I expect this trend to be applied in real-world examples by 2022, giving us a clear picture of what lies ahead in terms of collaboration.
# 2 – The invisible user interface
Complexity stands in the way of progress, especially when it comes to user interfaces. As brands continue to add new opportunities, consumers can reach the saturation point. I therefore expect smart designers to go for simple and remove too many features, instead of adding new ones. At least as far as we can see, for many of the new features will be invisible. As AI continues to transform technology evolution in countless ways, we do not even have to think about these features, not even turn them on or off. Technology just wants to “know”. Hybrid work collaboration platforms like Webex will anticipate our needs in new ways and enable smoother, seamless and intuitive interactions anywhere and with anyone – from automatic noise reduction to real-time translation.
# 3 – Platform to platform, no problems
Today, consumers want the freedom to move from one platform, product or experience to another without any problems. So no company can innovate in a vacuum. The most successful technology companies will understand this dynamic and incorporate interoperability throughout their offerings. People find it especially important how easy and efficient technology works, not where it comes from. The pandemic has shown the importance of simplicity and ease of use. In 2022, I expect even greater integration between more platforms, apps and services.
# 4 – A shift to multi-cloud security platforms
I expect a major shift from point solutions to consolidated platforms in 2022, driven by the growing complexity of cybersecurity in a multicloud world. Given the huge number of security solutions providers on the market (3,500 according to the latest figures), this will greatly simplify security – as well as policy and governance – for many organizations. I also expect that this streamlined, integrated approach to security will further increase the relevance of the major security platform players – including Cisco, Microsoft, Zscaler, Palo Alto Networks and Crowdstrike – by 2022.
# 5 – Hybrid work, for a diverse, global and flexible workforce
People want to work in a new way. This was made clear by the Great Resignation in the United States, and this is reflected in the tight labor market in the Netherlands. The old, hierarchical 9-5 model never quite returns. However, the new way of working consists of more than giving people the opportunity to work from home a few days a week. It means creating a work experience that is unique – in the office, at home or in a mountain village on another continent. To the point where there is simply no longer any difference in how or from where you choose to work. This gives people more freedom to choose their workplace and organize their agenda, and they can spend more time with their family. I expect that collaboration tools and innovation will continue to drive global cultural change in 2022, moving us closer to an ideal where opportunities are equal all over the world.
# 6 – The labor market is getting tighter, but solutions lurk
There are currently around 4 million vacancies worldwide in the security sector alone, and I expect this number to continue to rise. An obvious solution is simply to train more people for a career in security. It means making technological skills available to a more diverse pool of potential talents. Online platforms like Cisco Networking Academy, which offers courses on digitization, will hopefully reach out to many more people in overlooked sectors and underserved areas. Last year, Cisco made some of its NetAcad courses available through the HoeWerktNederland platform, which gave people in the Netherlands the opportunity to improve their knowledge of the Internet of Things, cybersecurity and programming, thus reducing the distance to the job market. We can close this gap even more by automating technology that can simplify many tedious and time-consuming manual tasks in security and IT. Artificial intelligence will play an increasingly important role in this development, especially in the field of security. In terms of leadership, I expect to see more female technology leaders in 2022.
By Jeetu Patel