05 Jan 2022 technology predictions
2021 was a year defined by the pandemic. But just as the financial crash of 2008 led to a surge in development of new FinTech start-ups, the pandemic has – and is still – reshaping how technology impacts our lives. What technology will come to define 2022?
In our latest blog we make three predictions for the year ahead:
1 – Metaverse milestone
You could not have got through 2021 without hearing the term ‘metaverse’ from tech giants like Facebook and Microsoft. It seems, for them at least, the virtual world is the next big frontier.
Creating digital avatars, attending virtual concerts, and hanging out with friends may sound like something just for the gaming community, but things are changing. This past year has seen us all forced to become comfortable interacting more in virtual environments (Zoom quiz anyone?) as limits on in-person contact were brought in around the world.
At the same time, advancements in augmented and virtual reality, as well as hologram technology, have enhanced aspects of our lives we perhaps did not think it would; the rise in the affordability and effectiveness of telemedicine is one great example.
While the ‘metaverse’ may sound like something out of Bladerunner, its origins will begin to take root in 2022 as companies battle it out for their vision of the virtual future to reign supreme. But we predict this will be a slow burner and we should not expect too many ground-breaking innovations to come to the fore in the year ahead – although you can almost certainly expect lots of hype on the stages of Silicon Valley.
2 – Sustainability surge
COP26 may be finished but sustainability will continue to be a big focus in the tech world. In recent years, powerful initiatives like Fairphone, an eco-friendly smartphone built using responsibly sourced materials and recycled parts, and radical ideas like the zero-carbon flying taxis being developed by Vertical Aerospace, have made huge waves.
According to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), impact tech firms (those companies that generate positive social and environmental impacts alongside financial returns) have seen a 127 percent increase in investment in the UK since 2018. They are now worth a combined £50bn and employ more than 35,000 people. And we expect the awareness, interest, and investment in ‘green’ technology innovations to continue to rise in 2022.
3 – Retail revamp
For many people, the high street has been in decline for much longer than the last 18 months. However, it would be fair to say that the pandemic has sped up the demise of many traditional retail outlets. ©Situ Live
But what we are now seeing is a new approach to the shopping experience. Dubbed the “discovery playhouse”, Situ Live – based in Westfield Shepherds Bush – is a fantastic example of the role technology can play in creating immersive retail experiences built around customers. Products that are designed to inspire and improve everyday activities are showcased across a series of specially curated, themed stages that are regularly updated and brought to life by live storytelling and hands-on demonstrations. If you like what you see (and touch), you simply scan the barcode with your smartphone and purchase direct from the manufacturer – safe in the knowledge that your purchase will work in the way you want (something not always possible with online shopping).
And therefore, our final prediction for 2022 is that more retailers will adopt this approach with technology leading the way in creating new innovative experiences for the high street.