Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, companies have learned to accelerate digital transformations and rethink operations to survive and thrive in a new normal. As 2022 begins, leaders across the technology industry are looking for new ways to drive business results while staying ahead of evolving customer needs.
Four Technology Predictions
Based on my observations in the technology industry, I believe the following four technology trends will shape innovation in 2022 and beyond. Here's what I predict and what you might want to consider for your own business.
1. Implementing Enterprise 5G (With 6G On The Horizon)
Although the Covid-19 pandemic slowed 5G deployments, as of July 2021, 80% of the U.S. population was estimated to have had 5G coverage at home or work, with 12% device penetration. In 2022, 5G devices will very likely continue to become more commonplace as coverage expands in the U.S. and globally.
Beyond smartphones, in 2022, I think we’ll see enterprises adopt 5G in industrial settings. 5G’s fast speeds and reliability can enable powerful use cases for the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and sensor technology — fueling the digitalization of healthcare, energy, transportation and more. 5G-enabled video can help companies conduct remote inspections, proactively identify product issues and secure facilities. Cloud-connected robotics can orchestrate manufacturing and logistics activities, automating once manual processes to enable more efficient supply chains.
Enterprises must also prepare for the cybersecurity challenges of software-defined 5G networks. Industry stakeholders will need to evaluate frameworks for security and testing standards to minimize risk and proactively combat cyber threats. This includes incorporating cybersecurity early in the software development lifecycle, implementing holistic, continuous security testing and providing hands-on training for cybersecurity teams through virtual simulations.
And although we’re still in the early stages of 5G, 6G research is already underway. The emerging vision for 6G is near-instant and ubiquitous connectivity that enables a convergence between the human, physical and digital worlds. In 2022, programs like 6G Flagship, a consortium of academic and industry leaders, continue to guide R&D and define standards for the next generation of connectivity.
2. Bolstering Sustainability Efforts
With extreme weather and rising temperatures, the world is already feeling the impact of climate change. Reports from NASA show that the last seven years have been the planet’s warmest on record.
Climate change will almost certainly continue to be a major factor for businesses in 2022. The rapid increase in connected devices, cloud computing and data centers is driving higher energy consumption and carbon emissions. As severe weather events become more frequent, enterprises should rethink their supply chains to enable flexibility, diversification and resilience.
That said, the technology industry has the opportunity to advance environmental sustainability solutions. Expanding wireless access to agricultural areas can help farmers optimize crop production, reduce water consumption and minimize pesticide use. Smart grids can enable communities to better monitor increasing energy demands, optimize electrical distribution and use automation to manage large variations in loads. The growth in connected electric vehicles promotes clean energy and can reduce emissions by optimizing traffic flow.
I predict that technology companies will make sustainability a business priority in 2022, incorporating environmental goals into their strategic plans and product roadmaps. Our company, Keysight, for example, is committed to achieving net-zero emissions in company operations by the end of fiscal year 2040 — 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement’s goal of 2050.
3. Advancing Quantum Computing
I believe that this year will bring new opportunities in quantum technology. Complex calculations that take months or years to process on today’s supercomputers may take just minutes on a quantum computer. The technology’s potential for simulation, optimization, AI, and materials science can unlock powerful benefits for a variety of industries. Aerospace engineers could simulate airflow over the wing of an aircraft they’re designing, and pharmaceutical researchers could speed up the discovery of new medicines.
Despite the pandemic, investment in quantum R&D continues to grow. In 2022, I believe we’ll see exciting breakthroughs that can help address quantum computing’s key challenges, such as error correction and scaling. I anticipate that several quantum companies will release a 100-qubit computer (IBM shared a product roadmap for releasing a 1,000-plus qubit device in 2023). Researchers will likely also build on AWS’ and others’ work to better understand qubit properties and improve error rates by finding more ways to decrease system noise.
We’ll also likely see more collaborations across corporations, academia, and research centers as cross-disciplinary teams combine expertise to push quantum R&D forward. For example, we've partnered with the MIT Center for Quantum Engineering and OneQuantum.org (for our Women in Quantum mentoring program) and participate in industry groups like the Quantum Economic Development Consortium.
4. Addressing the Increased Demands on Design, Test and Validation Solutions
The number of IoT devices is forecast to reach 30.9 billion by 2025, and global IoT spending is expected to grow at a CAGR of 26.7% between 2022 and 2025. As IoT applications proliferate in autonomous vehicles, smart agriculture, smart energy grids and more, connected devices and systems must be able to withstand the rigors of the real world. Addressing these new standards for software performance, reliability and integrity will likely be one of the biggest focus areas for design engineers and device manufacturers as IoT scales in 2022.
As with any new technology, IoT solutions have many technical implications for design, test, validation and security throughout the development lifecycle. From physical layer signal integrity to application-layer load testing and security, engineers should take a comprehensive approach to ensure their hardware and software solutions work without failure, even in the toughest environments.
The Next Era of Technology Innovation
Although it’s impossible to predict exactly what will happen in 2022, we know that these trends will continue to shape our daily lives. I’m excited to see how technology companies will harness the power of an increasingly connected world to deliver positive change for business and society at large.