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Key Tech Trends to watch in 2022

Key Tech Trends to watch in 2022
Posted 01/24/2022 by Bob O’Donnell, President and chief analyst, Technalysis Research

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With the new year upon us and CES® 2022 now complete, many people are wondering what important tech trends we can expect to see bubble up this year. On one hand, it’s fairly easy to predict that a number of the big developments that first popped up over the last few years—things like 5G, AI, cloud computing, and more—will continue to grow in importance and influence this year. At the same time, there are several relatively new areas that I think are going to get a lot of attention in 2022 as well.

Car Tech Taking Off

Automotive-related technology, for example, was a big part of the news coming out of this year’s CES, and it’s poised to make a big comeback. I use the word comeback because, as you may recall, there was a big push on automotive tech about five years ago, along with lots of what turned out to be completely unrealistic expectations on when we would have autonomous cars. Here in 2022, however, I believe there’s a bit more realistic attitude about both the capabilities and timelines for some of these advancements.

First, while there are still a few high-profile bets on full autonomy coming by the middle of the decade, there’s more focus on some of the practical sides of automotive technology. ADAS (Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems), for example, offers critical real-world benefits like automatic braking when objects or other vehicles are sensed, driver drowsiness or attentiveness detection, automatic lane-keeping and other capabilities that have the potential to save lives and reduce injuries. It’s not as sexy as a fully autonomous vehicle, but it’s incredibly useful and, as research suggests, it’s a set of capabilities that consumers actually want. The growing interest in technologies that can enable and enhance ADAS is a key tech trend for this year.

Significantly more sophisticated cockpit controls and large numbers of displays are also coming to cars, highlighting the growing trend of software-defined vehicles. This is a development that will take several years to evolve, but there’s little doubt that we’ll see big actions taken in 2022.

Robots, Robots, Everywhere

We’re also likely to see some interesting steps taken in the field of personal robotics this year. Last year’s launch of Amazon’s Astro robot was the first step in what, again, will be a multi-year development trend. Look for other vendors and other applications for personal robotics to be an important part of this year’s tech story.

The PC Renaissance

While it’s a little less forward looking, there’s also likely to be some important advancements in several existing product categories. The newly revitalized PC market, for example, is enjoying the benefits that reinvigorated sales numbers and attention have brought to it. As a result, PC companies are generating some of the most interesting new designs and practical advancements that we’ve seen in years. In fact, some have argued we’ve entered a new renaissance era for the PC, with key chip advancements, new types of co-processors, a new version of Windows and more enabling some very compelling new designs.

Converging Trend Synergies

Another interesting big picture trend is the combination of what many original saw as individual tech developments—like the aforementioned 5G, AI and cloud computing—into new types of solutions. The concept of edge computing and distributed computing applications, for example, essentially mix these three technologies together in a way that’s enabling entirely new types of applications. Leveraging sensors, low-power computing devices (including FPGAs), AI-powered neural network inference models and high-speed connectivity, many organizations are currently working to create new types of enterprise and even consumer applications. Exactly what form these will turn out be is still being figured out as we go, but applications like smart home appliances, industrial IoT, connected manufacturing and more are all expected to benefit from these new types of combinations.

In fact, if there’s a way to sum up what we can expect in 2022, it would be that a number of core technologies that we’ve been following individually in the past are maturing and evolving into key ingredients in larger technological solutions recipes. Whether it’s in traditional product categories like PCs and cars, or entirely new areas like personal robotics and 5G networks, the ability to bring more intelligence into these areas is something that will be a key focus in the tech world of 2022.

Bob O’Donnell is the president and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, LLC a market research firm that provides strategic consulting and market research services to the technology industry and professional financial community. You can follow him on Twitter @bobodtech.