Here we are in a bright and shiny new year. Let’s see what this one might bring.
– I’m going to start with Virtual Reality. Last year was slow and incremental until near the end. Facebook announced Meta and that seemed to enliven venture capitalists and current VR makers, and triggered a renewed vigour in the market. The term metaverse tripped off the tongue and almost unnoticed we saw the emergence of the Chinese company IQiYi. They came out with software and their Adventure 3 VR products that looked very, very similar to the Quest 2, even with the naming. Their pricing is closer to US$500 (16,600 baht) making it lower than the Quest 2 but it is only available in China for the moment. They have another model that sits at a very low $250. Their advertising and sales pitch is nearly identical to the Facebook announcement. This will be something to watch through 2022.
– As the world emerges from lockdowns and the the inability to physically cross borders, 2022 will undergo a reawakening. If it is allowed to, Covid will vanish this year and soon. If the vaccine craze continues, this may force a new escaped mutation that could be much more damaging, fingers crossed. With Covid gone, travel will return, investments will increase and the IT industry will recover. This will see the chip shortages vanish and by the end of the year things will be back to normal.
– There will still be push for a move towards better artificial intelligence, but I see this as an incremental process with no self-aware devices on the horizon. This may be the year that 3D printers become more widely available and appear in more homes. Same as usual for battery technology. The push from graphene did not arrive as expected, perhaps this year will be better. Slightly bigger, better and cheaper screens with everything else getting a bit more capacity. The 2TB flash drives will be the new normal but I see less and less people bothering with hard technology, favouring cloud storage and facilities like Dropbox instead.
– This is also the year where people start to look more closely at implants and interfaces like Elon Musk’s Neuralink. I expect more than a few will have this in their heads before the end of the year and other manufacturers will get involved. I would be wary of any Chinese options… just saying.
– Cryptocurrency will make a big leap forward this year. Not so much in the personal investment market but more with countries implementing electronic currency options that will eventually allow them to control the flow of money within their borders. It will be some years before this becomes widespread, but look to see more countries floating the idea to their people and banking systems. I would also be wary that some countries will have backdoors into such implementations as they will be the sole controller of the technology. A cryptocurrency like Ethereum works because it is based on a wider, cross-country audience and has an agreed set of rules on how it works. Expecting a country not to have full control over their own versions is at best naive.
– Smartphones will continue to arrive throughout the year with the usual hopscotch by the big players like Huawei, Samsung and Apple. Apart from exotic options like those proposed for the Elon Musk Pi phone concept, I don’t know what else they can add to the current feature set. Slightly better lenses and photo processing. Sure. More memory and better battery life due to components requiring less power. Of course. Better screen, lighter weight and interface updates are guaranteed. Some mind-blowing new features would be great but I’m not expecting anything. I’m wondering if, like in some smartwatches, a model or two will take blood pressure.
– I do expect the business world to rearrange itself where the new normal is people working sometimes from home, sometimes from the office. Some of this will depend on the culture of both the country and organisation but it will impact on the need for office space.
– I expect manufacturers to add more robotic lines to their chains. Having been shown that people can be taken out of the equation without warning, some will want to remove or mitigate that risk as much as possible. Marketers will continue to push the concept of big data but organisations in general will still not really know what it all means, let alone how to implement it properly. It will still be the year of the cloud but I think there will be a major hack this year that will temper this mad rush offsite. The Internet of Things, or IoT, will remain a mishmash of components that don’t work well together and are subject to security problems because there are too many individual interests in the mix. I do expect the social media giants to finally start to break up in some way as alternatives like Rumble, a site popular with US conservatives, rise in popularity.
– Wishing all my readers a happy and healthy 2022.