Five groundbreaking technology trends in 2022

Focus on metaverse, mental health and enterprise AI
02 February 2022
VR headset

The overriding trends of sustainability and digitalisation are like to last well into the 2030s.  And topics such as AI, cloud services, 5G and automation will remain important drivers of innovation, according to Nick Sohnemann, CEO of Future Candy in Hamburg. Five new technology trends are expected to make waves in 2022. The following is a brief overview.

1. Metaverse

The metaverse phenomenon has been on people's lips ever since Facebook renamed itself Meta last year. But what exactly is metaverse? Although there is no standard definition, it is essentially a virtual reality space in which users and businesses interact with a computer-generated environment as avatars using AR and VR equipment. The rules of the game have yet to be defined, according to Sohnemann, and expressed hope that metaverse will become a "one-stop shop for everyone" rather than something in the domain of individual companies. Meta, for instance, sees the "3D internet" mainly as a VR community. Snapchat (Snap Inc.), on the other hand, has already developed everyday augmented reality headsets for metaverse.

2. Mental health 

Although wearables such as smart watches are common, the focus is now turning to mental health driven by the pandemic and its repercussions. Mental health is a "big growth market with different target groups," said Sohnemann. New apps and sensors can uncover depressive behaviour patterns or early signs of Alzheimer's. Mattresses that track a person's pulse, breathing and sleep phases use integrated sensors and AI to automatically adjust firmness, temperature  to improve sleep are now on the market. Biowearables will soon be able to track data such as lactate or glucose levels to enable an even more detailed, personal health analysis.

Ameca robot
© Engineered Arts Limited

3. Next generation robots

Given the backdrop of COVID-19, spending on technology in the home has "increased enormously,"  Sohnemann pointed out. Now that app-controlled washing machines, smart refrigerators and vacuum cleaner robots have become everyday, the next generation of household robots is just around the corner and literally on wheels and with arms to offer all kinds of support, according to the manufacturers. The British company "Engineered Arts" presented a humanoid robot named "Ameca" at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in early January. Thanks to AI, "Ameca" can hold conversations, gesture and show facial expressions.

4. Sustainable technology 

Climate change remains one of the most pressing challenges in the 21st century. Several technology companies are vying with each to render the production, use and lifetime of their products as "green" as possible. More than 215 companies from 25 industries in over 20 countries have already joined "The Climate Pledge", initiative launched by Amazon, among others. They are on a mission to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement ten years earlier than planned and to become CO2 neutral by 2040. Jungheinrich AG, for instance, an intralogistics company headquartered in Hamburg, joined the movement last November.

5. Enterprise AI

The world of B2C technology is way ahead of B2B. Many employees have better hardware at home than in the office. AI by Google or Apple sorts snapshots or analyses of physical activities effortlessly on mobile phones. Such technological features are likely to gain momentum in the B2B sector this year, Sohnemann predicted. The norm will see devices from machines to company cars connected to a 5G network and a cloud. The data will then appear on a so-called business intelligence (BI) dashboard.