Here is a speculative technology reflection for mid-2022 and predictions for the next 6 months:
Looking back, these three macro tech themes defined the last six months for me:
1. The crypto winter:
As pessimists expected for the whole 24 months, and optimists hoped would come later, crypto entered an icy winter - prices crashed, NFT sales chilled, and projects shuttered. But I would say that some resilient foundations remain for blockchain's continued, albeit slower, spread.
The truth is, we'll see about that; because my feeling is that prices and volumes are still going down and crypto natives still don't get the idea of a pleasant UX/UI experience, not to mention that there still seem to be no new useful real-world use-case -> more beating probably coming.
2. Recession-proof tech:
Despite the market turmoil, the biggest tech giants continued posting record profits as demand proved stickier than expected. On top of that, easy money funding for startups dried up quickly, forcing prudent spending.
Not good for the state of innovation economy.
3. Remote work reset:
Many hybrid models struggled to get the right employee mix of virtual vs. in-office. After two years of WFH, we all realized some roles thrive better onsite. This also depends a lot on each individual's situation and dispositions. I'd say introverts thrive in WHF, unless they live in 2 rooms with 3 kids, while extroverts suffer.
Anyway, I repeat myself here but expect more targeted hybrid working approaches. No one got it right just yet and location-based pay adjustments are not helping.
The next six months I believe, will see:
1. Virtual collaboration surge:
As business travel remains limited, VR/AR technologies will be deployed rapidly for immersive group workspaces and replicated real-world meeting dynamics. There are a lot of VR/AR companies that re-focused on B2B when they could not find B2C use-cases and they could help make this dream a reality.
Truth to be told, there's no big player I can see now with something usable unless Apple comes out of hiding with their Apple Glasses 😉 but it's about the time this happened. Not in ugly Decentraland style but a smooth Second-Life-like experience.
2. Robotics rollouts:
I believe the time has come to automate essential services and jobs amidst labor shortages, the rollouts of robots and drones shall accelerate across industries like delivery, cleaning, warehouse operations, and elder care.
Again, this is one of the areas we hoped for back in 2015 when I was in MSD/Merck&Co. and here we are again.
3. Biotech boom:
Major breakthroughs in synthetic biology, gene editing, and drug discovery with artificial intelligence will inspire a wave of new startups targeting pressing health challenges.
This area is tough, like education. The tech is there but people and regulations make it difficult to prove anything new as working. We'll have to hope an see!
While caution lingers in the broader economy, technology continues steadily marching forward. Necessity drives innovation, often during the hardest times. The groundwork for the next computing platforms and startups has been laid over the past few years. Their time to shine is imminent.