Nobody could have predicted what happened to the working world in 2020. Industries of all kinds saw years’ worth of digital transformation happen in just a few short months as businesses adapted to the challenges of remote working in a locked-down world. 2021 was very much about adjusting to that new normal and adapting on an ongoing basis as restrictions stabilised and lockdowns lifted.

But as vaccines become commonplace and the world adjusts to life post-pandemic, things have finally reached a point where we can all start to look forward.

Here are what we anticipate will be the biggest tech trends to watch for in 2022.

1. New systems enabling collaborative hybrid working

Our first big digital trend to watch in 2022 will help with the ongoing adjustment to the hybrid way of working that most companies adopted during the pandemic.

In a survey conducted for Info-Tech Research Group’s Tech Trends Report 2022, almost half (47%) of respondents said they expected significant change in their business post-pandemic, while 13% expected a wholesale transformation of the way their business operated. Notably, these percentages were vastly more than the previous year’s survey – which registered 13% and 10% respectively. In other words, the expectation for digital growth has grown significantly – and 60% of workers hope to see a major, if not entirely groundbreaking, way of working from their employers moving forwards.

The big focus here is collaboration. Up until now, remote working has been somewhat obligatory – but how effective has it really been? In 2022, we expect to see IT teams called on to innovate and create solutions that let people talk, brainstorm, create, manage workflows and handle projects with increasing sophistication. The tools we use today may be the basis for the future, but they will not be the tools of the future.

2. Sharp spikes in security threats and solutions

Along with a need for increasingly sophisticated software, businesses are likely to encounter more malicious threats to their networks than ever before in 2022.

Ransomware, in particular, has become a severe problem, with 62% of professionals now more concerned about falling victim to a ransomware attack than this time last year. Companies would do well this year to develop more robust security strategies to combat it, including ones that more rigorously limit access to their digital assets and confidential data.

One potential answer to the problem of defending your business against ransomware is using artificial intelligence that can learn about your system’s environment and then detect anomalies thrown up by an attempted hack. However, AI is also a tool available to hackers – making getting ahead of the curve especially important if you want your business to stay secure.

3. Technology facilitating businesses going green

In June 2019 the UK became the first government in the world to pass a net-zero emissions law. That means that by 2050, all of the carbon dioxide emissions produced in the UK will be balanced out by measures to absorb it from the atmosphere. Yet while 2050 may sound rather far away, a 2018 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) advises that worldwide emissions need to be reduced by 50% by 2030 to hit the 100% reduction deadline twenty years later.

That’s why businesses going green is one of our five big digital trends to watch in 2022.

In particular, we expect Internet of Things (IoT) enabled technologies to come to the fore, being used to monitor greenhouse gas emissions. This will not only give businesses a better understanding of where they are compared to their own emission reduction targets, but it will also be auditable by a third party and usable as proof that the business is complying with government mandates around reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

4. The emergence of blockchain as a mainstream technology

Our penultimate big emerging digital trend for 2022 will see the explosion of blockchain as a popular consumer and business technology.

Blockchain is a highly secure decentralised technology initially designed as a public ledger to support the bitcoin cryptocurrency and harnessed by other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum. However, in 2021 it became renowned for the use of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) to sell digital artwork and media content.

Unlike traditional digital media, NFTs are unique and numbered. You may copy the contents of an NFT, but the original is still the original – much like making a print copy of the Mona Lisa doesn’t replace the real thing. That makes NFTs an incredible way for artists of all kinds to take ownership of their work, and for brands to create a unique marketing buzz around specific products and services – something that some of the planet’s biggest brands are already taking advantage of.

For businesses, Enterprise NFTs can be used to track assets, verify ownership and manage business-critical data. Alongside the promise of Bitcoin becoming legal tender (which has already happened in El Salvador and looks set to occur in at least three other countries this year), becoming blockchain-ready in 2022 will help future-proof businesses of all kinds.

5. An increase in API-led automation

One interesting side effect of the pandemic was an explosion in the popularity of Application programming interfaces (APIs) to automate – and in many cases entirely reinvent – business processes.

APIs allow programmers to simplify how they create programs and enable companies to speed up innovation. That makes these companies more competitive in their marketplace and allows them to get the edge on competitors with new products and services, or fresh, more efficient ways of working.

For context, in 2016, Forbes estimates American companies invested $500,000 in API companies. In 2021, that investment was over $2 billion.

One of the biggest tech trends to watch for in 2022 will be this investment increasing, as businesses leverage APIs to connect their systems. For some, that might necessitate investing in new digital platforms which can help those businesses create entirely new services – including the ability to leverage the benefits of AI mentioned above.

Helping you adapt to the technologies of the future

As our list of big emerging digital trends for 2022 shows, this will be an exciting year for businesses looking to transform their operations and safeguard their companies for the future.

Of course, that transition is never easy – which is why picking the right technology partner is essential. Whichever area of digital you want to grow in, having an experienced and knowledgeable team behind you can help you make the change faster, more efficiently, and with fewer fundamental difficulties along the way.

At DCSL GuideSmiths, we have decades of experience helping businesses adopt exciting new technologies to push their operations forward.

To find out how we could help your organisation transform in 2022, get in touch today.