It's hard to believe that we're already more than halfway through February and that the year is already flying by. But with a new year comes new opportunities, and in the tech world, there are plenty of exciting things on the horizon. Here are our top 5 technology trends to watch for in 2022 and beyond!
Before we begin though, I want to share a trend that isn't talked about as widely but it is absolutely essential to virtually every trend that we've listed below. Cox has been a great partner and they are the sponsor of this post. However, during the pandemic they also worked hard to continue upgrading their network and keeping our internet and cable TV services working great. Additionally, they committed to helping resolve the "Digital Equity Divide" by helping to make internet more affordable and of a higher-quality in neighborhoods where that hasn't traditionally been a focus by our society.
This includes things like the Cox Connect2Compete package starting at only $9.95 per month for qualified families with k-12 students at home.
Change won't happen overnight, but my hope is that by enabling more people to connect to a virtually unlimited library of information and opportunity that we'll enable more of the best and brightest people in our country to rise beyond the barriers that once held them back.
2022 is shaping up to be a year unlike any other in recent history. Many things were placed on pause during the past few years and while we still struggle with a chip shortage, new technology trends are emerging that will shape our future based on how Americans have adapted to the pandemic lifestyle patterns. Let's take a look at five of these trends and how it will affect you this year.
The Metaverse Is Already Here
Perhaps the biggest buzz-word that we're hearing this year is "The Metaverse" but it's already here ... people just don't call it that yet and it won't exist the way we saw it presented in Ready Player One for a very long while.
Instead, this year we're going to see advances in things like collaborative work sessions conducted through Microsoft Teams as well as more games like Riders Republic where you can play with people on different styles of games within one universe. This really isn't new to anyone like myself who has been playing MMO games since the 90's but as consolidation of game studios continues to transpire I bet we're going to see more interoperability between franchises.
For instance, when you combine Microsoft's Game Pass and their absolutely massive library of first-party games then it wouldn't be surprising to start seeing portals between applications so you can go racing in Forza with a co-worker after working together to iron out plans for the Q3 budget in Teams.
TVs Are Going Bigger And Better
For the past few years, TVs and laptops seemed to be stagnating but at CES we saw some of the biggest and most exciting TVs and laptops that we've seen in years.
For instance, TCL unveiled a 98" Roku-powered smart screen while LG introduced a 97" OLED TV and Samsung showed off The Freestyle TV projection system generating a 100" image, 360 degree surround sound and only a $899 price tag.
Over on the laptop side, we saw major innovations with multiple screens, longer battery life, and improved security.
I can't help but think that maybe spending the past two years inside and working from kitchen tables made the designers re-think the stagnation we'd had with feature in these two sectors!
Second-Hand Graphics Cards May Be Cheap And Easy To Find
Anyone who loves playing games on a PC has noticed how darn expensive 3D graphics cards have become in recent years. While there's no end in sight for the top end of the market to become cheaper ... there will be a significant market by mid-year for crypto-mining folks who will be dumping their hardware. Various trends including a desire to be more sustainable are working against these giant crypto mining operations. For instance, Sweden and Hungary are pushing to ban the practice since it is so energy intensive.
In concrete terms, right now Bitcoin mining consumes more than 90 terawatt-hours of electricity - approximately 0.5% of the entire world's electricity usage or enough to power the nation of Finland's 5.5 million people!
So, if you are a smart shopper, you may be able to find cheap graphics cards on Ebay as well as generally we will see fewer demand spikes that drive the new prices well above MSRP.
5G May Actually Start To Be Useful
We've been talking about 5G for a few years now but I think 2022 might just be the year we start seeing practical applications. I won't lie to you ... I usually turn my 5G modem off and fall back to 4G LTE on my phone unless I'm in a perfect area doing something that requires a super fast connection.
In 2022, we will see more towers enabling a more robust level of service, in parallel with 5G being a standard speed available on most mid-tier and many value market phones. Possibly even more importantly we'll start to see a wave of 5G modems integrated into virtually every device you can imagine.
This will help transform the 5G conversation from a matter of handheld computing and into one where your car is always connected and so is everything around you from streetlights to highway traffic lanes. This will also enable a swarm of drones and service robots to operate efficiently and finally become practical.
On the consumer side, 5G will also allow us to take advantage of things we've enjoyed in our homes through innovations like Cox Gigablast and Panoramic WiFi internet so that we can stream games to any device, regardless of it's raw processing power. This will allow for is to continue our favorite games even while traveling as well as join in VR and Augmented Reality meetings without being tied to your desk.
Power Storage Breakthroughs Will Define 2022
While batteries aren't sexy, aside from chips, they are among the most essential components that power everything from your phone and laptop to that new EV you are thinking about buying. Unfortunately, battery technology has seemingly failed to progress as quickly as other tech has over the past few decades. That's about to change in two different ways this year and with luck ... they will come together to produce a power storage revolution in the coming decade.
The first advance is that Sodium Ion batteries are beginning to come to the market. Initially they will only be seen in large forms like BLUETTI's power stations and the overall market share will be low. However, as the technology continues to improve, this lower cost to manufacture, better for the environment solution will ultimately become more common. Unfortunately, they currently have a lower energy density compared to the Lithium Ion batteries found in everything from cars to phones.
The second advance is that Lithium Ion batteries are rapidly improving in all areas ... including safety. This means that we will continue to see fewer stories of exploding phones and EVs that catch on fire.
Long term, the hope is that we can combine these advances. Sodium Ion is a superior long term solution and R&D being done on Lithium Ion technology will ultimately help advance that technology too. Together, we will hopefully be talking about longer lasting, safer, more sustainably produced batteries that enable future renewable energy production to be practical.