Now that 2022 has arrived, everyone is holding breath with anticipation. Is the year going to be kind – bringing relief from the darkness of the past 2 years and prosperity – or will it be more of the same? Just five days into the new year, everyone is a little apprehensive about what might be in store – but there’s one thing we can be sure of: technology is at the center of our lives and that isn’t changing any time soon. With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the technology we expect will be at the center of our lives increasingly through 2022.
Integrated Health Technology
The New York Times recently released their tech predictions for 2022, and the theme was evident: tech is going to invade our lives even more this year than it already has. From health tech driving wellness to more integrated homes and virtual reality hangouts, 2022 is going to be the year our tech-weary society gives in an just embraces our advancement to the digital age.
Taking a look at the technology that will drive that change, first we’re going to look at health technology. By now, everyone has heard of the digital passports that allow you to show your COVID vaccination status, but health tech is becoming even more prevalent than that. Biometric data collected from a variety of health tech devices is becoming the gold standard by which doctors measure our health. Instead of just taking a snapshot of our health when we walk into their offices – often when we’re stressed, or already sick, or forgetting one of the million questions we intended to ask – using devices that track our data over time while in the comfort of our own daily lives gives a far more complete picture.
That racing heart and raised blood pressure that always presents at the doctor’s office – that might just be “White Coat Anxiety.” If it never presents at home, it could help you avoid unnecessary medication. If you always notice you feel ill after a certain activity – realtime tracking data that your doctor monitors could give you answers.
The Washington Post explains, “Clinicians are already starting to use individual biometric data — data from our bodies — to prevent, diagnose and treat health problems. With more health wearables measuring our hearts, lungs, sleep, steps, calories and even sweat, we’ll start doing the same at home. In 2022, you may use a ring on your finger to see how regular cardio exercise affects your sleep, or a bracelet to monitor your blood pressure.”
Health tech comes with a variety of hurdles though, including getting FDA approval, proving efficacy, and finding a way to comply with HIPAA laws – but they’re more and more prevalent as the years pass.
Smart Home Convenience
Do you want to lie back in bed and control your entire house from the palm of your hand? That future has pretty much arrived. Luckily it’s less Ray Bradbury’s, “There Will Come Soft Rains,” and more, “Star Trek Holodeck,” but the Smart Home revolution has definitely arrived.
From a device in your hand – usually your phone – you can control every integrated process in the home. Temperature, lighting, blinds – you can even take a peek at the contents of your refrigerator. Unlock your door for a guest when you’re in the shower or give them their own temporary code. Vacuum or mop your floors while learning a new language in your home office. Monitor the status of your hot water heater or set the mood lighting to impress a date. It’s all here.
One problem that has faced smart home users thus far is a lack of interconnectibility. Unless you commit to a single brand, you’re going to struggle to get your devices working in harmony, and some brands are better at certain things – and worse at others. Tech companies have heard those concerns, however, so they’re working on ways to integrate their tech with other companies – or at least make it easy to collaborate.
The New York Times shares, “This year, the tech industry’s biggest rivals — Apple, Samsung, Google and Amazon — are playing nice to make the smart home more practical. They plan to release and update home technology to work with Matter, a new standard that enables smart home devices to talk to each other, regardless of the virtual assistant or phone brand. More than 100 smart home products are expected to adhere to the standard.
‘We’re all speaking a common language built on already proven technologies,’ said Samantha Osborne, a vice president of marketing for SmartThings, the home automation company owned by Samsung.”
So when you shop for home tech later this year – look for that Matter stamp.
The Metaverse is Here
The one tech future that has an air of mystery and people wondering what it could portend is The Metaverse. There’s a lot of questions about what the Metaverse will even be. For now, we know that it is likely to be an online interconnected space that combines Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) to enhance user engagement and interaction.
Instead of logging into Roblox and using your keyboard to play with friends, you can put on some VR goggles and sit in the same room as they are. Companies have already jumped on the bandwagon with big brands like Applebees and Nike looking to get their products in place in the Metaverse so when people start using the VR spaces, they’re already waiting.
People have spent more time than ever in online spaces over the past two years, and investing in NFTs (non-fungible tokens) has hit an all-time high, so there’s a good chance that people will be ready to take the leap into the dimensionalized versions of their online avatars. Sharing online virtual spaces with friends or co-workers could help people feel less alone – or it could disconnect us from the reality around us. It’s a gamble, and one investors can’t be sure people will go for. However, because of the surge in digital investing – companies are banking on the future.
The New York Times writes, “…Apple plans to unveil its version of a virtual reality headset, which will look like a pair of ski goggles and, for computing power, rely on a separate computing device that is worn elsewhere on the body. Apple declined to comment.
Google has also developed virtual reality products for years, and Microsoft has offered a virtual reality headset for businesses and government agencies.
The metaverse could still turn out to be a fad, depending on what products emerge and who buys them. Carolina Milanesi, a consumer technology analyst for the consulting firm Creative Strategies, said she worried that it could become a reflection of the privileged few who can afford to treat their digital selves.”
Privileged online space – or meeting ground of the future? Time will tell, but 2022 will certainly be a huge part in creating the shape the Metaverse will take in our lives.