The Top 10 Top 10 Predictions for 2022

Published December 16, 2021

As December comes to a close, tech pundits blow the dust off their crystal balls and share their predictions for the coming year. For my annual Top Tens I’ve repurposed other, smarter folks’ insights since 2012—and since you all seem to find these roundups useful, let’s do it again! Full transparency: some on the list this year don’t have a full ten predictions on their list, but are interesting, nonetheless. So, here’s my annual curated Top 10 predictions, this time for 2022…

Predictions 2022: This Is A Year To Be Bold – According to Forrester’s SVP, Research Sharyn Leaver, digital transformation can’t happen fast enough, and organizations need to make bold decisions. Why? Because consumers have much higher expectations after two disruptive years of digital living via online classes, religious services, food delivery, and other formerly in-person activities. Forty-four percent upgraded their in-home tech and 80% now envision an all-digital world. You’ll need to be bold creatively too. Emerging human-centered technologies enable innovation from within, but accessibility and privacy are critical. Approximately 10% of the workforce will stay fully remote, 30% will trek into the office again, and 60% will be hybrid. However, a third of organizations will fail on their first attempt at “working anywhere” initiatives.

You’ll Be Breaking Up with Bad Customers — and 9 Other Predictions for 2022 and Beyond – Continuing the ‘Be Bold’ theme, Gartner suggests breaking up with customers who aren’t a good fit for what you offer. Trying to appease them can be emotionally and financially draining. Focus instead on human-centeredness, resilience, and going beyond expectations. They also predict that Africa will be the next hot startup hub; that a cyberattack will lead to a declared physical attack; and that they’ll be mining our brain data. Speaking of which, AI-generated synthetic data can be a proxy for real data, potentially reducing compliance concerns and enabling greater precision with customer insights. More people will resist becoming “the product” by actively trying to devalue and manipulate data being collected about them, using VPNs, false information or opting out of data collection altogether. Both Forbes and InformationWeek also covered this story if you want to read their takes.

9 Key Security Threats that Organizations will Face in 2022 – TechRepublic pulls from a Check Point report looking at security challenges for next year; and if you thought the SolarWinds supply chain attack was a fluke, think again. Attackers will continue to plague other-party providers until governments step in with regulation to better protect vulnerable networks. Breaches will scale up, and the cyber ‘cold war’ will become hot as more nation-states and criminal gangs try to destabilize rival entities. Expect more misinformation and propaganda—especially on social media—this coming year, along with more deepfake technology. That voice on the phone asking for an urgent money transfer might not be your boss after all! There will be more cryptocurrency attacks, particularly against crypto wallets, as attackers exploit security flaws and NFTs provide yet another vector for attacks. There will be vulnerabilities (and attacks) in microservices and, as organizations continue with remote or hybrid work styles, an increase in mobile malware attacks. Do what you can to protect your systems and recognize that you’re a target, no matter how big or small.

The Future of Cloud Computing: Cloud Nationalism in 2022 – We’re data-driven at F5, so why not look at some predictions from Analytics Insight? Cloud computing had a sizeable role in keeping businesses afloat (and even thriving) during the pandemic. The major cloud providers saw huge revenue growth and continued to innovate at a rapid rate. They predict public cloud will become more important, citing IDC data showing that enterprise cloud investment climbed 34.4% year over year, while non-cloud IT spending dropped 8%. The intelligent edge will also get a boost this coming year to handle the low latency needs of IoT, sensors, AI systems, robots, and the surge of mobile devices for remote work. Frost & Sullivan says 90% of industrial firms will utilize edge computing by this time this year or next (something we’ll have to follow up on for 2023’s list). Oh, one more thing: we’ll get training via augmented reality, so get your expense report ready for that new VR headset!

IDC FutureScape: Top 10 Predictions for the Future of Connectedness – As with many others, the pandemic plays a huge role in IDC’s prognosis. There’s a new normal of digital experiences, and it’ll be the precise, seamless delivery of data across networks that’ll fuel growth, IT systems, and cloud to the people, devices, things, and applications that create them. Robust connectivity will be an investment item in 2022. Connectedness will also shift from network support operations to business outcomes like service delivery and technology innovation. This makes sense considering that technology is part of almost everything we buy, even some items that we can’t fathom, like intelligent underwear. They predict that by 2024 wireless-first will go mainstream with organizations investing in ‘untethering’ projects. And by 2025, there will still be a few systemic service provider network outages a year, further confirming the need for service resiliency and connectivity redundancy.

Top Ten Worldwide IT Industry Predictions for 2022 and Beyond – HelpNetSecurity distills IDC’s worldwide IT industry predictions for 2022 for their list; and you guessed it, the march toward digital-first, fueled by COVID, is the top trend. More than half of the global economy will be serviced via digital delivery or by using digital tools to augment physical spaces and assets. Being able to adapt to the social, economic, and technology headwinds to accelerate the digital transformation will determine your fate in this digital era. You’ll need to keep an eye on as-a-service spending for services like security, virtual workspaces, and connectivity. Service bundles are coming and could bloat your budget. Organizations will also need to consider other technologies like 5G and blockchain, as well as how those might impact technology priorities. With privacy a hot topic, confidence in data controls will enter into the equation of public enterprise valuations. Finally, sustainability becomes more relevant as additional tools, data, and analysis make it easier to reach sustainability goals. As the world continues to experience significant climate change, I hope companies can help turn the tide for this planet…otherwise, worrying about tech debt will be the least of our problems. 

10 Cybersecurity Trends for 2021/2022: Latest Predictions You Should Know – With security lapses costing organizations billions of dollars in losses, Financesonline’s list focuses on many of the issues facing business and people alike. Cyberattacks are the fastest-growing crime, and phishing is the most common cyberattack companies face. User awareness and security training is their top tip since apparently, 97% of the people in the world cannot identify a phishing email and 1 in 25 click on that email. The alarming flipside is that is 80% of data breaches can be prevented by practicing proper cyber hygiene. Predictive security or identifying threats before attackers begin their move is also on the hot list. Every year there are so many areas to keep keen about and it seems like the list keeps growing rather than shrinking. Don’t get me wrong, I love all this technology, connectivity, and access to information, but there’s a part of me who wants to go back to rotary dial phones and the analogue life of my childhood. (The Analogue Kid is a great Rush song, btw.)

With three more to go, let’s move to a lightning round with a few specific insights:

Top 10 Digital Transformation Trends For 2022 according to Daniel Newman in Forbes – Hybrid work models continuing mean organizations are going to need technologies that enable collaboration regardless of location. This was perhaps the most common theme across prediction pieces, with new tools required to improve the quality of collaboration with the goal of making it easier to work from anywhere. He thinks there could be some regulatory anti-trust legislation for the big data collectors, and—coming to a cloud near you—everything-as-a-service. Another area of interest is upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics which will be a massive test for 5G mmWave for devices and networks.

10 Social Media Trends Marketers Should Watch in 2022 – The number one goal for social media going into 2022 is reaching new audiences. Look to increase brand awareness, foster relationships with customers to build brand loyalty, and improve customer service. It is critical to engage with your audience in a meaningful way. Focus on long and short form content along with audio chat rooms. Keep an eye on the demise of the third-party cookie since this will force social marketers to get more sophisticated. Capitalize on emerging trends by leveraging video, creating relatable content in a conversational tone, and using analytics to determine the right posting cadence for your own brand. (I know I’ll be putting these into practice for DevCentral and F5 Labs.)

And of course, 6 grim predictions Nostradamus made for 2022, which you can peruse at your leisure but suffice it to say, there could be some interesting developments according to the longtime soothsayer. Sidenote: He also predicted a major earthquake for California in 2021 that we’ve been fortunate enough to avoid so far.

…And that should just about do it. Nostradamus’ various geopolitical predictions notwithstanding, I foresee that I’ll be doing another Top 10 Top 10 next year. In the meantime, you can also explore these Outrageous Predictions for 2022 as a bonus. Overall, have fun, stay healthy, and enjoy 2022!

Interested to see if any of the previous year’s prognoses came true?