2022 Tech Trends These Leaders Are Watching

Numerous local initiatives promise major industry developments.
Written by Remy Merritt
December 1, 2021Updated: December 8, 2021

In any industry, remaining relevant requires fluency in emerging trends. This is particularly salient when it comes to tech, where constant improvements to efficiency and accuracy keep companies in a race for the greatest competitive advantage.

The meaning of “efficiency” and “accuracy” has changed considerably from the early days of machine learning, AI and other foundational tech tools. With so much focus on their evolution, those tools (and their progeny, like intelligent process automation) continue to promise developments that can impact industries across the speed spectrum, from notoriously backlogged healthcare to agile consumer analytics. 

Ron Kim, SVP and chief technology officer at Merck, is one healthcare leader watching the intersection of automation and AI. One of his visions for the future involves using computer vision and pattern recognition capabilities to “review early experiment results and predict their outcomes, before experiments actually complete.”

Greater efficiency has the potential to hone in on the most promising new treatments, helping healthcare shed excess costs and save time in bringing groundbreaking therapies to patients.

With so much potential on the horizon, and numerous initiatives to follow, we met with 12 industry leaders immersed in tech trends to hear what’s caught their attention. Each shared a key tech movement they’ll be watching, and how they see that trend impacting their industry in 2022 and beyond.

 

 

What’s one tech trend you’ll be watching closely in 2022?

Efficient computing. System-on-a-chip architecture is bending some of the nanometer limits of Moore’s law. The value is faster personal computing with lower energy consumption. There’s also a growing emphasis on website speed and how that impacts the user experience. Modern websites have feature-rich UIs thanks to single-page app frameworks; however, these frameworks have inadvertently introduced more overhead and the consumer experience can suffer as a result. Now there are emerging lightweight front-end tools (Svelte, Marko, Next.jk, Qwik) that focus on a performant web experience. This will be a big motivator for the industry.

What impact do you think this trend will have on your industry in particular? 

Running an ML model utilizes all of the computer’s resources. The benefits of running these models on personal computers rather than the cloud are faster results, privacy and local model optimization and training for your specific problem. In property management, you want to know: does the water heater need repair? Has there been a leak or water damage from a rainstorm? In construction, you may want to assess safety compliance and quality control on the job site. In real estate, this can mean real-time home inspections, assessments and valuations. Efficient computing enables on-site personnel to execute more logic on their local device and process physical inputs in real time. This augments their decision making, cuts down transcription and enhances on-site collaboration. 

Orchard offers straightforward and convenient services to simplify the process of buying and selling a home.


 

Yan Liang
SVP of Product

What’s one tech trend you’ll be watching closely in 2022?

I’m keeping an eye on the adoption of intelligent process automation (IPA), which is a combination of artificial intelligence, data, hardware and software technology. IPA is appealing to companies of all sizes because it eliminates manual repetitive tasks, increases productivity and improves operational efficiency. Imagine the impact on workflow if we could omit 30 to 40 percent of routine tasks!

What impact do you think this trend will have on your industry in particular?

As demand continues for mass customization, we will see more mainstream adoption of this technology and the overall need for software that completely automates the 3D printing process from design to production. We can easily identify use cases in supplier sourcing, inventory management, order management, manufacturing execution, order fulfillment and delivery.

Shapeways’ global manufacturing platform offers customers access to manufacturers from start to finish, through automation, innovation and digitization.

 

 

What’s one tech trend you’ll be watching closely in 2022?

I am monitoring the emergence of digital tools and solutions to facilitate remote work. We are seeing massive changes in how people collaborate, communicate, share knowledge and build relationships within location-less organizations. As a result, there has been a proliferation of solutions to address these new challenges and opportunities.

What impact do you think this trend will have on your industry in particular?

I believe that the companies that adopt these new tools will have a competitive advantage in both productivity (by being more effective remotely) and team culture (by creating a work environment where people can truly connect to one another). In the coming years, I’m looking forward to seeing how we can scale our fully remote team with new solutions that emerge.

Axle provides freight brokers with software to help simplify back-office processes like carrier payments and working capital management.

 

 

What’s one tech trend you’ll be watching closely in 2022?

Causal AI. For the first time in about a century of statistics, there have actually been some meaningful advances in how causal relationships can be discovered by machines. I think the implications across the industry are huge, but people are only at the really early stages of applying the new approaches to organizational and social problems.

How do you plan to apply this technology to your work in 2022 (or beyond)?

We’re building a data platform where the structure at all stages is optimized around proving causality, starting with consumer opinion. As the sophistication of the modeling and computing increases, you start to discern more and more subtle causes, giving greater insight into how to move the metrics that matter most. We’re learning what attitudes and behaviors are at the root of resistance to accepting facts on, for example, public health and climate change. And in marketing, we’re learning how more sophisticated segmentation can unlock more powerful campaign ideas and greater increases in demand.

Swayable is a research technology platform built to provide science-based consumer insights in as little as 24 hours.

 

 

What’s one tech trend you’​​​​​​​ll be watching closely in 2022?

We will be watching and doing our part in advancing the impact of no-code tools and platforms. The next revolution of no-code will give technical users leverage to make their jobs faster, less tedious and more reliable. The critical point to look out for when spotting leaders and laggards in the space will be the level of accessibility and performance the platform provides in its robustness, user skills required and price.

What impact do you think this trend will have on your industry in particular? 

New startups will be able to bring novel, disruptive technologies to market more quickly, without worrying about bugs ruining their reputation or the costs associated with deploying huge development teams to do tedious work. More dominant tech leaders will be able to reallocate the resources used on testing to deliver highly-impactful innovations globally.

Waldo is the world’s first no-code testing platform, helping teams ship mobile apps faster with fewer bugs.

 

 

Gerald Mui
VP of Data Engineering

What’​​​​​​​s one tech trend you’​​​​​​​ll be watching closely in 2022?

AI automation. With momentum building over the last few years, we expect this growth to accelerate in 2022. Adtech has made a lot of exciting progress in automation, most notably with programmatic marketplaces including demand side platforms, supply side platforms and ad servers. Thanks to a plethora of automated tools now available, more engineers can also develop AI solutions without needing a deep background in AI. This trend will continue in 2022, helping many different companies in the adtech value chain to process, enrich and validate larger volumes of data at scale never seen before.

How do you plan to apply this technology to your work in 2022 (or beyond)?

IAS has made significant strides in AI automation, and we see more opportunities ahead! We build, test deploy, and monitor in production hundreds of machine learning models — the core of AI. We constantly refine and develop our infrastructure to support new tools; for example, adding automatic capabilities to explain why models make the predictions they make. These AI automation enhancements ensure that we capitalize on the latest AI opportunities, increase our global scale and become even more proactive with our customers’ data needs.

Integral Ad Science provides digital ad verification, ensuring that ads are viewable by real people in safe and suitable environments.

 

 

Duoc Nguyen
Director of Engineering

What’​​​​​​​s one tech trend you’​​​​​​​ll be watching closely in 2022?

The next step in cloud computing is to democratize the creation of applications and experiences that run at global scale. Having spent nearly two decades building consumer and entertainment products, it’s been amazing to see how technology over those years has evolved to make it easier for creators to bring their ideas to market. Cloud services have made it accessible to developers — but even with all the advancement and innovation, building global-ready, scalable experiences still requires significant resources and expertise. 

How do you plan to apply this technology to your work in 2022 (or beyond)?

We believe that we should enable creators and innovators to focus on bringing their ideas to life without worrying about their database. This year, we launched a beta version of CockroachDB Serverless and plan to continue working in the next year to make it even more powerful and developer-friendly.

Cockroach Labs is the creator of CockroachDB, a cloud-native distributed SQL database.

 

 

Ron Kim
SVP & Chief Technology Officer

What’​​​​​​​s one tech trend you’​​​​​​​ll be watching closely in 2022?

The continued intersection of automation and AI. Automation is nothing new, and exists today at numerous companies. But in many cases it is focused on bots performing simple or repetitive tasks. Embedding AI into the equation can produce bots that can make cognitive-like decisions at scale. Instead of bots simply replacing repetitive human labor, we can now move to a whole new level of automation capabilities. Doing this at a massive scale can be a game changer, opening up possibilities that previously were unfathomable.

What impact do you think this trend will have on your industry in particular?

Applying AI-powered bots to review, process and make recommendations on massive data sets could help in identifying high-potential therapies. Pharmacovigilance and case intake could benefit from bots to drive greater efficiency and accuracy. Bots with computer vision and pattern recognition capabilities could review early experiment results and predict their outcomes, before experiments actually complete. The marriage of AI and automation will give our industry technological capabilities with unprecedented possibilities going forward.

Merck is a global biopharmaceutical company that has been inventing medicines and vaccines for more than a century.

 

 

Joe Henriques
President, US

What’​​​​​​​s one tech trend you’​​​​​​​ll be watching closely in 2022?

I’m watching how companies are capturing a holistic view of their customers by leveraging multiple consumer experiences, insights and data points. Organizations that not only acknowledge, but fully embrace, the shifts in how consumers interact with their brands will be our new leaders in the coming years. However, relying solely on existing customer data is not enough. Brands also need to look at new and robust insights that come directly from the hearts and minds of customers. More specifically, companies need to prioritize technology-driven market research with their historical and digital data to optimize their consumer’s total experience.

What impact do you think this trend will have on your industry in particular? 

A shift toward “total experience” will bring vast increases in the importance of consumer insights teams and the market research field in general. Robust consumer insights will become table stakes to support strategic business decisions and sustainable growth. The biggest impact of “total experience” is that consumers will no longer be marketed and catered to based on their digital and purchasing pasts alone. Through tech-driven research, their voices are heard and they’ll become driving forces of brand strategies. 

quantilope is an end-to-end Agile Insights platform that proves automated consumer research.

 

Janet Mak
Deputy CIO & VP Digital Solutions DigITs - Technology Division

What’​​​​​​​s one tech trend you’​​​​​​​ll be watching closely in 2022?

Artificial intelligence and its practical application in healthcare.

What impact do you think this trend will have on your industry in particular? 

I find three particular areas most interesting: ambient clinical intelligence solutions, deep learning models and reducing administrative burdens. Ambient clinical intelligence can free our physicians to spend less time documenting and more time with patients, improving patient experience and reducing physician burnout. Deep learning models that can analyze digital images and develop algorithms would support research and clinical decision-making. With those algorithms, we can reduce the time to find cures and provide more precise diagnosis and treatment. And finally, reducing administrative burden can yield great efficiency. Vast regulatory and compliance requirements in healthcare place significant operational overhead that can be reduced by intelligent solutions. These solutions have already made an impact in this space, and I hope will continue to do so. 

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is driving new ideas, testing and development of digital products to support patients, researchers, researchers and clinicians.

 

 

Dylan Drop
Director of Engineering

What’​​​​​​​s one tech trend you’​​​​​​​ll be watching closely in 2022?

Responsible use of machine learning. Consumers’ trust is more tenuous now than ever before. Applications that use machine learning are complex and not necessarily well understood by consumers. When you add in the fact that machine learning can have deep practical consequences, users start to lose trust for how technology companies are using this data, perhaps at some point leading them to see the flaws as outweighing their benefits in creating optimal user experiences. The industry as a whole will need to be more delicate in weighing the human component and practical outcomes in order to maintain customer trust.

How do you plan to apply this technology to your work in 2022 (or beyond)?

Some of the problems we work on include personalized app experiences and experiments across diner populations. In all of these interesting domains, we have a duty to leverage data in ways that keep integrity and user trust top of mind. For example, it should implement personalization that is accurate but not invasive, and recommendations that provide the user with genuine value. We want to use machine learning responsibly so as to keep our users’ trust rather than simply optimizing for business metrics.

Grubhub’s platform connects more than 33 million diners with the food they love from local restaurants.

 

 

Hong Jin
Chief Science Officer

What’​​​​​​​s one tech trend you’​​​​​​​ll be watching closely in 2022?

Machine learning, deep learning and AI have changed data landscapes across industries. Their applications in analytics are mixed, particularly when looking at marketing analytics, which is one area in which we do a lot of work for clients. On one hand, ML is heavily utilized and quickly spreads through operational marketing analytics. On the other hand, its adoption is relatively slow in insights and decisioning where business interpretation is a necessity. In addition, although DL is mostly popular for computer vision and natural language understanding, some technologies and common practices in DL are quite inspiring and useful for common marketing analytic tasks.

How do you plan to apply this technology to your work in 2022 (or beyond)?

We are focusing on model interpretation and transferring learning into applications. Many analytics tasks are done at granular levels, which include numerous variables that can significantly reduce efficiency. The learned neural network embeddings from similar marketing analytic tasks can be used as input with semantic info to various supervised marketing analytics tasks, such as commercial mix analytics and customer-based analysis. In addition, these can be applied to A/B testing, test/control group selection, planning optimization, etc. Transfer learnings leveraged through neural network embeddings builds our knowledge center, even ones with limited data.

Analytic Partners uses data science and high-touch consulting to provide adaptive solutions for better business decisions.

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