THE IMPACT OF

Tech

IN

2022

AND BEYOND

Time and time again technology rises to meet the biggest challenges of society. The innovators and technologists that bring new ideas to life serve as catalysts of positive global change. To understand key technology trends, priorities and predictions for 2022 and beyond, IEEE conducted a global study of technology leaders including chief technology officers, chief information officers and IT directors. Find out what they told us.

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  • Section 1 1/12 Which will be the most important technology in 2022?

AI and machine learning, cloud computing and 5G are the three technologies respondents were most likely to cite as the most important in 2022.

Shally Gupta headshot
Shally Gupta IEEE Graduate Student Member

“AI is working all around us. It has entered into almost every sector to enable its growth. The AI industry will continue to proliferate. In turn, it will continue to drive massive innovation that will fuel many existing industries.” Meet Shally

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  • Section 2 2/12 Which technologies did you accelerate adopting in 2021 due to the pandemic?

Technology leaders surveyed said that because of the global pandemic, in 2021 they accelerated the adoption of cloud computing, AI and machine learning, 5G and augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality (AR/VR/MR). So it’s not surprising there is overwhelming agreement that AI will drive the majority of innovation across nearly every industry sector in the next 1-5 years.

Tom Coughlin headshot
Tom Coughlin IEEE Life Fellow, IEEE Consumer Electronics Society, IEEE Communications Society, IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology, IEEE Computer Society, IEEE Magnetics Society, IEEE Robotics and Automation Society

“Cloud computing has had a huge boost due to remote work as well as accelerated trends in digital transformation.” Meet Tom

 

60% Cloud Computing
51% AI and Machine Learning
46% 5G
31% Augmented reality, Virtual reality and Mixed Reality (AR/VR/MR)
28% Blockchain
25% Teleconferencing
25% IoT
23% Robotics
18% Predictive AI
15% Edge Computing
15% Biometrics
15% Quantum computing
12% 3D Printing
38% Other

 

AI will drive the majority of innovation across nearly every industry sector in the next 1-5 years.

*Due to rounding, numbers may appear to not add up to 100%

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  • Section 3 3/12 In what ways is your company using AR or VR for business?

AR/VR/MR tech adoption accelerated in 2021 and those surveyed say it is being used in their business for data visualization and manipulation in 3D, teleportation — virtual meetings and 3D conferences, employee training and sales gamification.

Antonio Espingardeiro headshot
Antonio Espingardeiro IEEE Member, IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, IEEE Information Theory Society, IEEE Computer Society

“VR will continue to be used in training settings and simulation scenarios. The most prominent examples are in medical school where students can visualize organs and procedures. Other scenarios involve maintenance procedures. In aviation, assembling and disassembling parts is a complex task VR can serve as a kind of instruction manual.” Meet Antonio

 

63% Data visualization and manipulation in 3D
51% Teleportation – virtual meetings and 3D conferences
49% Employee training
35% Sales gamification
3% Other
11% Not using AR or VR

 

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  • Section 4 4/12 Which areas will 5G benefit the most in the next year?

When asked which areas 5G will benefit most in the next year, technology leaders said telemedicine, including remote surgery and health record transmissions, remote learning and education, personal and professional day-to-day communications and manufacturing and assembly, among others. 

Filipe Torres headshot
Filipe Torres IEEE Member, IEEE Power and Energy Society, IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society, IEEE Industrial Electronics Society, IEEE Aerospace Electronic Systems Society

“5G will allow more and more connections between people. It will allow for more accessibility, speed and reliability on the network. It will include people who don't have as much access today. It will allow better use of other technologies in parallel such as blockchain, IoT, data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. It will mainly allow us to be able to use an amount of data and processing much higher than the capacity we have today.” Meet Filipe

*Due to rounding, numbers may appear to not add up to 100%

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  • Section 5 5/12 Which industry sector will be most impacted by technology in 2022?

Technology leaders surveyed cited manufacturing, financial services, healthcare and energy as industry sectors that will be most impacted by technology in the year ahead.  As compared to the beginning of 2021, a majority of technology leaders agreed that implementing smart building technologies that benefit sustainability, decarbonization and energy savings has become a top priority for their organization. 

Paul Kostek headshot
Paul Kostek IEEE Senior Member, IEEE Aerospace & Electronics Systems Society, IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society

“Financial technology will provide more people with access to banking services and the ability to invest. Along with virtual funds like Bitcoin and Etherium, people will be able to gain greater control over their financial lives. In the energy sector, we can look forward to the continued development of green tech. Wind, solar and microgrids will provide reliable power while providing means to limit impact of climate change. In healthcare, we'll see an expansion of the use of telehealth, robotic surgery and wearables.” Meet Paul

 

As compared to the beginning of 2021, implementing smart building technologies that benefit sustainability, decarbonization and energy savings has become a top priority for my organization.

*Due to rounding, numbers may appear to not add up to 100%

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  • Section 6 6/12 How are COVID-19 and hybrid work impacting technology?

As the impact of COVID-19 varies globally and hybrid work continues, technology leaders universally agree their team is working more closely than ever before with Human Resources to implement workplace technologies and apps for office check-in, space usage data, health protocols and more. 

Jacquelyn Adams headshot
Jacquelyn Adams IEEE Senior Member, IEEE Education Society

“Workforces are looking to leadership to provide more strategic insights and clearer communications as we deal with the impact of the pandemic and lay out plans for the business future. ” Meet Jacquelyn

 

My team is working more closely than ever before with my company’s Human Resources team to implement workplace technologies and apps for office check-in, space usage data and analytics, COVID and health protocols, employee productivity, engagement and mental health.

 

Challenges technology leaders see in 2022 range from maintaining strong cybersecurity for a hybrid workforce and recruiting technologists to planning for the future and the technologies their company will need post-pandemic. 

Very challenging Somewhat challenging Only a little challenging Not challenging at all
Maintaining strong cybersecurity for a hybrid workforce — remote and in-office workers 40% 43% 15% 2%
Recruiting technologists and filling open tech positions 34% 39% 19% 8%
Managing return-to-office health and safety protocols, software, apps and data 29% 44% 22% 5%
Determining what technologies are needed for my company in the post-pandemic future 29% 39% 26% 6%
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  • Section 7 7/12 How much did the number of devices connected to your business increase as a result of the shift to hybrid work and the pandemic?

As a result of the shift to hybrid work and the pandemic, for more than half of technology leaders surveyed, the number of devices connected to their businesses that they need to track and manage such as smartphones, tablets, sensors, robots, vehicles, drones, etc., increased as much as 1.5 times, while for 42% of those surveyed the number of devices increased even more than 1.5 times.  

Jelena Kovačević headshot
Jelena Kovačević IEEE Fellow, IEEE Signal Processing and IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society

“With many devices comes greater data security risk, so organizations may want to invest in more cybersecurity infrastructure, including potentially reskilling or hiring new professionals to ensure devices being used both inside and outside a company’s network are appropriately protected. Additionally, more devices means greater demand on local electricity and wireless network capacity. So beyond individual companies and organizations, there is a need to invest more in power and wireless infrastructure to support hybrid work. ” Meet Jelena

 

Increase in the number of devices connected to their business — that technology leaders need to track and manage — as a result of the shift to hybrid work and the pandemic (smartphones, tablets, sensors, robots, vehicles, drones, etc.)

 

Nearly half of technology leaders agree that the number of devices connected to their company’s business will grow so significantly and rapidly in 2022 that it will be unmanageable.

I expect the number of devices connected to my company’s business to grow so significantly and rapidly in 2022 that it will be unmanageable. (Respondents were asked to what extent they agreed)

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  • Section 8 8/12 What role will robots play in the future?

Most technology leaders surveyed agree that within the next five years, one quarter of what they do will be enhanced by robots deployed to nearly every business function across their organization. Over the next decade, a majority agree that half or more of what they do will be enhanced by robots. Where robots will provide the most benefit to humanity is in manufacturing and assembly, hospital and patient care and earth and space exploration. 

Feng Xu headshot
Feng Xu IEEE Senior Member, IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society

“Robots will help to do dangerous jobs, for example underground, in-water, wild area jobs.” Meet Feng

 

Strongly agree Somewhat agree Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree Don’t know
In the next 10 years 50% or more of what I do will be enhanced by robots 45% 33% 13% 6% 3%
In the next five years 25% of what I do will be enhanced by robots 41% 40% 11% 6% 2%
In the next five years robots will be deployed across my organization to enhance nearly every business function from sales and HR to marketing and IT 37% 40% 13% 7% 3%
In the next year I will work side-by-side with a robot 32% 27% 20% 18% 3%

 

Marina Ruggieri headshot
Marina Ruggieri IEEE Fellow, IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society

“Our acceptance of being on a team with a robot is a pillar of human-robot cooperation, it has enormous potential to meet the needs of society and to help save our planet.” Meet Marina

 

 

Deployment of robots that would benefit humanity the most

Antonio Espingardeiro headshot
Antonio Espingardeiro IEEE Member, IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, IEEE Information Theory Society, IEEE Computer Society

“Research is being conducted with service robots that have four legs for assisting humans in deliveries, exploration and search and rescue scenarios. That is the latest trend in robotics.” Meet Antonio

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  • Section 9 9/12 Which are your top two concerns when it comes to the cybersecurity of your organization?

The cybersecurity concerns most likely to be in technology leaders’ top two are issues related to the mobile and hybrid workforce including employees using their own devices and cloud vulnerability. Additional concerns include data center vulnerability, a coordinated attack on their network and a ransomware attack.

Mauricio Salles headshot
Mauricio Salles IEEE Member, IEEE Power and Energy Society, IEEE Power Electronics Society

“Data centers are using local power generation as a backup from the grid, however they are still vulnerable considering communication links. New communications directly to satellites could have a good impact on keeping the links working.” Meet Mauricio

39% Security issues related to the mobile and hybrid workforce / employees using their own devices
35% Cloud vulnerability
27% Data center vulnerability
26% A coordinated attack on your network
25% Ransomware attack
19% Lack of investment in security solutions
12% Insider threats
10% Disparate or out of date technology
3% None of these

 

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  • Section 10 10/12 How does your company currently use or plan to use drones, if at all, as part of its business model in the next five years?

Notably, a majority of technology leaders surveyed currently use or in the next five years plan to use drones for security, surveillance or threat prevention as part of their business model. 

Jorge Soares headshot
Jorge Soares IEEE Senior Member, IEEE Technology and Engineering Management Society

“In the near term, drones will primarily be used for surveying, security as well as recreational and assorted entertainment (news, filmmaking, air shows). While there are some pioneering projects in drone-assisted delivery, endurance, capacity, and safety restrictions will likely mean we'll have to wait a little bit longer before having fully autonomous assistance drones deployed at scale.” Meet Jorge

59% Security, surveillance, or threat prevention
41% Customer deliveries
31% Middle mile — intra-company deliveries
19% No plans to use
5% Not sure

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  • Section 11 11/12 Compared to a year ago, do you believe your company is better prepared to respond to a potentially catastrophic interruption such as a data breach or natural disaster?

The vast majority of those surveyed believe that compared to a year ago, their company is better prepared to respond to a potentially catastrophic interruption such as a data breach or natural disaster, and that COVID-19 accelerated their preparedness.   

 

Jorge Soares headshot
Jorge Soares IEEE Senior Member, IEEE Technology and Engineering Management Society

“The forced decentralisation of the workplace resulted in a more resilient organisation, both due to first-order effects like not having staff in one building, and second-order effects like having to adopt security practices that went beyond mere physical perimeter security. ” Meet Jorge

 

 

COVID-19 accelerated our preparedness to respond to a potentially catastrophic interruption such as a data breach or natural disaster.

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  • Section 12 12/12 What will be the top 3 most important uses of blockchain technology in the next year?

An open-source distributed database that uses cryptography through a distributed ledger, blockchain enables trust among individuals and third parties and has many applications. Respondents were most likely to say that securing machine-to-machine communications was in their top three most important uses for blockchain technology next year, along with shipment tracing and contactless digital transactions, keeping health and medical records secure in the cloud, and securely connecting parties in a specified ecosystem. 

Yiannis Psaras headshot
Yiannis Psaras IEEE Member

“Blockchain is a technology that will see tremendous progress. The applications are countless. I believe we'll start seeing impact in finance, data storage and management, and privacy-preserving technologies, among several others.” Meet Yiannis

61% Securing machine to machine interactions in the Internet of Things (IoT)
51% Shipment tracing and contactless digital transactions
47% Keeping health and medical records secure in the cloud
47% Securely connecting parties within a specified ecosystem
43% Cryptocurrency exchange
25% Enforcing pay for performance agreements
21% Tracing the source of foods brought to market
2% None

The Impact of Technology in 2022 and Beyond: an IEEE Global Study” surveyed 350 CIOs, CTOs, IT directors and other technology leaders in the U.S., China, U.K., India and Brazil at organizations with more than 1,000 employees across multiple industry sectors including banking and financial services, consumer goods, education, electronics, engineering, energy, government, healthcare, insurance, retail, technology and telecommunications. The surveys were conducted October 8-20, 2021.

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