Workplace Tech Trends in 2022
The tools and approaches enabling businesses to innovate their processes
The tools and approaches enabling businesses to innovate their processes
Without question, the events of the last two years have sparked a digital change in the way that businesses are run. From seamless online experiences for customers to fast and reliable systems for employees, digital enabled operations have been paramount during these changing times. Tech rose to the many business challenges presented by Covid-19 with the pandemic becoming a catalyst for making businesses think seriously about their digital strategy and how to implement change sooner rather than later.
Thanks to incredible advances in next generation tech and the necessity to adapt to a post-Covid world, workplaces in 2022 will continue to make strides towards digital transformation. Technologies that not long ago seemed futuristic are now taking centre stage in industries throughout the UK. We take a look at how emerging technology tools and trends will be absolute game-changers for business of all shapes and sizes in the coming year.
More than ever, business leaders have had to consider how to maximise the benefits of digital technologies for both the day to day running and future operations of their business. Many industries are relying on digital-first solutions to provide service continuity, gain better data insights and to pave the way for the implementation of hybrid working strategies.
Now, more than a third of businesses in the UK are actively pursuing digital transformation initatives, integrating technology into new areas of their business to change the way they work. The increased rollout of 5G and use of sophisticated IoT and AI tech are facilitating smarter workplaces. And the upgrading of hardware, IT infrastructures and software systems have been pushed to the forefront of business strategies with an increasing percentage of companies recognising that technology has the power to drive business change and innovation for the new normal.
In November 2021, the UK’s tech minister led an international summit of digital ministers to champion the use of technology to help government institutions deliver more for their people. In the business world, we are also seeing a strategic shift towards utilising tech to enhance both employee and customer experiences. While for some companies, digital change entails making remote workers feel closer to the physical work-space with video collaboration tech and VR tools for an immersive workspace, for other businesses digital change involves a review of all practices for smarter working.
A recent study by Deloitte found that those organisations who are responding effectively to technology developments in the workplace have a greater user focus. Understanding digital behaviours and empowering employees to work in new ways is definitely one of the leading drivers for digital transformation amongst businesses.
In recent years artificial intelligence (AI) has revolutionised industries from finance and healthcare to manufacturing and utilities. A recent study shows that 54% of executives have found that introducing AI into their business has increased productivity while 20% of businesses say that automating tasks such as invoicing and contract validation is the second most crucial use of machine learning. AI is continuing to grow in popularity with companies in all industries; helping workers in many occupations to work more efficiently.
AI powered automation software provides a digital twin (DTO) to be proactive in continuously analysing business metrics and identifying how all business workflows and processes can be improved to overcome challenges. Here's a glance at how AI is becoming more widely used in a range of industries:
• Other than the tech industry, financial services is investing the most in machine learning technology, utilising AI algorithms to detect subtle distinctions which may not be noticed by humans. Models are being developed using AI to analyse huge volumes of data, which in turn aid compliance, credit decisions, risk management and fraud detection.
• In June 2021, the government announced £36million of funding to be shared between thirty eight new pioneering AI test projects designed to help revolutionise the quality of healthcare and accelerate diagnosis in the NHS.
• In the industrial workspace, assisted reality is on the increase to enable workers to share real-time information with their colleagues as well as onboarding new staff. AI will be increasingly used in manufacturing for workplace safety, screening and machine maintenance.
For some while now, there have been concerns that tech will replace jobs. Now, there does seem to be more of a shift towards how people and machines can work together to streamline processes, improve data management and ultimately boost economic growth. It's like we've always said, people and tech together have amazing powers to make positive change!
Using technology to automate business processes is nothing new. However, within the next decade the use of AI powered platforms and tools is set to provide a higher quality of Business Process Automation (BPA). Combining multiple technologies and platforms including machine learning, artificial intelligence and robotic process automation, hyperautomation promises to take automation to the next level.
Hyperautomation as an approach is designed to improve both the speed and quality of work produced, further streamlining business and technology processes and lowering operational costs. Existing digital processes can be made fewer and involve less resouces with the effective adoption of hyperautomation in the workplace.
Together these technologies can not only take care of high-volume manual tasks, allowing employees to focus on more critical tasks but they can drive business transformation too. In the insurance industry, for example, hyperautomation can eliminate the many repetitive tasks, reduce human error and improve compliance while in retail, everything from inventory to acquisition and supply management can be enhanced.
This kind of intelligent automation, which works alongside employees, can accelerate service delivery while also enabling greater data-driven business decisions. Data is absolutely at the centre of business transformation so the smarter the insights, the more effectively businesses can drive progressive change.
More and more organisations are making hyperautomation part of their digital strategies to drive business value and help to plan for the future. Top tech leaders are predicting that the successful implementation of hyperautomation will be key to delivering faster response and delivery times, reducing costs and enabling businesses to achieve operational excellence in a digital first world.
Demand for cloud computing reached all new heights last year, with a mounting need for cloud strategies to be an intrinsic part of long-term business plans. As hybrid working gains momentum, investment in cloud-centric infrastructure is paramount.
A 2021 study showed that 82% of large enterprises have adopted a hybrid cloud infrastructure. Azure defines hybrid cloud as “a computing environment that combines on-premises data centre with a public cloud, allowing data and applications to be shared between them.” Increasingly, hybrid clouds are being constructed to provide a flexible, optimal cloud environment to run workloads. Companies are finding a hybrid cloud approach can lead to grater agility and control of how and where data is stored. With the right planning, the implementation of multi-cloud strategies are thought to be a faster route to digital transformation.
In 2022, it is predicted that there will also be growth of specialised industry clouds. Combining cloud services, and applications, industry clouds can be customised for specific operational requirements and concentrate on industry specific workflows. With the potential to create greater business value with tailored support, greater customer engagement and technical features, the benefits of industry clouds are set to become more appealing.
With great trust invested in the cloud, entailing high levels of confidential data storage, this year, more businesses will place an emphasis on developing multi-cloud strategies to better manage cloud security. Keeping on top of the evolvement of cloud technologies and how systems can be best protected is such an important consideration. For more information on how our expert database developers can help your company transition to the cloud click this way.
There was some concerning data recently revealed by the UK National Cyber Security Centre, which showed that there were three times as many ransomware attacks in the first quarter of 2021 as there were in the whole of 2019!
Ransomware attacks which target critical infrastructure is undoubtedly on the rise, costing companies billions worldwide. In a recent survey, 61% of UK companies expect to see an increase in reportable ransomware incidents this year. It was also found that almost two-thirds of UK organisations (63%) are increasing their cyber security budgets in 2022.
In December 2021, the UK Government published its new National Cyber Strategy for 2022 , which calls on all parts of society to play their part in reinforcing the UK’s economic and strategic strengths in cyberspace. There is a pressing urgency for organisations to develop robust cybersecurity strategies and security cultures to prevent critical disruption. Advances in AI and their predictive powers will come into play here as well as the hiring of skilled cybersecurity professionals.
Organisations are encouraging a greater need for cybersecurity training, especially for employees working away from the office. Continuous risk monitoring is needed and responses to attacks must be prepared to keep businesses running as securely as possible and keep building consumer trust. Discover some great top tips for keeping your business data secure here.
Immersive work experiences are set to grow to a whole new level this year thanks to augmented reality. The expansion of 5G networks may also make it easier to support cloud-based AR experiences and help to make virtual reality more normalised in the workplace.
Onboarding, training and meetings are all leaning more on virtual reality tech to provide a more hands-on interactive learning experience. By superimposing augmented objects to their real world, new starters are able to received greater visualisation of information, remote guidance and knowledge sharing from colleagues in a modelled work environment.
The development of more sophisticated AR hardware will also help employees to work faster, safer and more efficiently. In 2022, VR will start to connect more seamlessly with business tools and VR devices will produce better optics, comfort and even enable avatars to mirror human expression - incredible!
Manufacturing was one of the top industries using augmented reality in 2021 to reduce machine downtime while Architects are also increasingly using AR and VR to provide training, product installation and project inspections. The maritime industry is using AR solutions for maintenance, remote assistance and workforce training while sales and marketing teams throughout different sectors are benefitting from providing more immersive experiences for customers.
2022 is thought to be a year of market positioning for The Metaverse, with companies trying to understand how VR technologies can be used side by side with physical workspaces to benefit collaboration and connectivity. Augmented objects, digital holograms, lifelike avatars and interactive data has great potential to recreate a very realistic model of real office environments in a virtual space to aid hybrid working.
With gaze tracking and Apple smart glasses also on the way, the future for wearable computing looks very bright!
Every business, no matter the size, has a part to play in tackling the challenges of climate change. Digital working relies on powerful computer engines which use vast amounts of energy. By 2040, the Information and Communications Technology sector is predicted to account for 14% of the world’s carbon footprint.
More organisations are looking to innovative tech solutions to reach and maintain their net zero goals. Sustainable software can be achieved with automation technologies delivering effiencies which will reduce carbon and energy. Advances in virtual reality tech are reducing the need for travel as well as helping to reduce waste and companies with big brands adopting VR within their processes to minimise consumption. Employers are also looking to encourage their teams to take control of their data storage while the major public cloud providers are focusing on more eco-conscious solutions too.
Then there’s the emergence of green software engineering, which looks set to evolve this year too. This involves software developers making conscious choices when building business applications, to create the most energy-efficient use of hardware, which will in turn reduce carbon emissions that are consumed when the software is in use. The Green Software Foundation, backed by Microsoft, Linux and Accenture, is also one to watch this year as they aim to push industry standard governance to provide consistency throughout the tech world.
For more advice on how to make your software friendlier to the planet, have a read of these top tips.
It's pretty mind-blowing to see how businesses are utilising the very latest tech to innovate in a post Covid world. Boosting productivity, efficiency and creating greater data insights and employee experiences can all be acheived with the right digital strategies and approaches in place. We're going to keep a close watch on all these trends and explore their developments in more detail very soon.
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