Technology predictions for 2022 and beyond

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Technology predictions for 2022 and beyond

What are Australia's IT leaders expecting?

Jasmine Workman, Senior Marketing Lead APAC at Shopify

Looking ahead at 2022, the appetite for international commerce is only growing. The rapid growth of ecommerce globally has shifted consumer expectations for independent and enterprise brands alike. In fact, over 30 percent of all traffic to Shopify in Australia already comes from international buyers and this number is likely to continue growing as the ecommerce boom continues. Luckily for businesses operating online, technology for cross-border commerce has become so advanced that gaining access to international markets doesn’t need to be daunting.

With technology specifically designed to lower the barriers of cross-border commerce, brands can seamlessly provide tailored experiences for different markets, to ensure local relevance. For example, tools like Shopify Markets empower businesses to build localised storefronts with customisable options for tax regulations, language, currency conversions, payment methods and more. 2022 is all about working smarter, not harder. With the right tools in an increasingly borderless and digital marketplace, business leaders can seamlessly identify, set-up, launch and optimise their businesses in new markets to reach customers in meaningful ways.

John Karabin, Senior Director of Cybersecurity, NTT Australia

Over the last few years, increased disruption to the supply chain has resulted in greater cyber risk and vulnerability to back-end systems. The attack on Colonial Pipeline earlier in 2021, forced the company to close down operations and freeze IT systems, temporarily halting the supply of fuel and gas across the east coast of the United States. In Australia, Frontier Software, one of the largest cloud based payroll providers was significantly impacted by a cyber event, resulting in many reliant organisations being forced to activate their business continuity and disaster recovery plans. These examples demonstrate that as businesses rely more on technology, the supply chain is an increasingly popular way for threat actors to either gain an entry point or cause significant disruption – a trend we’ll no doubt continue to see in 2022.

In 2022, we will also begin to see many governments take an active role in cybersecurity policy, threat detection and prevention measures. 2021 saw the Australian government on the cusp of passing the Critical Infrastructure Bill, which will allow the federal government to assist or actively intervene in the security response of private organisations if required. The bill will also increase obligations around reporting and implementing essential cybersecurity practices. With this new legislation, the very definition of ‘critical infrastructure’ will expand from four to eleven sectors including, utilities, health, food, transport, and data storage. Governments taking this up as an important initiative is just the beginning. As we move into the new year,  we will continue to see an important collaborative role between both industry and government, with the dividend being an exciting digital future that we can rely on and trust in.

Edgard Capdevielle, CEO of Nozomi Networks

Ransomware will shift – and threat actors will reach even greater lows.

As the U.S. government cracks down on ransomware gangs, in 2022 expect to see attacks move to Europe and elsewhere as threat actors move to easier targets in countries where there is less threat of government retaliation. While we’ll continue to see large, multi-million-dollar ransom bounties, there will likely to be a greater volume of smaller bounties using multiple extortion tactics as threat actors find ways to increase the likelihood of a payout while staying under the public radar. Expect to see breaches of smaller ICS targets, including those in the food industry, as they have smaller budgets for security but face all of the same challenges as larger ICS installations.

While threat actors will continue to evolve their tactics, victims will also shift responses. Governments and private enterprises are likely to take more offensive actions as more organisations fight back. Law enforcement will strengthen its push to recoup bitcoin and increase bounties for information leading to the arrest of cybercriminals. On the private side, expect to see more organisations take matters into their own hands, hiring cyber sleuths and white hat hackers to find and take down cyber attackers.

Nation-state attacks will rise.

With global pressures tightening, 2022 will be a record year for nation-state attacks in number and severity. Russia will continue to be a leading actor against the U.S., Ukraine and other nations. Expect Chinese attacks to grow in volume and aggression as hostilities rise over technology bans, financial pressures and diplomatic boycotts of the Winter Olympics. And, as tensions rise in the Middle East, the likelihood is high that a Stuxnet-like attack will disable or severely damage the Iran nuclear weapons program.

Critical infrastructure defences will mature significantly – thanks in part to progress when it comes to public and private cooperative efforts aimed at tightening defences.

Government guidelines, mandates, and legislation in combination with self-governance at the sector level will help establish and enforce a standard baseline for critical infrastructure cybersecurity. Standards and best practices (like ISA and NIST) will get more spotlight. While the needle will move significantly, it still won’t be far enough fast enough to match the innovation of our adversaries.

Public/private sectors efforts will begin to shift the landscape in 2022 – thanks in part to the significant progress made by Jen Easterly to establish CISA as the central point of collaboration and coordination across the infosec community. Still, it will take a couple of years to see significant improvements in terms of meaningful defences. One sign of this progress will come in the form of new open solutions for information sharing. That includes options that don’t compromise private data and make it possible for public and private sectors organisations to collectively strengthen defences.

An evolving Purdue model will embrace Zero Trust.

In 2021 Zero Trust began to pop up in OT conversations — but with no clear definition of what it means or how it will be deployed. In 2022, Zero Trust will become a more strategic discussion in OT cybersecurity as organisations evolve their security frameworks to address a new reality of distributed architectures and IoT. Zero Trust policies will begin to address device restrictions and insecure-by-design PLCs, IoT sensors and controllers. At a minimum, OT cybersecurity vendors will have to address visibility and adherence to Zero Trust policies across all OT and IoT devices. This will transform an evolving Purdue model to a more intentional adoption of Zero Trust.

Hyper convergence and the ever-expanding attack surface.

With the massive adoption of IoT devices, and as IT and OT borders have blurred, the attack surface is only getting larger. In 2022, 5G will begin to make it possible to connect the previously unconnected and will drive even more devices into the network. In turn, we’ll see an increased risk to critical infrastructure and ICS. While cloud adoption will not be universal in OT environments, for many, cloud-based cybersecurity solutions will make their way into the mix as CISOs and security professionals look for ways to build and quickly scale cybersecurity enterprise-wide. Expect more organisations to abandon siloed security strategies and adopt hyper-converged solutions that can effectively bridge IT, OT and IoT toward fully addressing cyber-physical risks.

SBOMs and security certifications will become standard fare.

As 2021 ended with the massive Log4J open-source vulnerability disclosure — and in the wake of monumental SolarWinds and Kaseya software supply chain hacks — all during a record year for ICS-CERT vulnerability disclosures, expect to see the large majority of industrial and critical infrastructure organisations begin to demand greater transparency and higher product security standards – and accountability from their software vendors and other third-party providers. Software Bill of Materials (SBOMs) and greater vendor accountability will become standard fare in RFPs and contracts.

The evolving market will reach new heights.

2021 saw hundreds of millions of dollars invested in a few private companies in the OT/ICS space. 2022 will see continued investment, but it will taper off throughout the year as the top 3 OT industry leaders have separated from the pack. The macroeconomic environment (higher interest rates + inflation) will reinforce this tapering.

IoT vendors will continue to target OT opportunities but will find OT vendors may have more success in expanding to their IoT turf. We will likely continue to see some technology acquisitions to help larger security vendors round out or augment their portfolios.

2022: The Year of the Defender

While there’s no doubt that cyber threats will continue to grow and evolve, in 2022 I’m putting my money on the defenders. Last year we turned an important corner. The threat scenarios we’ve discussed for years – and even ones we hadn’t – became real. At the same time IT and OT organisations have continued to come together and grow stronger. So has their perspective and approach to cybersecurity. Today industrial and critical infrastructure cybersecurity is a top priority that in more and more cases is demanding – and receiving – the resources it needs for success. The private and public sector – and even the vendor community are joining forces to help the cause. While building a secure future is a daunting task, based on our experiences with hundreds of customers, partners and peers. around the world, our global defenders are up for the task.

Aden Axen, Cloud Services Manager; Craig Somerville, CEO; Osh Ranaweera, Connect Services Manager, Somerville.

There are six key areas that are likely to become the focus of attention during 2022. Together, they will shape IT strategies and guide investments. The areas are:

IT security: The threats posed by cybercriminals continued to mount throughout the pandemic. Targeted phishing campaigns and other techniques led to a rise in ransomware attacks that caused widespread disruptions and losses.

In 2022, it will be important for businesses to take a holistic view of their IT security defences and confirm that they are still fit for purpose. What might have been effective when all staff were working in the office may no longer be providing the levels of protection that are required.

For this reason, security assessment and benchmarking will become increasingly important during the year. As a result, real-time assessment will move from being a fringe concept into the mainstream.

Reassessment of cloud usage: In 2021, many organisations remained uncertain about which workloads should be shifted to cloud platforms and which should be retained on-premise. In 2022, these decisions will become clearer as increasing numbers begin to understand the benefits of having a hybrid infrastructure in place.

In a growing number of cases, this will replace a strategy that involves a 100% shift to the cloud. In other cases, some businesses may actually opt to bring some workloads that have been migrated to the cloud back to on-premise infrastructure. The driver here will be a requirement for better performance and lower latency.

A good strategy will be to closely evaluate each workload and determine the optimal location for it. Also, look for opportunities to replace conventional applications with SaaS-based alternatives.

An increase the use of co-location services: In the past, many organisations have opted to build and manage their own disaster recovery facilities to ensure operations can continue should something happen to their core data centre. In 2022, more will instead opt to make use of a co-location facility to house these resources.

The key benefit is cost reduction. Rather than having to manage and maintain a full facility, they can simply rent the space they require. This also means an organisation will be free to shift to another co-location provider should requirements change.

Ongoing decentralisation of workplaces: Working from home has become the norm during the pandemic, and in 2022 organisations will need to ensure they have in place the infrastructure needed to support this in the longer term.

As well as properly equipping staff, tools will need to be deployed that allow remote monitoring and management of devices. This will allow IT teams to offer support as required without the need for an in-person visit.

Attention will also need to be given to the networks that connect remote workers. Usage of technologies such as software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WANs) will become much more widespread as organisations come to understand the flexibility they offer.

The rise of ‘everything as a service: The trend to consume technology by way of subscriptions will continue to increase during 2022. Rather than making large capital investments in hardware and software, more organisations will make use of SaaS providers to gain access to the resources they require.

As well as reducing costs and complexity, this trend will also allow organisations to be much more flexible in the way they use IT resources.

An ongoing battle for talent: The challenge of recruiting and retaining talented IT staff will continue for organisations throughout 2022. To address shortages, many will look to investing in the training of existing staff who are keen to upgrade their skills and perhaps shift into new areas.

The business conditions that will existing during 2022 remain uncertain, however that doesn’t mean organisations can stand still. Taking the time to plan investments in IT and taking advantage of key trends is likely to pay significant dividends as the year unfolds.

Vijay Shankar, Co-Founder and Director of Solutions, Freshworks Australia.

We’ve seen a lot of change in 2021, largely driven by the pandemic. As businesses adapt to the ‘new normal’, the way we approach IT will continue to change as we enter 2022.

Automate the mundane, humanise the pain

COVID-19 pushed businesses online overnight and companies responded quickly, scaling automation and self-service technology such as chatbots and virtual FAQs to resolve employee support issues. IT teams are poised to go beyond resolving technology requests by creating delightful exchanges that deepen relationships across the business. The experiences they help create also extend to the customer with smart integrations that bring employee and customer experience closer together than ever before.

More companies will automate the mundane using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) so businesses can continue to run even when employees are unable to gain access to infrastructure. In 2022, companies will reimagine employee service as a branding opportunity and rethink bot deflection for even the simplest conversations, instead seeking to exceed delight with human touch.

Enduring the ‘Great Resignation’

Many technology workers are leaving the workforce and next year, retaining talent will be more difficult than ever. The shortage of talent will add additional challenges to recruiting and hiring efforts and companies will need to step up on all fronts — including employee culture, pay and benefits, career development, and adoption of easy to use technology that makes working more delightful.

Establishing a “tech review” for employees

Many companies struggled to ensure their employees were secure online when we shifted to remote work. To ensure effective transitions in the future, companies should conduct a “tech review”, showing who and where each employee is, their role in the organisation, what devices, tools, and apps they use, and what level of access they need. This will enable IT to provide a more secure, seamless, and frictionless experience for the end user.   

Andy Thiss, Country Manager and ANZ VP of Anaplan

With the ‘Great Resignation’ and people shifting industries so quickly post-pandemic, organisations will need to plan several years in advance when it comes to training and development, people management and hiring. Data collected each year by the Australian Bureau of Statistics suggests that in the 12 months to February 2021 almost 1.1 million Australians left their jobs. This trend is not going away, and in fact, there will be a knock-on effect for the next three to five years. As people start to look for other positions, companies need to get smarter when looking for employees.
 
One way to do this is to think about your workforce planning and identify talent gaps that impede business success. By modelling 'what-if' scenarios, and assessing financial impacts, organisations can optimise their workforce, manage risk, and drive overall business results. Workforce planning is also a critical way to collaborate with other leaders across the business and deliver workforce plans tied to overall business strategy and performance. Old-school planning and forecasting tools like Excel just don’t cut it anymore and workforce planning is a sure-fire way to tackle issues like skill shortages as well as identify where upskilling or re-skilling needs to occur in the business.

Robert Merlicek, CTO APJ at TIBCO

Reaching for the clouds. We will see cloud native platforms continue to rapidly grow in Asia and ANZ. In particular, the government sector at all levels – including local, state and federal – will drive adoption across the board for initiatives in secure data exchange, operational efficiencies, and personalisation of services. This is supported in the recent Australian Government report “Blueprint for Critical technologies,” with one of the focus areas defined as ‘Deploying secure and trusted technologies in critical systems, networks, and infrastructure.”

Industry is also demanding more open cloud interoperability standards going forward, just like the drivers for IT connectivity in the years past. Cloud will morph to become more distributed, trusted, intelligent, and industry-focused going forward with true interoperability in the future. A top analyst firm predicts that cloud-native platforms will serve as the foundation for more than 95% of new digital initiatives by 2025 – up from less than 40% in 2021.

Industrial IoT will merge with edge computing to deliver new value. We will see a significant uptick in IIoT going forward as enormous numbers of smart devices will be able to connect and share data over the evolving communications infrastructure, such as the ubiquitous 5G in region. To enable real-time analytics and decision making, organisations will leverage hybrid cloud intelligent edge to process and manage the new data fabric at the far edge outside the traditional data centres. Major drivers will be factories of the future, clean and renewable energy, autonomous vehicles, and digital healthcare to name a few.

The results of all these devices providing seamless connectivity and data exchange in the home, work, and in motion will drive a richness in the data fabric we have never seen before and deliver new insights and efficiencies. However, it will give rise to a major need to focus on security and identity to combat malicious hacking, data, and identity theft. So, technologies like identity management, secured blockchains, and smart contacts will grow rapidly to help manage those threats.

AI that becomes less artificial and more intelligent. Machine learning capabilities have been adopted by many recently for fear of being left behind, but in most cases machine learning models and concepts have been built based on static rules and concepts. The capability to get insights and take actions based on machine learning models is only half of the solution. The issue is that data is never static, it is constantly evolving due to new systems, processes, and people, and as such so must our thinking.

We are now starting to see the rise of dynamic, incremental learning concepts leveraging knowledge graphs and event-driven deep neural networks that will allow our AI to evolve in real time to changing patterns, learning dynamically. Advanced tools will start to adopt these concepts and provide unique business value by leveraging semantic patterns and relationships in highly connected data and will augment human decision making, especially in areas like video recognition, cybersecurity, and healthcare.

Rajiv Ramaswami, CEO at Nutanix

Cloud lock in will grow as a concern as companies look to operate in public clouds and this in turn will drive the adoption of hybrid multicloud strategies to enable them to make use of the best that each cloud has to offer while also providing a degree of freedom and choice for their applications and data. Between advancements in technology and shortage of skilled labour in a number of areas, we expect a lot more enterprises will be looking at AI to address some of their challenges. But the reality is that AI is not easy. So, in addition to an increased focus, I expect many companies to fail in their first foray with AI. On the flip side, I think enterprises taking their initial steps in AI will be more likely to succeed when starting with a defined scope and strong business objective in mind, rather than trying to address large problems right off the bat. Similarly, those who will leverage existing models developed by leading research or company projects will be ahead of the pack.

Peter Marelas, Chief Architect at New Relic APJ

Organisations will start to explore how they can combine cloud economic consumption data (FinOps) with observability data (App and Infra) to attribute cloud resource consumption with the cost/performance ratio of serving customers. This will allow organisations to quantify the cost to serve customers at a particular level of performance, and equip them with the knowledge they need to be able to react to financial surprises quickly (e.g. the next pandemic), by making short or long-lived trade offs between cloud costs, performance and customer satisfaction.

Organisations should start merging hourly (or even more granularly - if available) cloud cost events using services such as AWS Cost and Usage report, with observability data. This will allow them to correlate and model cloud costs with user journeys and the cloud resources required to support them. They can apply these models to baseline the environment and prioritise optimisation activities that will yield the largest cloud cost savings. Conversely, they can use these models to accurately forecast cloud costs based on business plans and avoid cloud bill shock.

Peter Philipp, General Manager at Neo4j ANZ

2022 will see a massive shift toward SaaS companies working harder to create and sustain a thriving community and the network effect that a community provides. As the world becomes increasingly connected, technology creators have come to learn how vital it is to build and maintain a community of users. In fact, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian recently predicted that within the next five years, 50% of publicly traded corporations will have a Chief Community Officer. Every popular technology has a thriving community behind it, and it’s not long until SaaS companies understand the value of building a self-sustaining community.

Fervor for knowledge graphs/graph databases soared in 2021, especially at the business level. Adoption has increased across the board, from small businesses to large enterprises due to the ease of implementation. In 2022, this trend will not only continue but sprout new use cases in fields such as digital twin technology, patient journey analytics, biomarker detection and root cause analysis. 

Over the past two years, it’s been made clear that the traditional methods of tracking supply chain networks are severely outdated. 2021 saw the highest surge of graph technology use cases for supply chain applications due to the nature of how graphs are built for analysing multi-tiered, interconnected systems. This trend will continue in 2022 as more organisations look to make their supply chain strategies more data-driven.

Synthetic identity fraud is the fastest-growing type of financial crime and will continue to increase in 2022. Traditional methods are no longer an option to tackle this highly interconnected data problem. In 2022, organisations should look toward implementing graph data science algorithms in their fraud detection networks to identify complicated patterns that represent fraudulent behaviour.

In 2022, companies will need to embrace the role of the “citizen data scientist,” which are employees who work with predictive/prescriptive analytics models but whose primary job function lies outside the field of data science and analytics. The data science field is one of the fastest growing, and with the workforce currently experiencing “The Great Resignation,” and companies will need to make data science more accessible to help fill gaps on their teams.

Over the past five years, the inquiry volume of clients striving to learn about digital ethics has more than tripled. Graphs are inherently built for providing context, which allows for increased explainability in AI/ML systems. As more organisations explore the different technologies to reach this point, 2022 will be a turning point for many organisations as they leverage graph technology to enhance their ability to address bias and create more ethical AI/ML systems. 

Alex Frolov, CEO and Co-Founder at HypeAuditor

While social commerce was previously focused on ads or promotions, platforms are beginning to provide new and innovative selling solutions that focus on making the journey easier for buyers. Moving into 2022, businesses will increasingly use Influencer marketing as a core part of their marketing campaigns and not just an “add-on” as businesses are reevaluating the purchasing paths they offer and consider capitalising on social selling opportunities through Instagram posts, Reels, Stories, and more.

In late 2020, Instagram Australia hosted a world-first InstaNight Shopping event featuring exclusive sales and one-night-only product drops from more than 50 Australian brands such as Country Road, Bed Threads, and Write to Me. Brands need to recognise the power of social selling as a new and important pathway to connect with consumers.

Livestreaming boomed in popularity during the pandemic, and the live commerce economy across APAC is now worth $66bn. Analysts predict that it will generate between 10% and 20% of all e-commerce by 2026. However in order to capitalise on this significant rise, businesses will increasingly take a data-driven approach to livestream and social commerce, to ensure they are working with the right creators.

Robert McAdam, CEO at Sekuro

Australia will need an additional 6.5 million newly skilled and reskilled digital workers by 2025. Whilst this figure is staggering and represents a quarter of Australia’s existing population, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone in the tech industry. Due to COVID, skilled migration has come to a halt, and whilst this is expected to pick back up, we need to be looking at how we can grow tech talent domestically to create a more sustainable and scalable solution to plugging the skills gap we’ve been experiencing for the better part of a decade.

As we approach 2022, tech organisations need to consider their role in nurturing talent as a tool for long-term growth, not only for themselves but for the industry and the economy at large. We need to be investing in technology and the skills to support it rather than digging coal out of the ground. Otherwise, we will be left behind. 

Lee Hardham, CEO and Founder at Brauz

From hard times will come great tech. We’ve all heard about the “Great Resignation”.In April 2021, 4 million Americans quit their job, with tech being one of the hardest-hit industries after seeing resignations increase by 4.5%. What that says is that a lot more people are now re-thinking what they want for themselves and asking where they want to be. Based on this, my prediction is that we will see a massive emergence of start-ups over the next few years.

If we look at our population, Gen Z represents just under 20% of people in Australia. This age group makes up the next generation of entrepreneurs, and a mix of changing priorities and impacts of the pandemic means they are less likely to embrace traditional job roles. I suspect this means we will see the global start-up ecosystem is going to erupt with so many different ideas and tech we haven’t seen before.

We’re also seeing investment in startups running at the hottest it's ever been in Australia, with significant investments at all stages. One thing the past has taught us is that times of great challenge have produced some of the most significant advancements in tech, and investors are seeing this as an opportunity to uncover the next big thing. 

Satya Gupta, Cofounder and CTO at Virsec

Bad actors can be expected to adopt the following new strategies over the next few quarters:

Since bad actors have become cash-rich from the ransom they’ve collected from successful attacks, we can expect them to conduct their business (of writing sophisticated exploits for RCE vulnerabilities) earlier and faster by leveraging even more skilled exploit writers instead of depending on publicly disclosed exploits.

Attackers will increasingly infiltrate more COTS applications and Open Source Software and bury backdoors directly in source code. Many small/ medium business who don’t have dedicated IT to test code before they deploy will end up suffering more from breaches than larger end-users who practice better cyber hygiene.

Most cyber-attacks go from infiltration to the ransom-demand stage over days, during which time-sensitive data is exfiltrated slowly so as to not trigger AI/ML attention. Given international tension and not profit being the motivation, we can expect attacks to target widescale disruption (such as taking critical infrastructure systems offline).

Given that more and more enterprise software is being delivered from third parties and over the cloud, sophisticated bad actors will target such cloud providers. We therefore expect to hear of many more breach disclosures in popular SaaS services in the coming times.

Mark Perry, Chief Customer Officer, Biza.io

 

Whilst we’ve seen a lot of progress across the Consumer Data Right (CDR) landscape this year, the benefits are still to be realised for most participants. A lot of financial institutions are going to realise they have sunk money into solutions that weren’t built to deliver on the full potential of the CDR. Many will be looking to develop their data recipient strategy, and may end up replacing their data holder solutions because they have chosen a solution that delivers compliance rather than a platform for growth and transformation.

 

On the consumer side of things, awareness of the CDR and open banking’s benefits may remain low until we have compelling products for customers to use. Those offerings are on their way as fintechs and others learn more about the intricacies of the CDR.

 

In saying this, once the teething issues are resolved, I think we’re only 12 months away from reaching the point where open banking usage will explode. For example, the big three energy companies need to be compliant by November next year, and this will mean we could start to see the amalgamation of services. 

 

Who we bank with this year could become more deeply involved in the services needed for our daily lives in the near future — from buying a house to utilities, insurance and healthcare. The ability to share customer data openly will mean CDR players can now estimate your usage for a particular service, determine your risk profile and create joint ventures to bundle in third party services at competitive costs to your existing offering. 

 

2022 will see regulation remain an issue across the CDR landscape and there will be more uncertainty as new obligations become due. Companies will need to partner with the right vendors to ensure their CDR solutions are built for purpose, not just compliant, and that the benefits of open banking can be realised sooner, rather than later.

James Wright, Regional Director A/NZ, ASEAN and Oceania at Cloudian

Cloud-native apps go to the edge: With the help of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), enterprises have made major progress in adopting cloud-native technologies in public, private and hybrid cloud environments. In 2022, enterprises will capitalise on the improved portability and agility to bring cloud-native apps to the edge. However, for open source CNCF projects to work, they require broad standardisation of both software and hardware. To support the transition of cloud-native apps to the edge, industry leaders in edge software (such as Red Hat and SUSE/Rancher Labs) and edge hardware (such as Intel and Nvidia) will ramp up efforts to achieve greater standardisation.

Object storage accelerates HPC innovation: As high-performance computing (HPC) deployments have become highly distributed and begun to exceed exabyte scale, it’s become clear that the storage component of HPC infrastructure needs greater focus. To continue making advances in supercomputing, organisations will require highly scalable, software-defined storage that can accommodate massive data sets while easily leveraging any hardware innovations on the computing side. Parallel file storage alone cannot provide this scalability and flexibility. As a result, more organisations will use object storage as the primary storage for supercomputing deployments.

New analytics and streaming APIs drive next generation edge use cases: Organisations are eager to explore next generation edge use cases. These use cases require the ability to rapidly process massive volumes of streaming data to enable real-time decision making. However, current analytics and streaming APIs used for on-prem and public cloud apps are not robust enough to support such advanced AI and ML at the edge. As a result, new analytics and streaming data APIs will emerge in 2022 that will allow immediate processing of data locally at the edge, enabling AI and ML models to make those critical immediate decisions. In addition, to make these APIs easy for organisations to employ at the edge, new streaming feature stores will proliferate next year.

Organisations will embrace redundancy to mitigate continuing outages: Massive web outages and regional disasters will continue to take both public cloud and private data centers offline in 2022. To mitigate this threat, organisations will increasingly seek redundancy for mission critical apps by deploying in multiple public clouds and leveraging private clouds. The tools to run modern apps – such as Kubernetes and other container-based technologies – interchangeably in the cloud or on-prem are maturing rapidly, providing new options for optimising workload placement to ensure availability.

Security experts will continue to miss the mark with ransomware protection: Security experts continue to tout increased perimeter defence as the catch all for ransomware protection. However, in a recent report, 49 per cent of businesses that experienced an attack had perimeter defences in place and ransomware still managed to get in. In addition, 65 per cent of the organisations that were penetrated through phishing emails had conducted anti-phishing training for employees. The threat of ransomware will only continue to rise, making it a matter of “if,” not “when,” an attack will occur. Given these realities, more organisations will recognise the need to protect data at the storage layer with an immutable backup copy, ultimately ensuring they can recover quickly from an attack without having to pay ransom.

Data sovereignty concerns will create new opportunities for Managed Service Providers (MSPs): Continuing privacy concerns in EMEA since the Schrems II decision invalidated the EU-US privacy shield are driving organisations to look for new options to protect data. MSPs in the EU will increasingly fill this need with locally based services that are entirely contained within geographic boundaries. Now-mature cloud infrastructure – compute, storage, and management – will facilitate this growth, creating a wealth of new options for customers.

Instead of migrating legacy apps to the cloud, organisations will create cloud-like environments on prem: Data such as healthcare records and financial information are subject to regulatory requirements. Now, cloud-native technologies such as S3-compatible object storage provide a path to building private cloud infrastructure on-prem, delivering the benefits of public cloud while retaining full control of where sensitive data is located.

Marc Caltabiano, Vice President at MuleSoft Australia and New Zealand

We’ve seen how successful Australians have shifted to working from home, so it’s critical that employers pay close attention to how their employees’ expectations have changed since then. Australian businesses already have to contend with chronic skills shortages prior to the pandemic, so if they want to hang on and attract highly-skilled workers, they’ll need to centre digital-first experiences and workplace flexibility as their recruitment strategy.

“Australian businesses won’t be able to do this until they truly embrace digital transformation, which goes beyond a one-off investment in a collaboration tool. Technology that enables automation will be key to embracing the digital future of work, empowering business teams to be self-reliant whether in the office, at home, or anywhere else in the world. CIOs must take responsibility for driving this mindset and encouraging both IT and business teams alike to unlock and integrate their data sets if they want to take advantage of their own digital transformation efforts.

Andy Brockhoff, President APAC at Unit4

Hybrid work will continue to drive digital transformation for organisations worldwide as businesses adapt to new ways of working. In 2022, we’ll see a rise in hypervariability. The world is changing at a fast pace, and with that, there will be ongoing changes in macro-economic and political factors which will impact day-to-day business.

We’ll also see a rise in commoditisation of infrastructure due to maturity in the cloud. As more organisations migrate to the cloud in the new year, there will be a need for businesses to reform themselves to have the right skill sets to add value to the new paradigm.

Additionally, there will be a greater emphasis on enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. In 2022 and beyond, ERP will have to redefine itself as organisations migrate to modern development tools. ERP vendors will need to fully embrace the composable model to keep customers interested and satisfied. Customers will want a straightforward approach to extend the system and add new apps while maintaining the processes and data from the core ERP system.

Paul North is Senior Vice President APJ at Optimizely' at Optimizely

In 2022, we’ll see a greater emphasis on creating more hyper-personalised experiences than ever before. Businesses will drive these experiences through digital experience management, where data is harvested from AI-driven experiments and dynamically applied to customers to drive outcomes. Companies that excel in leveraging data will win in a digital-first world, and optimised hyper-personalisation is a sure fire path to that advantage.

In the new year, experiences will not only be about optimised environments, but hyper-personalisation will also cross into the meta-verse where we start to experience optimised virtual worlds for us to inhabit.

What’s more, advances in AI will create ample benefits in education, healthcare and everything we do. Whether it’s day-to-day living, interacting with a company or going to the doctor, we’ll see ever faster advances in machine-driven outcomes for people, across education, our health and much more. These incremental improvements are taking hold now but will accelerate towards the second half of the decade, leading to significant market changes.

Julia Szatar, Head of Product Marketing at Loom

With hybrid working here to stay for 2022 and beyond, adoption of digital communication tools is only growing. Digital tools aimed at scaling collaboration, such as asynchronous video, are set to transform the workplace in the new year as more distributed teams embrace video as an efficient way to communicate. Not only does async video aid productivity by reducing meetings and accelerating comprehension, it also empowers employees to express themselves and maintain visibility within a widespread team, no matter what timezone they live in.

Another trend that we’re seeing is the rise of tools that facilitate real-time, non-video collaboration. Tools that allow real-time collaboration are critical drivers for employee productivity and workflow efficiency, especially within the design industry. Figjam, for example, is an online collaboration white board that Figma built while entirely remote and largely asynchronous during the pandemic. It enables effective ideation and brainstorming — some of the hardest workflows to unlock on a distributed team.

Based on the rapid growth of async video adoption in the last 18 months, I’m excited to see how this technology will continue to evolve and will create new capabilities for users.

Vijay Sundaram, Chief Strategy Officer at Zoho

Over the next year, unified technology platforms will become the de-facto choice for business rather than a landscape of different, best-of-breed applications. Millions of businesses turned to technology to alleviate the impact of the pandemic, but in many instances, their digital transformation was with a short-term, survival-at-all-costs mindset, rather than a long-term, strategic approach.

Deploying a plethora of complex applications can provide initial value but is costly and can ultimately create business silos and make productivity and efficiency hard to come by. However, a unified approach breaks down silos, creates savvier, streamlined processes and allows businesses to harness AI and automation’s immense - but still-growing - potential. Through unification, the whole can become greater than the sum of the parts, which results in empowered employees and enhanced customer experiences. The businesses that pursue this unified approach will establish themselves as industry leaders and create future-proof operations.

Lachlan Feeney, Founder and CEO at Labrys

In 2022, Australia will establish itself as a global leader in blockchain and DeFi technology. In recent years, the local industry has been quietly fulfilling its immense potential and pushing the boundaries of practical and pragmatic innovation. A recent Senate Select Committee report, which laid out 12 recommendations for the Government to regulate blockchain and digital currencies, was met with a significant sigh of relief by the industry. There were fears that the Government could implement inhibiting policies that harm rather than help the industry.

In the end, much of the report was progressive; creating a strong mandate for the local industry to innovate and create real solutions with real value. In recent years Labrys has seen a significant increase in the size and scale of local blockchain projects. Now, with a more certain, supportive long-term outlook, we expect Australia’s blockchain industry will step out from behind the hype of cryptocurrencies and NFTs to establish itself as one of the leading markets in what is a truly exciting and significant technology.

Jeremy Smart, VP Sales, Asia Pacific & Japan at Acoustic

The customer experience is paramount today, and we don’t expect this to lose focus any time soon. Technology that enables brands to form deeper customer connections by helping them understand how consumers interact with their brand, what channels they prefer to communicate on, and where friction is occurring in the experience will be critical. Brands will need to focus on ID resolution to bridge the gap between digital and physical experiences, and create consistency. Businesses will also focus on enriching their first-party data to support marketing initiatives that drive better engagement, performance, value, and return. Once brands have a deep understanding of customers using this data, they will be able to personalise messaging, which has been proven to be effective in generating sales and customer loyalty. Digital experience and behavior analytics technology, like Tealeaf by Acoustic, that enables not only marketers, but product managers, IT, customer support, and more to both understand and optimise the customer experience will gain traction in 2022 and beyond.

Dave Scheine, Country Manager, Australia at Podium

While the pandemic has been undoubtedly challenging, local businesses have revolutionised the way they cater to and connect with their customers. Just as text messaging has changed the way we interact with friends and family, it’s set to have the same impact in business-to-consumer relationships. Australians are more plugged into their mobile devices than ever before, and text messages have a 209% higher response rate than emails, phone and Facebook. Additionally, four in ten Australian consumers would switch to another business if it offered text communications. This means mobile communications are no longer optional, but essential and will be a technology focus for many businesses in 2022 and beyond. 

Mobile communication provides significant opportunities for local businesses to create strong, personal and lasting relationships with customers. Consumer’s today demand customer service that is both convenient and personal, and if a business can’t provide that, they’ll look for a competitor who can. As we enter 2022, we will see this trend - and the technology that enables it - evolve.

Tamara Oppen, Managing Director at GoDaddy Australia

Since the pandemic we’ve seen a surge in Gen Z and Millennial entrepreneurs turning their passion into their purpose by starting businesses or side hustles. They’re as technologically-savvy and purpose-driven as any entrepreneurs we’ve seen before. Today, they’re building thriving online stores, creating community through blogs, email and social media marketing, analysing data and embracing AI and automation. As these innovative entrepreneurs prove they can flourish in any environment we can expect to see them do exciting things in emerging industries like agritech and cryptocurrencies, as well as pushing the boundaries of innovation in traditional industries like retail and hospitality. With technology underpinning them and purpose driving them, we expect to see some of the most exciting innovations to come from Australia’s entrepreneurs in 2022.

Paul Hadida, General Manager of APAC at SevenRooms

In 2022, there will be a greater emphasis on personalisation, customisation and marketing automation. Businesses that leverage technology and customer data to create personalised and meaningful experiences will be the ones that thrive in competitive markets. Australia’s hospitality industry was hit hard by the pandemic, but many businesses today are thriving as summer approaches and pent-up demand is released. However, when demand begins to decrease, it will be imperative that businesses capture their customer’s data so they can work smarter, leverage marketing automation and create personalised experiences. Ultimately, whether they're visiting a restaurant, shopping on the high street or buying technology for their business, people want to feel valued and understood. In 2022, leveraging customer data through technology to create more personalised experiences will be what drives loyalty and helps businesses attract, engage and retain customers.

Mads Frederiksen, Managing Director APAC at Templafy

I am excited to see the development of Web3 and the communities that are being built in that space. It’s particularly fascinating to see the growth in the number of Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAOs), as this is a new paradigm of running organisations. In the technology industry, we are used to seeing organisations rely on a top-down approach to management, however the DAO approach is bringing a fresh perspective on management and collaboration. DAOs are structured to allow work to be done remotely, asynchronously, and by whoever has the most capacity and know-how to contribute at the given time. By collaborating closely with their wider community, the community becomes a strong amplifier for both product development and marketing. As we move into 2022 and beyond, it will be interesting to see if the proliferation of DAOs will continue and how it will reflect in technology stacks and organisational practices.

Simon Le Grand, Director of Marketing at Lightspeed

These past couple of years have seen huge leaps in the hospitality industry’s use of technology. Many businesses traditionally relied on disconnected systems that drained employee time and resources, but adapted quickly as customer preferences shifted towards options that provided both convenience and a sense of safety. Now that staff and customers are comfortable interacting with technology as a component of the dining experience, the industry is set to continue on this path of positive change and innovation.

Some of the most significant advancements are contactless ordering and payments. Contactless payments have been steadily gaining in popularity due to digital wallets like Apple Pay, and more recent integration into digital ordering systems - including delivery and order ahead. The rise of at-table QR code ordering has further cemented the dominance of digital payments and tech touchpoints elevating the hospitality experience. It’s predicted that the number of digital payment users will rise from 3.8 to 6.2 million by 2025. This is going to make integrated point of sale, ordering and payments systems that connect every consumer channel and offer capabilities beyond the transaction all the more important.

Jess Noone, Market Development Director at Flux Federation

Virtual Power Plant’s (VPP’s) are an innovative technology that demonstrates the new energy ecosystem, and has the potential to deliver multi-level benefits. Many retailers are eager to explore how they may leverage VPP’s to create value for themselves and their customers.

The difference between a VPP and a “regular'' power plant is that rather than consisting of a single, large, centralised station, they are instead composed of many, smaller, geographically-distributed units, and are typically based on renewable energy sources. VPP’s rely heavily on software to collect and control assets as well as provide generation back to the grid (or from it), in exchange for payment to the individual asset owners.

VPP’s provide consumers more control over the energy they use and incentivise the use of renewable energy sources. Solar PV is the fastest growing generation type in Australia, more than 30 per cent of Australian households use solar panels. Australia is primed to lead the VPP movement and the transition to a future with more renewable energy generation.

Matt Wright, CTO at MOBI

In 2022, we will see more experiments in Crypto, NFTs and DAO. We're at the beginning of a Cambrian explosion of new ways to form capital.  There will probably be a lot of missteps in the process, though, before sustainable models are found - better regulations will help.  Another trend that will gain momentum is the convergence of Green Tech, Fintech and Machine Learning. There will be a significant shift in capital as fund managers seek to diversify away from carbon-heavy investments. At the same time, entrepreneurs will build new technology businesses around carbon tracking and combinations of Machine Learning and IoT.  I believe we'll also see breakthroughs in carbon sequestering too.

One thing that is great to see is the low-code/no-code development tools. It's great to see people build things without having to learn an entire technology stack, and the world needs more people from all walks of life building technology.

Let's hope we see more regulation around social media too, let's put the years of Facebook's algorithms running unchecked behind us and put some better safeguards in place.

Toby Cox, CTO at Dovetail

It's getting pretty hard to ignore blockchain and we can expect to see greater practical application and mainstream adoption of the technology come 2022. Next year, there will be a greater emphasis on engineers dedicating a lot of time to blockchain technology, while more financial institutions get on the bandwagon to be involved in a race to not be disrupted by new and evolving institutions. We’ll also see the emergence of more sophisticated developer tooling around blockchain. Additionally, we’ll see traditional product teams upskilling in this area, leading to better user experiences.

Outside of blockchain, with the rise of non-technical entrepreneurs and more people leveraging technology in all aspects of their lives, there will be a greater need for easy-to-use technology in the new era of “low-code” or “no-code” application and developer platforms as evolution in this space continues.

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