I regularly make predictions for the new year. Typically, writers (including myself) try to make these predictions based on some clear trends, industry analyses, and evidence from the market. But this also means that most predictions are quite conservative and miss many disruptive changes.
This year I decided to do something different – I would like to predict disruptive changes for 2022, if only because the name of our publication obliges us to do so. My attempt to make bold predictions could mean that I may be right on some significant changes or that I may go badly wrong. (Here are last year’s predictions if you want to see how I did with traditional prediction methodology). In any case, I hope this provokes thoughts and comments from everyone.
My predictions for 2022:
• People will really get fed up with personal data theft (and I don’t mean breaches, but partly ‘legalized’ data collection by internet giants) and start to demand user held data services, while activist investors will see an opportunity to step into the data market.
• Crypto, alternative crypto-based investment products and crypto payments will become mainstream; when inflation goes up, the traditional finance market won’t offer returns and many currencies will become more unstable.
• Startups will begin to prefer other funding sources than traditional VCs, especially when there is money available elsewhere. It will become easier to keep control and get professional help without besserwisser investors.
• Sensors will become deeply rooted in our daily lives. Beyond smart watches and rings, we get sensors in clothes, shoes, our homes, and on our skin. Besides, sensors will increasingly measure motion, blood, sweat, and the surrounding environment.
• Nothing significant will happen in the B2B software business; all innovation will go directly to consumers and will be built by digital services companies in-house.
Let’s look at a little bit more details on these predictions.
User-held data models. Most people are thinking more about privacy for several reasons. But this is not a big change. The big change is that people will get powerful tools to collect their personal data and utilize it. In the next year, we will have the first services where you can easily and automatically collect your personal information from multiple sources, and then use apps that run on top of your own data. Those apps will offer real value in your daily life, from healthier living and more effective exercising to be better life and money control.
Blockchain and crypto. The outlook for 2022 in the investing and financial markets and economies as a whole is very uncertain. Many stock markets are in a wait-and-see mode as the pandemic still causes problems. Political uncertainty is also high, from US-China tension to Russia’s activities near its borders, while many countries have their own domestic turmoil. At the same time, decentralized solutions can offer easier-to-use services than traditional finance services. People go to new things when they feel they are easy to use and the risk starts to look smaller.
Alternative startup investors. Crowdfunding didn’t really work; it was probably too slow for companies to raise capital. It was not a good business to operate for crowdfunding platforms, and most people feel it is complex to invest in startups. But now, hedge funds, family offices, and many other investors want to come to the startup market. Crypto-based solutions also enable more accessible and diversified ‘crowdfunding’ type services. VCs might have a role in totally new tech areas. However, rather than tech innovations, many startups will start working more with business models and operative innovations, which is less demanding for other investors too. There will be more and more entrepreneurs who really know what they do and who can buy professional help with money; they don’t need or want investors to try to dominate their strategy and operative priorities when those busy investors have minimal time to learn what is really going on with the company.
Sensor life. Sensors and data are really coming into our lives. And let’s be clear, sensors themselves won’t be a big business, but they enable many new services and businesses. Wearable sensors are getting better all the time; they can soon measure blood glucose, blood pressure, and other things without going under the skin. Then there are different sensors to measure movements, temperature, air, and bodily functions (including smart toilets). The big thing will be all those services that really help people utilize all this data.
B2B software market. If you want something distributive in enterprise IT, don’t hold your breath. This is an area where vendors still sell nice stories. Buyers want to believe in those stories when they are lazy enough to do little else. There are many parties that want to avoid any risk related to new solutions. This is also a market for risk-averse people in the next year. There will be innovations and disruptions, but they will bypass the enterprise IT market. Companies that build future solutions will make a significant part of their software in-house.
Those are my predictions for 2022. US president Abraham Lincoln once said: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” We now have our chance to think about which part of the future we will create in 2022. I have a couple of favorites on my list, and I’m making a resolution to get them to happen. Let’s all choose our own targets for how we want to create the future– hopefully, a better future. Disruptive.Asia