As 2022 is about to begin, predictions abound about the technological breakthroughs and innovations expected in the coming year. However, several highly anticipated breakthroughs, such as the metaverse, conventional companion robots, the rise of edge computing, and a rebound in new vehicle sales will not happen in 2022.
The impact of COVID-19 prevention measures, the process of transitioning from pandemic to endemic disease, and global political tensions weigh heavily on the fate of the coming year.
The metaverse will not come all at once
Despite all the headlines and investment, the metaverse will not arrive in 2022 or even within the typical 5-year forecast window. The metaverse remains more of a buzzword and a vision than a fully developed end goal with a definite arrival date. What we have today is a number of technology companies building their version of a “metaverse,” but this multiverse is not fully interconnected, does not yet widely employ open standards, and certainly has not fully embraced Extended Reality (XR), all tenets of the metaverse vision (some would also add cryptoeconomics to the list, which is also not on track).
The exponential rise of Edge Computing is not yet here.
Edge computing will continue to increase in number of deployments. However, deployments in 2022 will be by early adopters, not the start of the boom that had been predicted. Edge computing use cases and financial viability are closely tied to 5G cellular networks, both public and private. The availability of affordable 5G services on which edge computing will thrive is not yet a global reality. As a result, the adoption of edge computing will be slower than anticipated.
Companion robotics will not go mainstream
After several years in which major social robotics companies closed their doors or withdrew their commercial offerings, 2021 saw renewed investment and attention to the market and its potential. Amazon’s launch of its first social robot, the Astro, undoubtedly garnered a great deal of attention. However, despite the enormous potential of social/escort robotics, 2022 will not be the breakout year the sector is hoping for, despite the scale, price point and awareness that a player like Amazon can bring to an emerging technology market.
Semiconductor shortage has no solution
A combination of factors will delay until 2023 the resolution of shortage issues through additional capacity, verification of actual demand (vs. panic orders of 2X to 3X), and inflationary impact on consumer spending on products. Remaining risk factors include social and political risks and the ability to bring new manufacturing capacity on line in a timely manner, especially for commercial and automotive vehicles with tight engineering specifications. COVID-19 variants and the impact on nations without high vaccination rates also impact the ability to staff facilities and transport finished products and semiconductor supplies.