8 Digital Trends and Innovations for 2022

McKinsey recently calculated that the pandemic has accelerated digitalization by around seven years. The digital revolution stretches far beyond video conferencing and online shopping. Let's look ahead to 2022 and the most exciting digital trends, from decarbonization to tokenization

by Natascha Zeljko | 15 Feb, 2022

1. A Breath of Fresh Air: Neutralizing CO2.

Of course, it would be best if emissions had never become a problem in the first place. According to Statista, around 34.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide were emitted worldwide in 2020. Data from 1995 onwards shows that the amount of CO2 emitted has been increasing every year, with only minor exceptions. An increase of up to 43.1 billion metric tons is forecast by 2050. Because we are literally running out of time, so-called negative emission strategies are being pursued in addition to economizing measures. The idea is to eliminate some of the CO2 already present in the atmosphere through Carbon Dioxide Removal. This includes natural measures such as reforestation as well as high-tech applications and hybrid strategies combining nature and technology. For example, the Swiss company Climeworks pumps CO2 into the ground and mineralizes it converting it into rock, according to Handelsblatt.

2. Digital Twins: Evolution to the Power of Two

Digital twins are changing every industry. They not only offer maximum transparency, but also have additional benefits such as the networking of products through intelligent communication, cross-system control and regulation, increased efficiency, and high analysis potential. New service concepts such as predictive maintenance can also be carried out with digital twins. Therefore, they are also one of the most promising trends in the construction industry, both for new buildings and refurbishments. They also form the basis for smart buildings and even smart cities.

3. Live Stream Shopping: Shopping as an Event

Live stream shopping has been a trend in e-commerce for the last few years. In Asia, it is already a major trend; In China, 10% of all online purchases are already made via live videos. Now, globally, live stream shopping will become a hot topic of 2022. Shopping will become an experience. This is a major upgrade compared to conventional online shopping, with interaction between the brand and the customer via chat function and product presentations by a famous host. According to Forbes, the market volume in the U.S. is estimated to reach $11 billion by the end of 2022 and is expected to more than double once more by the end of 2023. Douglas was one of the first German companies to launch a live shopping channel back in March 2021, and Tchibo and Media Markt have also jumped on the trend.

4. “Hello, Rob!” The Automation of the Workplace

The shortage of skilled workers is already causing problems for the German economy. When the baby boomers retire in the next few years, the problem will get even worse. And it's not just about industrial robots stepping in to fill the gap. Administrative jobs are also being taken over by bots. After the flood in Germany in the summer of 2021, there was a rush to contact insurers. At Gothaer, they used bots from UiPath to process these enquiries, according to Wirtschaftswoche; "[The bot] can move mouse pointers, open databases, copy policy numbers, rates, addresses, click through more than a dozen apps and assemble a claims file from 50 pieces of data in seconds." The employee must then only make appointments for the inspection and initiate the claims settlement. This is just one example of successful human-machine collaboration.

5. Augmented and Virtual Reality: Completely New Perspectives

VR and AR are not new concepts, but now they are being applied to crucial applications that should finally help the technology achieve a breakthrough. Numerous industries are making use of the technology – gaming is just one of them. The technology is also gaining popularity in the real estate sector, where 3D tours are becoming increasingly prevalent. The American real estate giant Zwillow has increased its sales by 35 percent as a result, reported GeekWire. However, Meta is likely to be responsible for the actual leap in growth. Its VR headset "Oculus Quest 2" is a bestseller. Whether the Metaverse will prevail after the flop of Second Life in the early 2000s remains to be seen.

6. Tick, Tock, Token: The Democratization of the Financial Industry

The decentralization of the financial industry (also known as Decentralized Finance or DeFi) is rapidly evolving. One important driver in this context is tokenization. Digital "wrappers" allow for the automated execution of transactions on the blockchain, eliminating the need for intermediaries. Tokens make it possible to divide assets into such small units that even large investment projects become accessible to micro-investors.

7. The Best of Both Worlds: Hybrid Work Models

Work from home or in the office? Since Corona reared its ugly head, this is a decision many have had to make. But why not have both? According to a study by Slack, a hybrid work model is the most popular. On average, respondents wanted to work three days a week in the office and two days from home. This split places new demands on companies and, above all, managers. To achieve hybrid working, new technology solutions will be needed and will result in the redesign of spaces for hybrid collaboration.

8. The Countdown is On: The Space Race

Elon Musk is not the only one who has discovered the potential of space travel with SpaceX. Near Munich, Isar Aerospace is building Spectrum, a small rocket that will carry satellites into space on its maiden flight at the end of 2022. What sounds like a hobby for billionaires is actually one of the most important logistical infrastructure projects of the future. The environment and climate change can be controlled from space. This technology is also exciting for the automotive industry. Volkswagen's investment holding company, Porsche SE, has already invested in Isar Aerospace, which is now Europe's leading and best-funded private rocket start-up.

This article is part of a content cooperation between FemaleOneZero (F10) and Hager Unternehmensberatung. The company, which specializes in executive search, has repeatedly been named one of the best personnel consultancies in Germany by the magazines WirtschaftsWoche and Focus. Hager Unternehmensberatung employs around 110 people and, in addition to its extensive know-how in the field of digitalization, is also considered a specialist in issues relating to diversity and innovation.



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