Our thoughts on what we can expect to see in the technology and software sector markets in the coming months.
Sixty-four World Cup football matches, 40°C summer days, countless strikes, three prime ministers, one new king. 2022 has been quite the year, bringing post-pandemic stability to some camps, and controversy and unrest to others.
However, we think this should be a time to take stock of positives, of which there have been plenty from the world of tech over the past 12 months. Harnessing technology to save our planet has been a constant theme. Think back to NASA’s DART experiment, which demonstrated how the speed and path of an asteroid could be changed (and, fortunately for the future of humankind, deflected from an impact with the Earth!). Or the recent news of a fusion energy breakthrough that could provide ‘near-limitless clean power.’ Finally, let’s not forget that the positives aren’t always on such a grand, headline-grabbing scale. Earlier this year the EU moved to mandate a USB-C charging port on all phones, tablets and cameras sold in the region by the end of 2024. Good news for cutting down on environmental tech waste and ending the frustration of having multiple chargers for multiple devices.
The tech sector is now so broad it drives much of today’s news agenda and we can expect more positives and opportunities (and, yes, challenges) to come in the year ahead. As such, here are a few of our thoughts on what we can expect to see in the technology and software sector markets in the coming months.
‘Choose your own adventure’ – and marketers will pick your own ads
Remember when Black Mirror released its ‘choose your own adventure’ episode in 2018, which allowed users to pick their preferred ending? This approach hasn’t been hugely popular in long-form content since, but 2023 could see more uptake in the personalisation of short-form, influencer-produced social media content. This would give advertisers an opportunity to target ads (and sponsored social media content), depending on the choices made by the viewer.
Apple heads into VR
VR is gaining ground. A predicted 12.5 million headsets will be sold in 2022 and $1.6 billion spent on VR software. This is mostly down to the popularity of VR and AR amongst gamers. However, the often cumbersome hardware means headsets are not yet commonplace. Could Apple’s foray into VR/AR change all this?
The company has for years pioneered approaches to device aesthetics which are now the norm, and a sleek, high-performing headset could do the same in the AR space in 2023. The other important aspect of Apple’s move is the software. It’s this software that reportedly led to a delay to the headset release, so it’ll be interesting to see how it performs and how it’ll integrate with and support the company’s other products.
The fall of super companies vs the rise of superapps
Facebook parent company Meta hasn’t had the best year, with VR games encountering problems and Zuckerberg’s dream of a metaverse still a while off widespread adoption. Similarly, Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. However, while consumers, investors and the media have been questioning the behaviour of these super companies, the popularity of the ‘superapp’ is predicted to rise in 2023.
Part of Gartner’s ‘Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends’, the superapp ‘combines the features of an app, a platform and an ecosystem in one application, providing a platform for third parties to develop and publish their own miniapps on.’ Many of us already use superapps on a daily basis: WeChat in China and Grab in Southeast Asia, for instance, offer a range of everyday services which can be browsed, paid for and used via a single phone app.
Looking ahead, it’ll be important to think not only in terms of phones and superapps. Instead, we should be considering the impact of super digital platforms. Accessibility via different touchpoints will be critical and – in a tie-in with another of our trends – it’ll be interesting to see if and how this plays out in the AR space too.
Will the UK government deliver on its digital roadmap?
The pandemic accelerated digital transformation for businesses, and as a result of rapid work, a huge range of products and services are now available online. As well as helping to streamline millions of customer journeys, this is improving business efficiencies and operations.
The UK government has also sought to modernise and digitalise, so it’s be interesting to see if it starts delivering on its ‘Roadmap for digital and data’, released earlier this year. Also released this year was its ‘Cyber security strategy’ – another one for businesses to track through 2023.
IoB for 2023
The IoB (Internet of Behaviour) is one step on from the IoT. IoB involves using IoT devices and platforms to gather data on user behaviours and preferences. It combines data and behavioural analysis to predict and influence behaviour, using more in-depth forms of data gathering like geo-location and activities, browsing history, cookies, social media engagement etc.
This is arguably what many businesses have been doing – or attempting to do – for years. As such, in 2023 marketers and advertisers will have to balance issues of data privacy and trust with benefits to the end-user. With improvements in technology (especially in AI), and companies gaining greater access to data, next year we should also see governments/policy makers having to consider new means of regulating activity.
Securing the future of apps and software with DevSecOps
The risk of data breaches and the need for robust cybersecurity will remain major concerns in 2023. DevSecOps should therefore be a prime focus for businesses looking to build new applications and business systems. This approach which marks an evolution from the traditional model of security as an add-on to software at the end of a development cycle.
The cybersecurity threat landscape is constantly shifting and evolving, and having a working knowledge of new and emerging threats and running business operations is near impossible! As such, working with an agency that integrates DevSecOps into operations and processes will be ever more critical.
Cloud computing = cost savings
Finally: looking ahead and finding positives in forecasts can seem challenging at a time of financial hardship and uncertainty. It shouldn’t be a huge surprise that our final prediction is one that promises cost-savings. Yep, it’s cloud computing.
The rise in energy costs, for instances, can be mitigated by keeping physical small footprints small. Owning hardware, on-site resources, under-utilised space in data centres etc. are all costly. Businesses would do well to use the new year to take stock of this spending and look at how shifting services and operations to the cloud can help. Again, outsourcing this and working with a trusted company are critical, so pick your partner wisely! And remember, you’re not alone and support is available. This includes financial help such as R&D tax reliefs, announced by the government earlier this year.
Before you make any decisions and prepare for the trends and opportunities ahead, take time to enjoy the rest of 2022 and we hope to see you in the new year!