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Virtual Reality Gets Standardized and Teams Continues to Grow: Tech Predictions for 2022
It's that time of year again to make some bold proclamations on what our tech future has in store for us.
Over about the last ten years or so, it has become something of a tradition for me to use some of my final blog posts of the year to make Tech predictions about what we might see in the coming year. I’ve always made it a point not to take these predictions too seriously, but at the same time I have always tried to give you my honest opinion about things that I see happening over the next year.
As I make these Tech predictions, I always adhere to two main rules. First, I tried to stay away from making any prediction that is super obvious. Second, I try to avoid repeating the same predictions that all of the other industry analysts are making. The end result is that my year-end predictions are usually a little bit off the wall, and I have a mixed track record with regard to the accuracy of my predictions. Even so, I call them like I see them.
So with that said, here are my predictions for 2022.
VR / AR Manufacturers Begin to Standardize Devices
Right now there are countless VR and AR headsets available in the market ranging from low end consumer devices to insanely expensive devices that are geared toward the enterprise.
While I think that there will always be base models and high-end models available, I think that over the next year we are going to start to see more standardization among devices than what we have seen in the past. The reason why I say this is fairly simple. In 2021 Facebook, Microsoft, and others have made major investments in the metaverse. Prior to that, VR technology was beginning to stagnate. After all, the Microsoft mixed reality portal had not seen a new feature in a couple of years.
Headset manufacturers know that these major investments in the metaverse are likely to be a cash cow for them, and are going to do whatever it takes to position there headsets to take full advantage of these new offerings. This is inevitably going to drive standardization.
Teams Morphs into Some Kind of Super Application
Earlier this year, I predicted that Microsoft Teams might eventually replace Outlook. While I still think that that prediction will eventually come to pass, I actually think that Microsoft has even bigger plans for Teams. Microsoft has already begun integrating Fluid Framework components into Teams, and that’s going to allow Teams users to be able to collaborate in ways that they haven’t been able to in the past. My guess is that it will take some time, but Microsoft will eventually add full-blown document authoring, editing and collaboration capabilities to Teams. It’s hard to say with this will actually look like, but I envision users being able to collaborate on Word and Excel documents in real time, without ever having to leave Teams.
Hardware Vendors Focus on Firmware
Another trend that I think we are probably going to see in 2022’s hardware vendors focusing on improving existing products through a series of major firmware updates. Now obviously firmware updates are nothing new. The vast majority of IT hardware vendors release firmware updates from time to time. However, I think that these updates are going to be handled a little bit differently at some point in the coming year. Let me explain.
Right now, there are major supply chain shortages all over the world. The supply chain shortages have already had a dramatic impact on the availability of electronic devices. Last summer for example, I tried to buy a digital camera and my first four picks were unavailable. Similarly, car dealerships suffered major inventory problems this past summer because manufacturers had difficulty getting the chips and other electronic components that they needed in order to assemble their vehicles.
Even if the supply .chain went back to normal tomorrow, it is going to take a while for IT hardware manufacturers to catch up from the shortages that have been experienced over the last year. However, manufacturers have a long history of creating products with hidden capabilities that go well beyond what is advertised. Consider for example, that it is often possible to overclock a CPU and achieve levels of performance that go beyond those officially supported by the manufacturer. That being the case, I am expecting to see some hardware vendors begin to offer (possibly even sell) firmware updates that had significant new capabilities to existing products.
Tech Companies Diversifying
Being that there is so much uncertainty in the world today, I am predicting that over the next year we are going to see some technology companies that have historically focused solely on the enterprise market begin to diversify. We might see some of those companies begin to offer consumer versions of its products. For example, we may see enterprise network hardware vendors suddenly start making consumer Wi-Fi products or we might see Microsoft announce a consumer version of its HoloLens.
Massive Feature Pack for Windows 11
One last prediction for the upcoming year is that at some point in 2022 Microsoft is going to release a major feature pack for Windows 11. While such a feature pack will undoubtedly be released at some point, right now Microsoft is trying to deal with a relatively low Windows 11 adoption rate. In fact, I recently read that only about 9 percent of its Windows customers have upgraded.
My guess is that a lot of people have little reason to upgrade to Windows 11 because Windows 10 is familiar, reliable and does everything that they need it to do. Additionally, Windows 11 is widely perceived as being little more than Windows 10 with a fresh coat of paint. As such, it seems almost inevitable that Microsoft will create a major feature update for Windows 11 as a way of differentiating Windows 11 from Windows 10.
Brien Posey is a 20-time Microsoft MVP with decades of IT experience. As a freelance writer, Posey has written thousands of articles and contributed to several dozen books on a wide variety of IT topics. Prior to going freelance, Posey was a CIO for a national chain of hospitals and health care facilities. He has also served as a network administrator for some of the country's largest insurance companies and for the Department of Defense at Fort Knox. In addition to his continued work in IT, Posey has spent the last several years actively training as a commercial scientist-astronaut candidate in preparation to fly on a mission to study polar mesospheric clouds from space. You can follow his spaceflight training on his Web site.