OPINION

Health, cars and connectivity, all big players in tech advancement predictions for 2022

Smart home tech will continues to grow in 2022, after all you might want to remotely open the garage to let a freight drone drop off a parcel while watching on a security camera. Picture: Shutterstock.
Smart home tech will continues to grow in 2022, after all you might want to remotely open the garage to let a freight drone drop off a parcel while watching on a security camera. Picture: Shutterstock.

I'm not sure why I do it to myself. Technology changes constantly. Countless organisations and people across the world are involved in research and development to create new technology solutions.

These solutions are both for problems we have today and for problems we don't know we will have tomorrow. Only a few years ago I didn't know I needed a device on my wrist that would allow me to pay for my supermarket items with a wave of my arm ... but now I couldn't live without it. That is one of the greatest challenges for tech innovators.

Solving a known problem is hard enough. Creating a solution that will have widespread adoption, for a problem people didn't even know they had ... that's the holy grail of innovation.

We all thought the fax machine was pretty nifty until e-mail came along. Can you remember the last time you used a fax? Having a device on the wall in your home that allowed you to speak with someone in their home was incredible. Now we have mobile phones, how often do you use an old-fashioned landline phone?

So with that backdrop, I am going to try and predict what we will see in 2022. To make it harder, I believe that the silver lining from COVID-19 is an increase in technology adoption and innovation.

If you had asked me at the beginning of 2020 if technology could progress any quicker, my answer would have been no.

On February 15, 2020 one of my technology businesses celebrated its 30th anniversary, which was partly a celebration of the previous 30 years of technology advancements. I had no idea that only 25 days later the World Health Organisation would make a pandemic declaration that would lead to two years of shutdowns and disruptions.

I have stalled long enough. Here goes ...

Healthcare will continue to change dramatically this year. We used to accept that it was OK to travel for hours to have a five-minute consultation with a medical specialist. Telehealth will continue to make huge inroads as the technology improves and users at both ends become more comfortable with its use. Now a five-minute consultation can take ... five minutes!

Knowledge of our own health will continue to improve as a range of wearables and home devices focus on our health. Watches that monitor heart rates, perform an electrocardiogram (ECG) and check temperatures will be commonly available.

Accuracy of activity with steps and movement will improve. Home scales and devices will give us the ability to measure body composition over different parts of our body and temperature and blood-pressure. And, to tie it all together, apps will be developed that allow all of this data to be stored centrally and shared with your medical professionals.

As good as Dr Google is at giving a hypochondriac a range of diseases to choose from, we will still rely on our real doctors, but we will have much more information to present to them. With all of this additional information, I am not convinced it will actually make us any healthier, but we will know just how unhealthy we are.

On a more serious note, remote monitoring also will see more people establishing long-term primary care relationships with virtual providers. Grandma will be able to stay in her own home for longer with the help of technology.

I may have said this before, but surely the momentum has now reached the status of a tsunami. An unstoppable wave that you know is coming and you better prepare for it.

2022 is the year that the "early majority' will start to accept that the future is electric. The future of cars that is. In the "diffusion of innovations" model proposed by Everett Rogers in 1962, the "innovators" and "early adopters" have already started to adopt electric vehicles (EVs) around the world.

Australia is lagging behind, which is unusual for this nation. We are known across the world as progressive in our adoption of technology. For reasons usually linked to laggard government policy, we are dragging our knuckles in this area. That will change this year. Already there are 31 different EVs to choose from and a combination of decreasing prices and increasing range, will see more EVs on our roads than ever before.

When you look at the initial data from car sales from 2021, you might think I have continued on New Year celebrations for too long. Australians bought over one million new cars last year - 21.8 per cent of those were Toyotas who have no EVs in their range. Toyota outsold the number two brand, Mazda, by 221 per cent. That sounds like a very strong position.

Companies that fail to see market trends can fall very quickly. Keep in mind that Nokia was still the number one worldwide seller of mobile phones in 2011 and in 2007 they outsold the number two brand (Motorola) by 265 per cent. Where are they now?

Back to cars. In Australia, only 1.5 per cent of all sales were EVs. That doesn't look good but my prediction is based on other data. Countries such as Norway, Iceland and Sweden have EV sales as high as 75 per cent. When you look at combined hybrid, plug-in hybrid and EVs in Australia, we almost reach 9 per cent and lastly, Toyota sell 2,236 per cent more cars than Tesla in Australia yet the market capitalisation of Tesla is 363 per cent greater than Toyota. On a worldwide scale, Tesla only sells 9.8 per cent of the Toyota volume. There is a reason that the value of the company is so high and that is based on investor confidence in the future of EVs.

Lastly, the combination of new Wi-Fi standards and the continued expansion of the 5G network will finally see a dramatic increase in devices connected to the internet as part of the Internet of Things (IoT). These devices will vary dramatically and will be connected for a range of different reasons.

Your car will be connected so you can monitor the battery charge levels or see where it is currently located. Devices in your smart home will be connected so you can control devices remotely or monitor your home from a security perspective. You might want to remotely open the garage to let a freight drone drop off a parcel while watching on a security camera.

Farmers will also see applications with IoT. Equipment monitoring is important but the real progress will be seen in soil monitoring. Being able to monitor moisture and nutrient levels in the soil - real time - means that just the right amount of water and fertiliser can be delivered to maximise crop yields and minimise costs. Even your dog can be connected so you can see what adventures your pet gets up to during the day.

Health, cars and connectivity. Three big areas that have progressed significantly over recent times with no sign that the progress will slow down.

  • Mathew Dickerson is a technologist, futurist and host of the Tech Talk podcast.
This story What to expect from tech world in 2022 first appeared on The Canberra Times.