2021 was another strange year for businesses across the UK. We started the year in lockdown, and while the Government lifted its restrictions in the summer, we are still feeling the continuing impacts of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
COVID-19 forced many businesses to quickly rethink, refocus and find new ways of operating.
Fortunately, technology has been the key driver in helping organisations big and small respond to the urgent need for connectivity, productivity and security, and adapt to a new way of working.
With 2022 now upon us, we still don’t know what the next 12 months may have in store.
However, it’s clear that technology will continue to play a vital role in the way businesses and organisations operate. It means the importance of vision, planning and strategy in business have never been more imperative.
So, knowing what the future technology landscape might look like and what may lie ahead is vital.
Here, we take a closer look at some of the technology trends we expect to see come to the fore over the next 12 months.
What does the future hold for technology?
Business owners and senior executives are always searching for new innovations that can help their organisations enhance their service delivery and increase revenue. Keeping up with the latest advances in technology is key to their continued success.
Technology touches every facet of business. For example, if your business is thinking about using cryptocurrency for payment services or if you’re looking to improve your cyber-security capabilities, technology will provide the solution.
Developments in cloud computing have elevated communication, collaboration and productivity to new levels, while artificial intelligence (AI) and technology that facilitates the Internet of Things (IoT) is also on the rise. Here are some of the things to look out for in 2022 and how they can help your business to thrive:
5G is the fifth generation of wireless technology. It builds on the foundations laid by 4G, creating greater bandwidth and allowing for better connectivity, speed and capacity options. 5G connectivity is already having a significant impact on many industry sectors, including manufacturing, logistics, healthcare, education, energy management and more. It can also be deployed in rural locations, enabling less-populated areas to take advantage of the benefits of this new technology.
Although still in its infancy, 5G already underpins many new and emerging innovative technologies. Businesses that don’t start adopting it now may find themselves left behind as the 5G rollout continues, so getting ahead of the curve and making the most of its enhanced capabilities is essential.
Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) technology is a new way of connecting networks that’s more flexible and reliable than traditional VPNs. It’s a form of WAN that uses enterprise-class software to unify your network rather than your hardware.
SD-WAN technology allows you to connect several of your locations to the same network without the need for expensive hardware, saving both time and money. This allows businesses and organisations to make changes or updates to their networks without having to wait for routers or other equipment to be reconfigured.
SD-WAN offers significant benefits over traditional WANs like MPLS and Frame Relay, including lower costs and more flexibility in design and deployment.
With the demand for network resources increasing massively over the past 12 months thanks to the rise in remote working in response to the pandemic, SD-WAN will continue to play a crucial role in taking the strain and facilitating the introduction of new technologies and applications.
The post-pandemic workplace looks a lot different to how it did pre-COVID. Before the events of 2020, work from home (WFH) was the exception rather than the norm and video conferencing played second fiddle to face to face meetings.
However, when lockdown measures kicked in, many businesses were forced to allow their staff to work from home wherever possible and needed to provide the technology to enable them to do so.
As the pandemic continues to subside, hybrid working – a blend of remote/WFH and office-based staff – will come to the fore. While many businesses still aren’t ready to transition to a fully remote workforce, we expect to see more firms allowing flexible remote working patterns combined with in-office time when it’s essential.
While technology will play a key role in helping your people stay connected and support virtual collaboration, communication and productivity, it’s also vital you have the right policies and procedures in place to guide this.
Closely linked to the above is advances in cyber security technology. With the continued rise in remote/dispersed workforces, security is a vital consideration.
Ensuring your users can connect to your network securely using VPN or SD-WAN technology is essential. It’s also about ensuring you’re allowing the right level of access to each user and having multi-factor authentication in place to keep things as secure as possible.
Although the technology plays a key role, it’s all about the common sense you apply to use it, ensuring that you have the right policies and procedures in place and that your people have received the right level of training and know what’s expected of them.
Windows 11, Microsoft’s new operating system, was launched in the UK in October 2021, and its rollout will continue over the next 12 months. While it comes with many promising new features and changes aimed at helping your employees stay connected, focused and productive, it may not be suitable for every business or organisation.
For a start, older PCs and devices might not be compatible with the new platform, meaning if you are using devices bought before 2015, you may be facing a costly hardware upgrade.
And at a time when more businesses are moving towards hybrid working models (see above), Windows 11 is not as flexible as Microsoft 365, a cloud-based subscription solution that supports remote working better.
AI and machine learning
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are playing an increasingly significant role in most industries. AI tools are helping organisations of all sizes improve their processes, boost their productivity and achieve greater efficiencies.
The challenge for businesses and organisations is to evolve their practices to keep up with the ever-changing technology. With systems becoming less reliant on humans, organisations need to stay up to date with the latest technologies and their capabilities.
The Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN) is being switched off and withdrawn from service in 2025. It will have a massive impact on traditional telephony, including fixed lines and services, affecting thousands of businesses and consumers.
While there are newer, more futureproof solutions available like cloud-based VOIP technology, the time to start preparing is now to ensure your business won’t be affected when the 2025 deadline passes.
Technology evolves at a frantic pace, so making sure you stay ahead of the latest trends and innovations is vital. As your technology partner, we design our managed IT support services around your business needs to keep you ahead of the curve and help you achieve improvement through technology. To find out how you can make the best use of the latest emerging technologies to help your business reach its full potential, give us a call on 01684 882700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll be happy to help.