The end of the year makes us think about what the next few months will bring. But before we start forecasting new trends, let's pause and look back because an exciting year is behind us. The crash of cryptocurrencies, which changed our approach to this innovation in the financial market by 180 degrees, and the metaverse entry into fashion showrooms or the data fabric phenomenon confirm that 2022 was an eventful time.
The fact that innovative solutions have become a permanent feature of our everyday lives is no longer news. What is much more interesting is the feelings they evoke and what they are changing in our daily lives. Which technological trends have resonated most over the past 12 months?
The term cryptocurrency is probably no longer unfamiliar to anyone. Indeed, this innovation, which has changed the face of the financial market, has had as many supporters as sceptics. The latter could legitimately say, “I told you so”, on hearing the news of the sudden collapse of the third largest cryptocurrency exchange. The speculated bankruptcy of FTX, which loomed on the horizon in November, triggered a veritable avalanche of cryptocurrency prices, including the most well-known one, bitcoin. As the Wall Street Journal reported, within 72 hours, customers withdrew the equivalent of as much as $6 billion from the exchange. Just a year earlier, no one would have expected such a situation, with the rate, for example, of bitcoin reaching a record high of $68 990. The crisis of confidence, along with the cryptocurrency discount, affected many companies in the industry and brought some to the brink of bankruptcy.
How did it affect the market? Experts compare the impact of FTX's collapse to the 'Lehman Brothers effect', the investment bank whose collapse in 2008 triggered the crash of the global financial system. As rumours circulated that FTX, founded by industry icon Sam Bankman-Fried, was unable to meet its creditors, a massive sell-off of assets by platform users accelerated both the company's collapse and an additional crash in the prices of some of the world's largest cryptocurrencies. Will cryptocurrencies return to favour again? Time will tell, but they are certainly one of the most exciting phenomena of recent years.
There is a lot of buzz about the metaverse concept. Whether it fascinates us or raises doubts, there is no denying that there is a lot of talk about it. Interestingly, it has even captivated the fashion and culture market associated with pickiness. And there are at least several reasons behind this. Over the years, the relatively conservative luxury fashion market has been opening up to new things. Fashion houses are refreshing their image and trying ever harder to reach younger consumers. These, in turn, are spending an ever-growing amount of time online, seeking personal interaction with brands there. Brands are even creating positions dedicated to digital development, such as the CEO building Gucci's growth strategy in a virtual environment.
The first-ever fashion week at Decentraland, a 3D platform based on the idea of a virtual world, also generated a lot of publicity. High-class fashion houses such as Paco Rabanne, Tommy Hilfiger and Dolce & Gabbana have also taken part in the shows, and the event itself has caught the attention of critics who point out that, despite its super old-fashioned form, the virtual fashion week has generated real-life hype. What is more, the industry is starting to award accolades for digital activities. A great example is the Fashion Award given to the over 150-year-old Burberry brand for its Metaverse World and Gaming Experience.
Have you heard of data fabric? If not, it is high time to look at the subject. Data surrounds us from everywhere – even the smallest purchase leaves a trace in the form of cookies or other data to facilitate ad targeting. The fact that companies make profits from it and that data is the new fuel is not new. What is more difficult is the processing of large amounts of information, and here a solution that is growing in popularity is Data Fabric. This innovative architecture assumes that since today's business world is data-driven, all IT layers should support data handling and make the process easier and more cost-effective.
A recent survey by EY found that for 41% of organisations, the biggest challenge with their data is the data quality, and 14% of them struggled to access the right technology and data infrastructure. The answer is Data Fabric, which creates a set of tools that enable an organisation to manage data regardless of where the model is processed and stored. Research firm Gartner, in turn, claims that analytics, part of Data Fabric, helps reduce data management efforts by up to 70% and accelerate the time to value.
Approximately 87% of respondents to a BCG survey said artificial intelligence is a helpful tool in the fight against climate change. They see the most significant business value for AI in reducing and measuring emissions. Its use promises to make processes and workflows faster and more efficient. Moreover, AI is also well-suited to help predict climate-related risks, improving long-term forecasts of local events such as sea level rise or upgrading early warning systems for extreme events such as hurricanes and droughts.
Green thinking about technology is undoubtedly one of the key trends in the market. The issue is commented on not only by activists but also by business leaders, such as one of the wealthiest men in the world – Bill Gates. Organisations that understand the importance of implementing environmentally sustainable solutions can, in the long term, count not only on image-building measures but also on actual business results, such as increased revenues. The key is to trigger 'green' thinking instead of being as green as grass.
VR and AR technology entered the market almost ten years ago and has firmly established itself in the industry. According to forecasts, their value could exceed $209.2 billion this year. At the same time, they have increased the number of jobs in the field of the two technological realities. This is an undeniable, already long-term trend that has crept into our daily lives. An example? They are finding applications in science, education, entertainment or... therapy and medical treatment. The use of virtual reality in the art world is also an interesting example - the VR Museum of Fine Art allows users to view world-class paintings and sculptures up close – including the Mona Lisa – without fighting with crowds or protective glass. And while attitudes to these technologies are mixed, they are undoubtedly growing in strength and may surprise us.
“As we look back at the year that was, one thing is clear: the tech world never fails to surprise us. From the fast-paced rise and fall of the cryptocurrency market, the metaverse being even more integrated into real-world events to finishing the year on the ChatGPT - the best language-based AI ever created. Whether with unexpected collapses, innovative solutions or breathtaking wonders of human ingenuity, we can rest assured that this was another year of progress that brought us even closer to living in the future. Here's to the next year of technological wonders – and maybe a few more surprises too,” summarises Filip Kłos, Communications & Marketing Senior Specialist at ERGO Technology & Services S.A.