The tech industry is often seen as a fast-moving industry, and that’s true in many ways.
Part of the tech industry is entirely populated by professionals who “move fast and break stuff,” race to create an MVP (minimum viable product), and talk about things like “NFTs” and “Web3.” But there are also other regions where the slow integration of layers of technology means that while older tools may be overtaken by newer innovations, they are not always forgotten.
All of this, plus the inherent risk in trying to predict these days, means that coming up with a set of tech trends for the year ahead isn’t easy. But we spoke to analysts, analyzed the data, and used the expertise of the entire ZDNet team to create this month’s special report, which aims to give you at least a rough guide to what the technology will look like. in 2023.
There are a few big trends that we can be reasonably sure of.
Developers and cloud computing
The demand for tech labor isn’t abating, even though big companies have held back on hiring for the time being. Indeed, the past two years have demonstrated the benefits of technology spending. Whether it’s enabling new ways to connect with customers or supporting staff working in hybrid ways, spending on technology is now seen by bosses as an investment that brings real benefits.
Many organizations have had to rapidly accelerate their use and appreciation of technology over the past two years. That’s why many analysts are expecting spending to increase, even though 2023 promises to be a tough year for the economy in general. Therefore, the demand for developers and technology security experts, in particular, will remain strong.
Looking at specific technologies, it’s clear that the shift to cloud computing will continue, a long-term trend that shows no signs of slowing down. What could change is that companies are becoming more analytical about their use of cloud computing, which is an increasingly large part of their spend.
Finding ways to make using the cloud more efficient and cost-effective will likely be one of the top considerations next year – even as IT budgets grow, that doesn’t mean there’s room for the waste. Indeed, it’s encouraging to see that sustainability is back on the agenda for many tech organizations, which we’re likely to see more of in 2023 and beyond.
Foldable phones, metaverse and ambient computing
There are three big consumer tech trends to watch with interest in 2023, and that’s where most of the exciting innovations will be found. Small steps in 2023 that could resonate strongly in the following years.
Foldable smartphones have been around for a while, but only represent a tiny fraction of the overall market. The idea of being able to fold a larger screen and carry it around is appealing, and there are some interesting use cases for foldable phones. But the real question is whether consumers are going to want to spend their money.
The second major trend concerns virtual reality, augmented reality and the metaverse. Big tech companies have spent a lot of money on this. It looks like the core technology is reaching a tipping point, though the broader business models of the metaverse are, at best, still evolving. Headset technologies are starting to take hold and software is becoming easier to use. However, consumer interest and confidence is still low, if only because science fiction writers got there a long time ago with their dystopian vision of the future of headphones. Building consumer trust and explaining why people might want to engage is just as important a priority as the technology itself.
A technology trend that is perhaps closer, even if we cannot see it, is ambient computing. This concept has been around for decades: the idea is that we don’t need to carry technology around with us, because intelligence is embedded in the world around us, from speakers to connected homes. Ambient computing is designed to blend in with the environment around us, which is perhaps why this trend has remained invisible to many, at least until now.
In a way, long-term predictions are easier than short-term ones, especially when it comes to technology. We know the general direction of travel, but we still don’t know when we’ll get there. For decades, we have always waited five years to achieve certain breakthroughs. Maybe 2023 will be the year some of these actually start to arrive.