Leadership Matters

Perspectives on the key issues impacting senior leaders and their organizations
February 3, 2022

From the Metaverse to Electric Vehicles, A Glimpse at the Future of Technology

By The Technology, Media & Telecommunications Practice

The technology trends making headlines in the first weeks of 2022 portend an interesting year ahead: from the metaverse to non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to electric vehicles, all in the context of the nearly two-year-long COVID-19 pandemic that continues to upend life across the world.

Starting with the CES proceedings in Las Vegas in early January, where topics like the metaverse and electric vehicles generated wide media attention, and continuing with news like Microsoft’s announced $75 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard and Tesla’s report of record earnings, it’s clear that there’s plenty worth looking forward to when it comes to technology this year.

As we look ahead to the year in tech, it’s worth looking at some of the major themes that came out of CES — and what they mean for technology, media and telecommunications leaders in 2022.

Going meta

The metaverse — loosely described as the “immersive internet,” focused on consumer experiences rather than the mere transfer of information — was thrust into the mainstream in 2021 when Facebook changed its name to Meta and embraced this concept as the source of its future growth.

So it wasn’t surprising that CES was awash with metaverse-focused products and services — virtual reality glasses, connectivity devices and much more. However, we found it quite interesting how many top physical-universe companies sought to connect their products with this newly burgeoning virtual world. The automaker Hyundai, for example, used CES to showcase its new “metamobility” concept, which includes a factory that connects robots within the metaverse. And Procter & Gamble created a metaverse-like world to showcase its brands, including Gillette, Oral-B and Crest, virtually in an immersive experience.

The bottom line: Regardless of how the metaverse pans out, organizations across the spectrum are embracing its possibilities. Can leaders be nimble enough to tap into its promise early on?

ESG takes center stage in tech

A range of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues are top of mind for many companies today. Samsung, for example, used much of its CES keynote speech to discuss steps it is taking toward more sustainable production and packaging.

Many other tech companies are continuing their tough internal discussions about diversity and inclusion. Our own research into the issue has shown how much companies can draw on the lessons from their digital transformation journeys to make greater progress on DE&I — by avoiding piecemeal, incremental approaches when systemic change is needed.

Technology’s ever-evolving intersection with industry

It’s hardly a “new” trend to say that technology and various industries are increasing their convergence, yet it’s still always exciting to see how leaders in different sectors are using technology in new and exciting ways.

For example, Abbott Laboratories CEO Robert Ford gave the first-ever healthcare-focused keynote at CES, unveiling the company's new line of biopharma wearables. As in other industries, we are seeing more leaders in the healthcare sector push their organizations technologically in order to expand and improve patient care.

The hybrid experience carries on

The headlines in the weeks prior to CES were about the companies that decided not to return to Las Vegas after an all-virtual 2021 show, as the Omicron surge raged across the country. Still, more than 2,000 companies attended in person, and many keynote speeches were conducted in person. And the innovations that are a hallmark of CES seemed to draw as much attention from the general public in 2022 as they might have in a “normal” year.

As much of the working world remains in remote or hybrid working situations due to COVID-19, technology continues to power forward. Strong learning cultures and some creative solutions are helping top companies continue to innovate.