Edge computing, the concept of the metaverse and the enterprise usage of non-fungible tokens (NFT) are among the top technology trends unlikely to emerge as fully-fledged booms in the new year, according to at least one tech market advisory firm.
Chief research officer at ABI Research, Stuart Carlaw, reckons these trends are not likely to have a “meaningful impact” within the technology industry during 2022.
The metaverse, which was thrown into the spotlight by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg this year with grand claims of it being the future of Facebook, focuses on the concept of a singular virtual universe, but has been chided by the firm as merely being a buzzword at this stage.
“Despite all the headlines and investments, the metaverse will not arrive in 2022 or, for that matter, within the typical five-year forecast window,” ABI Research claimed in its 70 Technology Trends That Will—And Will Not—Shape 2022 report.
“What we have today is a number of tech companies building their version of a 'metaverse', but this multiverse is not fully interconnected, does not yet widely employ open standards and certainly has not fully embraced extended reality (XR) — all tenets of the metaverse vision,” it added.
Likewise, the firm was also critical of the enterprise relevance of NFTs — essentially virtual receipts stored on the blockchain — which has generated both accord and controversy within online entertainment circles, particularly in art.
“The vast sums being exchanged over NFTs have understandably raised hopes for the application, breathing new life into blockchain interest, as NFTs could potentially also be leveraged to serve more enterprise-focused applications in real estate and manufacturing,” ABI Research said.
“The reality, however, is that enterprise blockchain is a slow-burner. The passion that drives individuals (from artists to fans) has driven the success of NFTs in that space; a mirror of the incentives that drive the market for cryptocurrency and altcoins.”
However, in the enterprise space, ABI Research claimed NFTs contain too many barriers and obstacles to outweigh their potential benefits, particularly in an environment that is typically more cautious and risk-averse than in entertainment fields.
“Too often sold as a feature, rather than an underlying technology, there are difficulties in translating the actual value that NFTs, and blockchain in general, can bring to enterprises,” the firm added.
“Beyond that, issues surrounding energy consumption (not very sustainable), pandemic-related reprioritisation, legal grey area and a general lack of proper understanding of how the technology works all impact the appeal of what would otherwise be a compelling technology.
“The year 2022 will not be the one for blockchain’s revival. Instead, it will continue to prove its case in small, incremental ways over a much longer and sustained period.”
Additionally, across the Asia Pacific region, 5G enterprise spectrums are expected to not take off in the new year, according to the firm.
“Compared to China’s push for the 6 GHz spectrum band, South Korea has published the release of the 4.7 GHz and 28 GHz bands to operators and non-telcos as enterprise spectrums for 5G deployment,” ABI Research said.
“In 2020, Taiwan saw the establishment of the world’s first smart factory powered by a private 5G mmWave network. In Southeast Asia, Malaysia is likely not supporting the drive of 5G enterprise spectrums.
“Similarly, no 5G enterprise spectrum has been published to date for Indonesia, considering the severe lack of spectrum resources with too many operators. Companies planning to deploy their own 5G network would have to collaborate with the operators.”
Nor is edge computing expected to see a boom next year, with ABI Research claiming its take up will mostly be through critical deployments by early adopters, despite a general rise in usage.
“Edge computing use cases and financial viability are tightly coupled to 5G cellular networks, both public and private,” the firm said.
“The availability of affordable 5G services on which edge computing will thrive is not yet a global reality. As a result, edge computing adoption will be slower than anticipated.”
Unsurprisingly, ABI Research also expects the semiconductor shortage to persist until 2023, with additional capacity, verification of real demand versus panic ordering and the inflationary impact on consumer spending to come into play the year after next.
“COVID-19 variants and the impact on nations without high vaccination rates also play a role in permitting staffing of facilities and transportation of finished goods and semiconductor supplies,” it added.