If 2021 was the year the world turned the tide against the raging pandemic, 2022 would be governed by the need to adapt to the new realities. Organizations and businesses are working on technologies for a better future, including rethinking the use of digital advancements to help us move forward together. Emerging competitors, who cleverly embraced flexible working environments and experiences that fuse digital and physical, will be more than happy to give legacy organizations and large firms a run for their money.
At the consumer level, technological interventions such as telemedicine and rules that fix the pitfalls of social media will help us become smarter users, better manage our lifestyles and take control of our personal data. Think of these fixes as part of your New Year’s resolutions.
NFT with superpowers
Whether you are an advocate of non-fungible tokenization technology that bypasses sly cultural gatekeepers, or an opponent who sees the fad as merely a speculative market that monopolizes taste, the world will still be filled with crypto dollars this year. . In fact, the enhanced version of NFT is already ready. NFT 1.0 acts as a registry and electronic certificate of authenticity for digital assets but the new version helps users interact with the content they have purchased or acquired. If NFT 1.0 were a video game, NFT 2.0 would be the console that embodies the experience. Unlike its predecessor, NFT 2.0 does not exist on the blockchain simply because it can connect to other NFTs and – like a stackable Lego block – add ownership. Such feature energizes content creators, increases community network and encourages people to earn NFTs instead of just buying outright.
Health Techniques to the Rescue
While COVID-19 exposed inadequacies and pitfalls in our healthcare infrastructure and medical system, technology has enabled them to fill those gaps. Remote patient monitoring and telemedicine, in which patients are provided with medical equipment, rapid diagnosis and treatment, gained great popularity when people had to follow movement restrictions and social distancing norms. Smart devices and fitness trackers are also innovating – data extracted from wearables is more organized and accurate enough to reflect a user’s medical details. For example, the Oura Ring 3 (pictured) has jumped from our wrist to our finger to track blood oxygenation with a heart rate monitor and onboard SpO2 sensor. Also, the next version of the Apple Watch may include new detectors capable of measuring glucose and alcohol levels in the blood.
Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) apps continue to boom
Once a distinctive form of credit, BNPL deals have exploded during the pandemic because they allow millennials – especially those with tight finances – to delay payment of interest for goods. Unlike credit cards issued by banks, some of these apps can be used without performing a credit risk assessment on individuals. The Edge reported that the local BNPL industry is expected to see an upward trend as Malaysia will see at least four million BNPL users by 2028. While fintech upstarts dominated the growing sector by offering credit to consumers in exchange for lucrative commissions, new players will continue to emerge in this rapidly growing industry. Having said that, unregulated financial products have raised fears of encouraging unsustainable spending and reliance on debt. Bank Negara Malaysia is working to implement the Consumer Credit Act this year to regulate BNPL schemes.
crossing the metaverse
If Facebook’s new identity, meta platforms, is any indication, the digital world is moving towards virtual reality at an alarming pace. Big tech groups predict gadgets that transport users into fantasy worlds will open up the biggest new market in software since the introduction of Apple’s touchscreen smartphones in 2007. There are already signs: Mark Zuckerberg’s empire launches the social platform Horizon World, where people attend comedy shows and movie nights inside Facebook’s virtual world; Apple’s ARKit allows developers to use the iPhone’s sensors for precise room mapping; While Microsoft has announced Mesh, which works like a video call, only with 3D holograms. Looks like a Star Wars-inspired holographic message may soon be arriving on your nearest video conferencing app.
Web3: The Next Era of the Internet
The Internet we know about now is nothing like it used to be. Web 1.0, a read-only web, includes sites that serve static content with little or no interactivity. Then came Web 2.0 in the mid-2000s. Platforms such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter leverage their Silicon Valley power to exploit user data to monetize content and sell more personalized ads. The promise of Web 3.0 is to take back some of that power. This new, blockchain-based iteration of the Internet empowers creators and reduces their reliance on large social media platforms for revenue generation. The idea has remained a theoretical grand vision for years, but 2022 could finally give people equal ownership of their presence on the Web without being bound by proprietary algorithms.
kidproofing social media
Efforts to create a safer social media landscape are finally making some progress as Instagram and TikTok are reducing harmful content to prevent younger users from being sucked in by addictive features. Following a Facebook mess last year in which a version of Instagram for kids was mooted, digital companies have promised to roll out an alternative to their algorithm-powered feeds. Instagram head Adam Mosseri announced that the brand will release parental controls for teens starting in March, along with a feature that allows parents to set time limits. TikTok, on the other hand, has started tweaking its algorithm so that users don’t end up with a feed dominated by videos about eating disorders, depression, deadly pranks and other potentially dangerous acts.
Delivery drones take flight
Mall-to-home delivery finally took off when AirAsia Digital partnered with Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Center (MaGIC) in the Urban Drone Delivery Sandbox pilot program last year to transport goods from AirAsia’s e-commerce platform. More companies have taken interest in the trend, including DHL Express Malaysia and Foodpanda. Together with Penn Aviation, DHL Express will be able to reach rural communities or disaster-affected areas, especially in Sabah and Sarawak where vaccines and medicines are critically scarce. In addition, this drone service will offer those who have lost their jobs in aviation, a second chance to rebuild their careers through e-commerce.
This article was first published in The Age Malaysia on January 10, 2022.