For about 35 years, each end of December I would put out my predictions for the coming year. About five years ago I stopped doing this list for multiple reasons. While many of my predictions were on target, I would always state that these specific predictions were based on not only our research but from behind the scene meetings about new products that could be impactful or trendsetting in the new year.
As the tech industry began to grow and change, there were just too many areas that I felt I should cover at any end-of-year predictions. Instead of a traditional list of 10 predictions, I would have needed to cover at least 25 to give a more accurate view of what I expected in any given new year.
One last reason I stopped doing this prediction column is that by the end of the year, given my travel, heavy research schedule, and client projects, I was just exhausted and wanted to take the last two weeks of the year and just chill.
That is not to say that I don’t think of things I could put on my prediction list if I did one again. However, over the last six months I have jotted down four things I “wish” for 2022 in our tech universe. Last year I wrote a column on my five tech concerns for 2021 but this year I am posing this more as a wish list.
The first is related to Apple Watch. I have looked deeply into Apple’s overall vision for healthcare. After Steve Jobs became ill in 2005, he began to interact more closely with the health care industry and discovered how disjointed and disconnected it was. As he went through various treatments for his cancer, he developed a deeper sense of how important it is to try and prevent illness and stay healthy. Jobs’ concerns about health were bestowed on his top leadership and they began a path towards creating products and services that motivate their customers to be healthy and monitor health issues.
That vision is highly apparent in the Apple Watch that monitors things like heart rate, blood oxygen, and can take an EKG to check for defibrillation. But there are two other monitoring features that I would like Apple to add in the new year.
The first is the ability to read blood pressure. High blood pressure is often called the “silent killer” since most people don’t even know if their BP is high or low. Many third-party devices do this but having this feature on the Apple Watch is just as important as being able to take an EKG on demand.
I know Apple has been looking at this and suspect there needs to be a breakthrough in sensors or technology to take a blood pressure reading on the Apple Watch. The sooner Apple can add this the sooner they can add another life-saving monitoring feature to the Apple Watch.
I would also like them to add the ability to read blood sugars. As a diabetic who needs to check his blood sugars often, adding that reading directly to the Apple Watch would be a game-changer for diabetics.
I kind of do this now through the Dexcom G6 continuous glucose monitoring system but it is expensive and requires me to wear a special sensor and transmitter on my stomach.
For decades I had to prick my finger three times a day to get a blood glucose reading. However, with the Dexcom G6 system, which has an Apple Watch app so I can see my blood sugar levels anytime I want, has been a game-changer for anyone who uses a continuous blood glucose monitoring system. Should Apple find a way to allow the Apple Watch to read blood sugar levels directly, it too would be a game-changer and give Apple another important health monitoring system to add to the other they deliver through the Apple Watch now.
My second wish, or hope, is that the tech supply chain clears up and we get back to normal in 2022. Much has been written about the supply chain dilemma that has impacted just about every industry but the tech sector got hit the worst. From chip shortages, displays, and even twenty-five to 50 cent connectors that were backed up for various reasons, 2021 caused serious product shortages that impacted car makers to PC makers to creators of medical equipment, etc.
Add to that the fact that container ships backups and not enough workers at destination ports to unload them and this year in supply chain hell made 2021 more memorable with a serious economic impact that affected a lot of people around the world.
I have been talking to key players in the supply chain and most tell me that much of the problems in the traditional supply chain should be cleared up by mid-2022. The one sticking problem is the chip shortages. The reality is that demand is very high and we don’t have enough manufacturing capacity to meet all of the needs. Every industry is going through a digital transformation and demand for processors, memory, etc is at an all-time high.
The key players I talk to in the chip industry say that this problem will last well through 2022, and even most of 2023 until more fabs come online in the middle of 2024 at the earliest. While I hope for the best, I fear that the chip shortages are something we have to work around and live with for at least a couple of more years.
The third thing that I wish is for Taiwan to stay out of China’s hands in the coming year. China claims rights to this island nation but for tech, it is a serious place where TSMC and most of the major ODM’s have their operations.
I wrote about this in a Fast Company article late last year and pointed out the following-
“Taiwan is very important to the tech industry since most of the companies that perform contract manufacturing are headquartered there, as is TSMC, the world’s largest for-hire chip maker. It is too early to tell how fast China could move to nationalize Taiwan, but this has been its goal for decades. Now, high-level Taiwanese tech executives see this as a real possibility, and it could have an unknown impact on our current tech market in the future.”
What I wrote a year ago is even more important today. During 2021 China has made their intent on taking back Taiwan and doing a lot of saber-rattling to emphasize their intentions. Thankfully the U.S., Australia, the UK, and even France are standing up to China and while not outright saying they will protect Taiwan’s independence, their current position and naval activity are meant to send a message to China that much of the western world will not stand back and allow China to invade Taiwan.
Given China’s recent moves, there are heightened concerns about China’s timing and how best to keep them from any type of military action. I hope and wish that 2022 will give both sides breathing room for diplomacy to play out and we not see any aggressive moves by China to invade and take control of Taiwan.
My one last wish for tech is that people get more control of their privacy. Apple has done a lot to protect its customers from a barrage of unwanted ads and solicitations, which is a good start. But Apple can’t be the only one who works hard for their customers’ privacy rights. It looks like Congress and the FTC will take this issue seriously in 2022 and could force companies to protect their customers’ privacy by edict. But those who are leaders in the tech industry should be leading the charge and not waiting for regulatory laws that would force them to do right by their customers.
I have other wishes too but these are the four main ones I have thought a lot about over the last three months. I am crossing my fingers hoping that these wishes come true.