2020 bought total disruption to research and development (R&D).
Despite our hopes, 2021 brought a constant state of uncertainty.
These two years have incited a huge shift in what societal issues R&D will seek to address moving forwards.
Businesses have been forced to examine how to stay on top of ever-changing consumer behaviour, with novel software and ethical goods production stepping into the spotlight.
In this blog, we’re going discuss which areas of research & development we expect to dominate 2022, and fulfill the needs of today’s world.
🤖 Software development: Increasing speed of data insights
Real-time data has been a hot topic within R&D for a while now. But still, the industry is yet to catch up with just how quickly insights can be delivered.
The speed of data collection has accelerated at lighting speed, steered by advancements in research technology. This is providing businesses with the chance to not only gather insights faster, but to watch the data intelligence come through in real-time.
2022 will see an influx of companies catching on to how quickly they can access consumer data and intelligence. With that, R&D is likely to increase in software development rooted in automation.
💻 Software development: Workforce collaboration software
Since the initial work from home order way back in March 2020, workforce collaboration software, or ‘productivity software’, has forced its way to the forefront of business operations.
Almost two years on, the transition to working from home has gone down all too well, with 78% of survey respondents saying they would prefer to work in the office for only two days or less, and 31% saying they would prefer to remain fully remote.
This demand for flexible working, alongside the 2021 ‘Great Resignation’, has resulted in a widespread re-evaluation of what a productive workplace can and should look like.
Where overall business spending naturally fell in response to COVID-19, research indicates that companies have maintained, if not increased, digital transformation budgets to meet the needs of their newly remote workforce.
Moreover, a recent study from the Institute of Financial Studies (IFS) uncovered that, over the past year, 70% of UK businesses chose to increase or sustain investments in digital technologies, while only 19% planned on cutting tech budgets.
For this reason, software and technology R&D has an opportunity to excel in 2022 in terms of building the apps and digital infrastructure needed to connect employees and streamline collaborative tasks.
🌍 FoodTech, Fashion, CleanTech: The socially conscious consumer
In recent years, we’ve seen a change in perspective surrounding consumption. From the clothes we wear, to the food we eat, society is increasingly keen to obtain sustainably-sourced goods.
This has manifested across the R&D landscape, with researchers, developers, and consumers pushing for eco-friendly solutions to issues within the fossil-fuelled food supply and fast-fashion, in particular.
Meat-free alternatives are an example of how research and development is taking note of the socially conscious switch. The UK is now providing Europe’s largest market for plant-based foods, with 1 in 4 people now actively cutting back on animal products.
The plant-based sector is one of the fastest-growing food categories, estimated to reach $80 billion of sales worldwide by 2024. Soon, we’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to eco-friendly eating.
🏥 MedTech: Technological healthcare solutions
Another post-pandemic demand is the prominence of digital technologies within the medical industry.
From hospitals implementing software to offer isolated patients contact-free healthcare services, to research & development firms creating AI applications to help relieve some of the sector’s strain, digital solutions have helped to support the healthcare system through an extremely difficult time.
And the integration of medical practices and technology is going nowhere.
Dr Amy Molten, director of medicine at Buoy Health, insists that health-oriented chatbots are critical to the advancement of efficient and accurate patient assessments.
These areas of R&D are just a few that are predicted to gain momentum throughout 2022.
The world is a significantly different place than what it was just two years ago, with both consumers and innovators re-prioritizing what they support and what they create.
We want nothing more than for research and development to resume at great momentum.
2022, don’t let us down!