The tech industry has been hit hard over the past few months by a triple whammy—mass layoffs on the heels of the “great resignation”, disappointing growth and earnings reports from major players, and doubts about the industry’s overall ability to withstand or even prop up a shaky global economy.
Despite the precarious situation, it somewhat ironically—or by premonition—doesn’t mean tech companies should or can afford to pull back their typically bullish nature and stop investing in the futures of their companies or industry. In fact, tech spending overall is expected to rise 5.1% in 2023, according to newly released Gartner research. There is a realization that to remain competitive, tech companies cannot cease investment, but rather need to define a clear investment strategy heading into 2023, that’s aligned with and responsive to where the market is headed.
Let’s explore five must-know trends every tech company should be watching in 2023—trends that may help companies decide where they want to invest their limited resources to get maximum return on investment and—more importantly—weather the current digital storm.
1. Superapps will increasingly eclipse apps.
Companies traditionally offer at least one app (whatever their increasingly broad definition of it may be) and, increasingly, a suite of apps. The problem is that as more and more functionality and features get built into these standalone apps, they start to show their increasing limitations, becoming more reminiscent of a 90s webpage experience than an enabling, user-focused and elegant productivity tool. That’s why traditional apps are starting to be eclipsed by Superapps, which combine and integrate the features and services offered by multiple standalone apps (or systems) into a single, seamless experience.
The component apps within a Superapp are known as Miniapps; they provide a range of customized services that the user can add and remove as needed. More than 50% of the global population will be daily active users of Miniapps by 2027, according to Gartner research. Once tech companies start thinking in terms of Superapps, a world of possibilities opens: Superapps can be used to create more engaging, integrated user experiences than standalone apps. Superapps can have all of their Miniapps integrated with a single chatbot, interact in a synergistic fashion with Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and even shape the experiences of metaverse users. Moreover, Superapps enable tech companies to collect data on users in a more holistic, integrated way—insights that are invaluable as tech companies look to keep users active, engaged, and satisfied. Whatever your definition, point of view, or current investment is around how apps serve and grow your customers and business, understanding this shift could be critical in your organizational strategic planning during 2023.
2. Selling digital assets will increasingly go mainstream.
Buying and selling digital assets in the metaverse may still seem like a very experimental, niche market, but it’s increasingly going mainstream. Already, consumer brands like Nike, Adidas, and Forever 21 have been selling digital goods that can be worn, traded, and displayed in the metaverse. Significantly, the ability to sell and buy these digital assets will not rely on traditional financial channels; instead, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that are the products of a decentralized internet built on blockchain will become the new “currency” that enables users to own their digital assets.
Owning digital assets will become so mainstream and commonplace that by 2030, e-commerce in the metaverse is expected to balloon into a $2.6 trillion industry, according to 2022 McKinsey research. Tech companies need to be prepared to support these tectonic shifts in where and how consumers are spending their money; the economic opportunity is simply too significant to pass up. While many companies struggle to grasp (let alone leverage or monetize) how NFTs and digital asset markets operate and influence their industry, the worst thing a business owner, investor or decision-maker can do is be ignorant of what may be an influential 2023 shift.
3. The metaverse will evolve into a truly immersive, engaging world.
One of the biggest reasons that the metaverse hasn’t already taken off is that it’s not immersive and engaging enough for the average consumer—yet. To date, the “average user” has plugged into the metaverse primarily via headsets that use virtual reality, augmented reality, and/or mixed/extender reality technology. Admittedly, this technology may seem to provide limited appeal or utility today, but these multidimensional immersive experiences are evolving rapidly, with tech giants like Apple and Google continuing to pour money into making their use as ubiquitous as Facebook or TikTok is today—it’s really just finding the correct or appropriate application of the technology holding it back from potential ubiquity.
Moreover, the way that consumers experience the metaverse won’t be limited to just next-generation headsets. Full-body haptic suits—in use by NASA and SpaceX for simulating extreme environments—will increasingly go mainstream, creating far more realistic and immersive digital worlds for metaverse users. Tech companies are even developing smells to complement and enhance the metaverse experience. The metaverse absolutely will take more than a single year to fully evolve and become part of our business or personal lives, but 2023 is shaping up to offer an inflection point where, at the very least, our understanding, appreciation, and discussions around it grow and mature faster than any year prior. As tech companies lead the way in enabling and capitalizing on these advancements and the opportunities they present, they will increasingly usher the average consumer into the metaverse. Can you afford to be left behind, or remain unaware of what your competition is doing in this space?
4. Data analytics will become more sophisticated.
The average tech company has no shortage of data within its systems, processes, and customers—but that doesn’t mean it’s readily able to be analyzed and used to drive decision-making. To the contrary, data is traditionally siloed, scattered, and often considered untrustworthy. Even when it’s dissected, compiled and presented, it cannot be readily integrated to produce meaningful and justifiable business insights. That’s why the tech industry is undergoing a revolution in how data are collected and analyzed—resulting in adoption of entirely new data models.
The two data models that continue to gain the most traction are data lakes and data fabric/mesh; the number of companies investing in each model is expected to increase 5% in 2023 alone, according to Info-Tech 2022 industry research.
Data lakes enable companies to store unstructured information in raw formats—ready to be retrieved and used for any purpose. In this way, data lakes eliminate the inherent restrictions and limitations of storing data in structured, inflexible formats—formats that tend to lessen the accessibility and utility of the data. The other new data model gaining traction is data mesh architecture, which enables data sets to be treated as products that are owned by the teams that are most familiar with the data; these teams, consequently, are able to use their own data to innovate faster and more effectively.
Moreover, the concept of gathering, analyzing, and attempting to extract business value from data is not new to any technology company—what really needs to change is the perception and adoption of the data as an unquestionable decision influencer/maker and organizational health indicator. These new methods of data collection, structuring, and analysis may be the catalyst for this stronger adoption and application of the true power of data-based decision making.
5. Demand for data processing and storage capacity will grow exponentially.
Two years ago, the world was generating 64 zettabytes of data annually that needed to be processed and stored; by 2035, self-driving cars alone will require as much as 15,000 zettabytes, according to 2022 CoBank industry research. Eye-popping statistics like these underscore how fundamentally and completely the demand for data processing and storage capacity will be transformed in the coming years.
For the tech industry, it means that many new data centers will need to be built, much more fiber laid, and potentially more critical analysis of the type, value, and volume of data we generate or ingest (as their associated costs increase). Meanwhile, these data storage and processing centers will need to be located geographically much closer to where the data are being used—a requirement that is not only central to enabling the ultra-fast network speeds that consumers will increasingly require and demand, but often to also consider compliance or security considerations. To meet these demands, tech companies need to start laying a foundation for this wholesale transformation now, while consumers or dependents on these facilities need to use 2023 (and beyond) to critically evaluate their data storage and processing needs to provide and protect their outsourced infrastructure as demand grows exponentially.
Tech companies cannot afford to sit idly by as consumer expectations and demand evolve dramatically in the coming years. To regroup around our selection of topics, as tech companies consider how to make strategic investments in 2023 that help them stay competitive, key areas to watch include:
- The rise of Superapps
- Massive increases in digital asset sales volumes and opportunities
- The unrelenting buildout of the metaverse as an immersive and engaging world for consumers and businesses
- Technology and perception shifts in data gathering, structuring, and analytics
- Exponentially growing demand for data processing power and secure, reliable storage capacity
Simplus specializes in helping tech companies prepare for and thrive in a relentlessly fast-paced world. To learn more about how Simplus helps tech companies stay ahead of the technology curve, please reach out to us today. We look forward to working together to future-proof and optimize your organization to thrive in 2023 and beyond.