WGSN: Top Consumer Tech Trends for 2022 & Beyond
The much-anticipated flying taxi, a focus on sound, and space as the final commercial frontier, are among the trends expected to feature on the technology radar next year
WGSN Consumer Tech
12.02.21 · 3 minutes
Jessie Wong for WGSN
Flying taxis

Ongoing urban traffic congestion and Covid-19 disruptions have contributed to the desire for more personal and private forms of transportation.

The autonomous urban air mobility (UAM) market is set to be worth $1.5tn globally by 2040, according to Morgan Stanley Research. Another study by Frost & Sullivan sees air taxis beginning in 2022 in Dubai and expanding with an annual growth rate of 46% to reach more than 430,000 units in operation by 2040. A confluence of technologies are driving this trend, including autonomous vehicles such as drones and self-driving cars, more efficient batteries and advanced manufacturing techniques. At least 20 companies are active in the UAM market, including startups and major brands – Boeing, Airbus, General Motors, Daimler, Hyundai and Toyota are all developing working prototypes for air taxis. UAM is of much interest to civic and urban planners who, despite the potential for noise pollution, see it as a way to relieve congestion on the streets.

Jessie Wong for WGSN
Wearable temperature control

Amid the emergence of smart wearables that offer Bluetooth connectivity, memory alloys and biometric monitoring, textile designers are beginning to integrate climate control.

For performance and athletics, brands are designing products that reduce body heat so wearers can maintain comfortable temperatures while exercising. US-based District Vison’s Air-wear Tech fabric provides air flow based on movement, while US-based research university MIT’s bioLogic enables the body to cool down by evaporating sweat. Ralph Lauren debuted its RL COOLING technology while outfitting the Team USA flag-bearers at the 2020 Olympics, dispensing heat from the wearer’s skin and optimising temperature. As global temperatures rise, e-textiles can be used to decrease the climate impact of air conditioning and provide personalised temperature monitoring instead. With sustainability and hyper-personalisation both top of mind, temperature-controlled wearables will seamlessly integrate into the health and wellness tech category, providing benefits across performance and personal care.


Jessie Wong for WGSN
Phygital workforce

Remote working is here to stay. As the working environment evolves, expect AR/VR platforms to play a role in creating virtual offices.

An estimated 22% of Americans are projected to work from home through to 2025. As the expectations of employees have changed, AR/VR platforms are meeting the needs of remote teams and elevating performance by creating virtual office environments for the future workforce. Facebook’s Horizon Workrooms offer remote collaboration, available on Oculus Quest 2 for mixed-reality brainstorming and communication. The onboarding of new recruits will benefit from AR training tools, offered by companies such as US-based Virti and Taqtile, in terms of engagement and costs. Indonesia-based SmartEye reports a 70% reduction in training costs for companies that use its VR Testing tool, which enables technicians to gain faster experience in their role. This also opens up room for companies to experiment with augmentation as a form of togetherness through holograms and VR workspaces. Expect workplace applications to be a major area of innovation for 2022 and beyond as consumers and brands adapt to new ways of working.

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Sonic encounters

Sound is set to be the next area of focus for innovators. Brands are developing new modes to experience music across industry categories to meet growing consumer desire for sensorial experiences and personalised sound.

In music production, look to Kanye West’s Donda Stem Player, which allows users to customise any song with audio engineering tools including four-channel lossless audio mixing, realtime loop and live samples. In the automotive industry, sound is becoming increasingly immersive, as seen in US-based Lucid Motors' partnership with Dolby Laboratories, which has created the world’s first car to offer Dolby Atmos audio, a “captive sound chamber” designed to feel like a recording studio. HARMAN, a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, has shifted gears to auto with its Personal Audio Headrest platform. The retractable headrest speaker wings allow each passenger to customise their volume and sound experience. The relationship between sound and wellness is also being explored, with hearables offering new opportunities for hyper-personalised sound that adapts according to users’ health needs.

Jessie Wong for WGSN

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