Our innovation team has peered into the not-too-distant future, and these are our (optimistic) predictions for the next 12 months…
The government will drive innovation in critical areas, resulting in a boom in the science and technology sectors
A collision of Brexit, the pandemic, the levelling up agenda and policies stemming from the Integrated Review will shape what government-led innovation looks like in 2022.
New research from the UK’s Digital Economy Council has shown that jobs and investment is flowing throughout the UK to hubs like Cambridge, Manchester, Oxford and Edinburgh where academic excellence and startup communities collide.
In 2022 and beyond, government-led innovation will become hyperlocal and led by the LEP Network and local authorities. Now that we have the Council for Science and Technology, the government will ramp up innovation in areas like AI, quantum computing and life sciences that are strategically important to the UK.
It will similarly direct innovation and collaboration towards both defensive and offensive cybersecurity – something that is too connected to national security to leave to the market alone.
Industry will invest their R&D with startups
Although we’re in the throes of a global race when it comes to R&D investment into science and technology, UK government spending lags behind the likes of the US and China. But the really big spenders are in the private sector – especially tech companies like Amazon.
We’ll see more of these companies conclude that there is value in spending some of that budget with startups and SMEs, either to build technology with them or pilot technology within their organisations. The fact that the government wants to spend at least 33% of its procurement budget with SMEs is also making partnership a priority for large companies that want to sell to the public sector.
Plexal’s work with IBM, which saw the tech giant partner with deep learning startup Pimloc to develop a new facial recognition technology, is a prime example.
Large organisations and startups have typically been scared off these sorts of collaborations – the startup doesn’t trust that their interests will be protected while the enterprise can only see risk and finds it impossible to identify which startup to pick.
As companies like IBM blaze a trail, we’ll see more of these partnership success stories come out – especially if Plexal has its way.
5G will move beyond the hype
5G will become the first generation of wireless connectivity that’s led by private networks and the needs of enterprises rather than consumers who want to play their games or watch their films faster. And it will be the hyperscalers that will disrupt this market first.
We’re not alone in predicting this by any means: private 5G is expected to be a $75Bn market by 2030 according to ABI Research.
But this will require a whole different model as businesses demand more control over their networks.
The UK is already a world leader in driving forward 5G innovation through its 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme and in 2022 Plexal will be working with both the UK government and industry to create a more robust commercial ecosystem around private 5G networks.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) has already launched its own private network and more enterprises will do the same. The likes of AWS and Microsoft will engage with the telecoms ecosystem by exploring the value of cloud-based, next-generation operator services and enabling an intelligent and multi-service edge.
Ransomware defences will be beefed up – while insurance companies pay out less
The National Cyber Security Centre has already named ransomware as the biggest cyber threat facing the UK while the UK government plans to step up its offensive cyber capabilities to protect the country from state-sponsored ransomware attacks. The threat level is unlikely to go down in 2022 – in fact we’re likely to see even more small and medium sized businesses fall prey to attacks as Ransomware as a Service becomes widespread.
But we will see startups offer up technology solutions that will protect individuals and businesses of all sizes from ransomware. A lot of this will be down to getting the basics right: training staff to spot phishing attempts, making enterprise-grade cyber affordable for SMEs and having a backup process in place.
Insurers will also be increasingly fighting back by not underwriting the payment of ransoms, which will expose enterprises like never before.