Know what I love about sports? Name the craziest game you can think of… Chances are not only does it exist, but it has thousands of fans the world over.
That’s how I feel about print. It’s the Jelle’s Marble Runs (competitive marble racing, yes, really) of the IT space: an overlooked world with dedicated geeks all around the globe.
In any sport, the beginning of the game year is marked with tips by fans and commentators alike: educated guesses on what the season will deliver.
So as a sports fan and print geek, I wanted to offer my personal 7 picks for print and IT in 2022.
1. Hybrid working: lockout is the new lockdown
Two years in and the end to the COVID-19 pandemic still isn’t quite in sight.
You’re probably sick of hearing about hybrid working, because it’s unsurprisingly here to stay. But, for me at least, I feel like it was (under many a breath) being embraced as a “temporary” new future.
Contradictory as that sounds, while many workers and managers may have stated “we’re embracing hybrid working”, for many the subtext was a whispered, “for now.” Even while some companies announced indefinite WFH models (before the Omicron outbreak) many of those same companies were divided on long-term remote working.
The quiet hope was that once this pandemic was over, while WFH flexibility would still be in full swing, the majority of workers would be office-based. I want to use the present situation here in Melbourne as an example. We’re not in a lockdown, but low social mobility would suggest we are. With our current Omicron outbreak, even though our economy has opened up, many individuals are participating in self-imposed stay-at-home restrictions.
What we’re currently witnessing is not a lockdown, but a lockout. I know that sounds like a bunch of, “Well, duh!” But I’m calling that in 2022, many businesses are going to seriously shift their thinking from “Hybrid working forever” to “Nah, really, hybrid working forever, forever, forever ever, forever ever…”
What does this mean for print and IT? Offices and workers need to revise and recheck their policies around the office and device access. Crucially, enabling devices and equipment for home use ‒ including printing.
2. Label and packaging printing the focus for enterprise and SMB
Home delivery existed long before this pandemic. But lockdowns and safety meant packages arriving at your doorstep went from a luxury to a necessity. The likes of Amazon and the regular mom and pop post office, who have never been short of business, experienced an unprecedented (that’s COVID bingo) boom.
Once upon a time, you’d get online delivery for that hard-to-find Beatles record or a funky Wonder Woman comforter/pillowcase. But the pandemic meant people were getting things delivered that they’d previously happily travel to a nearby store for.
Increased deliveries meant increased printing of labels and packaging. Everywhere from humble SMBs to bigtime enterprise operations experienced this printing uptick. Businesses, who never realized print management was a thing, now desperately need a solution to track and recover printing costs and resources.
Businesses that aren’t new to the print management game still need to find ways to simplify their print enablement to reduce clicks and boost workflows. That’s exactly what Australian retailer BIG W did last year, and if you need some tips on how to do so, check out the case study we did with them.
3. Increased security threats will increase Zero Trust adoption
Since QR codes have been everywhere, I know I’m not the only one who has experienced an increased amount of spam messages and calls. Is there a link? I certainly hope not. And yet…
The prevalence of BYOD is nothing new, but for some reason, this spamming has increased since the start of the pandemic.
Plus, with hybrid working’s upward trajectory, that means more use of personal devices for work activities. This increased BYOD use of company cloud services makes for a wider attack surface area for cyber-attacks and data breaches.
This will mean more adoption of Zero Trust architecture. But Zero Trust is often misunderstood. So before you throw a bunch of money at your workplace’s security uplift, read our own security specialist Andrew Bailey’s explainer on Zero Trust.
4. Sustainability shift from carbon neutral to forest positive
Sustainability was on everybody’s lips before Leonardo Dicaprio’s new movie Don’t Look Up premiered on Netflix a few months ago. But that movie appears to match the current furor for some companies who are speeding up their environmentalism policies and projects.
The good news is there’s no comet Dibisasky heading our way (directly). The bad news is we’re running out of time to turn the “climate action” ship around.
COVID-19 lockdowns led to a decrease in global carbon emissions. A stark reminder that we have the capacity to increase our sustainability efforts. As such there’s a heightened demand for technology with a low environmental impact.
I’m calling that we’ll see an evolution in aiming beyond carbon neutral or carbon positive to forest positive. Which is, undertaking initiatives that directly sustain and conserve our natural resources.
5. Cloud print management and cloud print services will continue to skyrocket
It’s almost as if the cloud was built for the pandemic.
Cloud services have long been the staple of the modern workplace, with the expectation that they would continue to transform and evolve the way many companies conduct business.
The demand for cloud services was only ever going to increase. Somehow the pandemic doubled that trend. 2022 looks like it will continue to do so.
That being said, different organizations and companies are still moving to the cloud. When it comes to cloud print management and cloud print services, businesses from SMB to enterprise will need coaching on how to shift to cloud-based print management.
We’ve got an entire section over here all about the advantages of cloud print management, and what size and shape of cloud print solution may suit your workplace.
6. Facebook’s Metaverse “Hail Mary” to land or fall this year
Regardless of your feelings about the Metaverse, this year is set to be a crucial one for the supposed VR/AR takeover. Will the Metaverse truly revolutionize the way we use the internet? Or will all those “office of tomorrow” predictions not quite pan out?
It’s tough calling the next big thing in IT. Any wager ages horribly when it’s proven wrong, and there are genuine surprises in this field. The Metaverse is a tricky one. Part of me likes the idea of reality replicating the technology sci-fi has long hinted at. Plus, there are sustainability advantages that come with it. But the VR/AR witnessed in the likes of Ready Player One and Wall-E does come with a heavy “User Beware” sticker slapped on the side.
I must admit, in a post-pandemic world shifting to hybrid working, there is a legitimate curiosity about how VR/AR can enhance the WFH environment. There is potential for driving connectivity and collaboration - the two vital missing components of the new hybrid working era.
Maybe, just like the cloud boom, this is VR/AR’s moment? We can only find out. Either way, the next 12 months will be revealing.
7. B2B marketers to expand content stacking
I’m admittedly preaching to the choir here. As a B2B journalist working in marketing, our team has been adopting content stacking for some time. That said, I think we’re about to see an expansion in how B2B companies approach marketing and communications.
Newsletters are all well and good but we need to deliver our message on the same platforms where people consume all their media.
Sure, this means you’re competing with genuine escapism entertainment. But the opportunity here is to expand the delivery mechanism. This will ensure we’re communicating with our audience, no matter where they are.
Podcasts, TikTok, Instagram, etc may seem like avenues merely for influencers or a younger demographic. But today’s youngsters are tomorrow’s key stakeholders. Modern businesses’ choice is to adapt or risk being left behind.
Speaking of podcasts, we recently launched our own!
All that’s just a (somewhat educated) guess
Ask anybody who was certain the Kansas City Chiefs would beat the Cincinnati Bengals for the AFC Championship (NFL)… There’s no such thing as a sure thing.
These are just my tips for what 2022 might bring. There are much brainier print and IT fans than I, with their own trends and predictions.
Just like any game, all you can do is watch and see where the marbles fall.
Got your own picks for print and IT in 2022? Sound off in the comments below.
Ready to start a conversation about improving your printing environment? Our customer care team’s ready and waiting (and super helpful).