5 Key Technology Trends Driving Australia’s Digital Innovation Outlook in 2022

Supporting the country’s ambitions to become a world-leading innovation hub with digital infrastructure and connected ecosystems

Guy Danskine
5 Key Technology Trends Driving Australia’s Digital Innovation Outlook in 2022

According to a Gartner® forecast[1], spending on technology products and services in Australia will exceed A$109 billion in 2022. At the same time, Gartner also highlights that enterprises must embrace business composability to thrive through disruption in 2022 and beyond [2]. This is the mindset, technologies and operational capabilities enabling organisations to innovate and acclimatise quickly in today’s shifting landscape. Further, Gartner suggests investments in artificial intelligence (AI), and cloud and security technologies will continue to accelerate as they are seen to be critical solutions to supporting business composability.

In today’s fast-paced digital world, business leaders must prioritise agility and be willing to adapt to new technologies and systems. So, what are the key tech trends leaders need to note to stay ahead of the curve in 2022 and beyond?

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1. Cloud-first IT strategies lead the way. There is an increasing focus on cloud-first IT strategies in Australia, and significant investment is being directed to cloud infrastructure and technologies.

For example, the Tech Council of Australia (TCA) is on a mission to help drive digital transformation across Australia and accelerate cloud-first IT strategies. TCA’s vision is to render Australia the go-to destination to start and scale-up cloud-first IT companies and infrastructure. The organisation will play a critical role in Australia’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and has promised[3] to employ one million people in IT jobs by 2025 to address acute labour shortages.

Further, in November 2021, Google announced[4] it will invest A$1 billion (US$740 million) in Australia over the next five years, building a research hub, increasing its cloud computing capacity and funding partnerships with local organisations. Google’s Digital Future Initiative will create 6,000 new direct jobs and more than 28,000 total jobs in Australia. It will also bolster the digital economy infrastructure at a local level.

Embracing cloud-first infrastructure is now a must so businesses don’t get left behind.

2. Sustainable IT is necessary to meet company ESG goals. Sustainable IT means an environmentally friendly approach to designing, using and disposing of computer hardware and software applications.

IT companies can—and should—do more to encourage customers and end-users to implement and dispose of technology more sustainably. On the plus side, organisations making a concerted effort to ‘green’ their products and services will attract a broader pool of environmentally conscious customers.

Organisations themselves must also accelerate plans to reduce their carbon footprints if the world is to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. At Equinix, we have pledged to reach 100% renewable energy and climate-neutrality across Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030—this will help ‘green’ the grid, which will, in turn, have roll-on effects when other businesses leverage the ‘greener’ grid for their work.

3. Quantum tech will become mainstream. According to a 2020 report[5] published by Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, the quantum technology industry in Australia will generate US$4 billion annually and 16,000 jobs by 2040, and has great potential for the areas of mineral exploration, drug discovery and secure communications. Businesses can prepare for the upcoming growth of quantum tech by training and retaining the right talent now.

Another point to consider: for the industry to reach its full potential, research and development (R&D) is a must. This will likely involve collaboration across geographies and borders, and robust digital infrastructure to support these efforts will be essential. How can digital leaders best support the growth of the quantum tech industry?

4. Innovative solutions that support Smart Cities are in high demand. As Australia’s population continues to rise, Australian states and territories are focused on helping their metro and regional cities accommodate the growth. Digital innovation plays a vital role in this.

As an example, New South Wales has recently announced[6] an investment of A$40 million in a spatial digital twin that will facilitate urban planning and development of the state. The digital twin brings together data sources from across government agencies—such as spatial, natural resources and planning—and integrates it with real-time feeds from sensors to provide insights for planners, designers and decision-makers at all levels of government.

The question to ask is: how can digital twin technology and other digital tools contribute to building Smart Cities—and how can we all play our part?

5. Data and digital tools needed to address the nation’s infrastructure needs. According to Infrastructure Australia[7], Australia’s infrastructure sector has become 25% less productive over the past three decades than sectors such as mining, manufacturing, retail and transport—this must be addressed as Australia’s population continues to grow. Once again, innovation is a crucial part of the solution.

An effective digital engineering environment would allow components to be shared between projects and enable governments to accurately model how infrastructure will operate in the future, considering sustainability, climate, resilience and public safety factors. More collaborative infrastructure delivery models and smarter data and digital tools will be needed going forward, particularly digital infrastructure architected for interconnectivity, speed and flexibility.

The real challenge will be developing both hard and soft infrastructure to accommodate a changing economy and workforce.

It is an exciting time for Australia, with significant investments being made at all levels by governments, industry and organisations into its infrastructure and innovation sector. The year ahead presents significant opportunities in several areas for businesses against a background of accelerated technological change, environmental concerns and shifting consumer preferences.

Hear from industry experts on the state of play for Australia and more by diving into our new Equinix Australia Digital First Series, which is designed to explore the latest insights into Australia’s growing innovation industry. To kick off this digital innovation leadership series, we’re debuting our webinar, Digital Innovation Outlook and Trends in 2022, hosted by former CNBC anchor and innovation enthusiast Oriel Morrison in April.

[1] Gartner Press Release, Gartner Forecasts IT Spending in Australia to Grow 6.5% in 2022, October 26, 2021

[2] Gartner Press Release, Gartner Survey of Over 2,000 CIOs Reveals the Need for Enterprises to Embrace Business Composability in 2022 , October 18, 2021

GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

[3] https://www.newsmaker.com.au/news/385022/tech-council-of-australia-releases-its-australias-tech-jobs-opportunity-report-cracking-the-code-to-australias-best-jobs#.Yg4VSZNBzaV

[4] https://www.smh.com.au/technology/google-invests-1-billion-in-australia-with-new-research-hub-20211116-p5999g.html

[5] http://www.csiro.au/~/media/News-releases/2020/Quantum/CSIRO-Growing-Australias-Quantum-Industry–pre-release–EMBARGOED-until-22-May-2020.pdf

[6] https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252510492/Australias-NSW-to-build-A40m-digital-twin

[7] https://www.infrastructureaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/2021-10/Infrastructure%20Market%20Capacity%20Report%20211013_0.pdf

Guy Danskine
Guy Danskine Managing Director, Australia