Viewpoint: 6 key trends that will impact the electronics industry in 2022

Author : Frank Zycinski | Market Sector Vice President – EMEA | Plexus

01 March 2022

Plexus_PCB Testing
Plexus_PCB Testing

A tumultuous two years during the COVID-19 pandemic, though incredibly disruptive, have proved an unexpected spur to innovation, development & progress across a wide number of sectors – something expected to continue
into 2022...

This viewpoint was originally featured in EPDT's H1 2022 Electronics Outsourcing supplement, included in the March 2022 issue of EPDT magazine [read the digital issue]. And sign up to receive your own copy each month.

Leaps in rapid testing are one benefit being consolidated by the healthcare sector, while electrification advances and geopolitical concerns remain among issues expected to dominate as the world emerges from the pandemic. Here, Frank Zycinski, Market Sector Vice President – EMEA at the UK’s largest electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider, Plexus explores six key trends he expects to impact the electronics industry in 2022 - from healthcare and sustainability to supply chain pressures...

Working with companies to create products that build a better world, we keep our ear close to the ground for our customers – many in industries with highly complex products and demanding regulatory environments – so that we can remain at the forefront of innovation and best inform them how to tackle business in an ever-changing world. That’s why we asked experts across our global team to anticipate the key trends they expect to see dominate 2022. Here’s what they identified…

1. Innovation in healthcare

The pandemic has bolstered the long-term ambitions of innovation in the sector. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen changes, disruptions – and even some rapid advances in healthcare and life sciences product development – like we’ve rarely seen before.

Developers, creators and manufacturers of healthcare and life science technologies (medtech) can look forward to another busy year. Key trends set to emerge include the acceleration and evolution of point-of-care smart monitoring and diagnostic devices and a focus on rapid testing, the rebound of elective procedures as the world emerges from lockdown and the continued integration of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The pandemic has changed the way the world perceives public health and the people employed to look after it. 2022 will just be the beginning of an exciting period for medical advancement.

2. Supply chain pressures

In an eventful year, one of the key lessons from 2021 was the fragility of global supply chains. From consumer items of all shapes and sizes to electronic components in all sectors, rising costs and growing delays impacted business’ ability to operate efficiently, if at all. To mitigate the consequences of such issues, we expect more manufacturers to try to near-shore and localise their operations, as far as possible, to be closer to their customers and cut the length of their supply chains. By doing so, companies will be able to reduce their carbon footprints and increase their supply security and resilience.

3. Electrification


Energy management is undergoing a seismic shift. As part of the sustainability conversation, individuals and organisations are becoming increasingly active in considering ways to protect and preserve our planet – and energy is often at the heart of that. As we move away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy, the electrification of heavy equipment, transportation and innovative green-energy infrastructure is one of the key facets driving sustainability. In agriculture, construction and mining, reliability has always been a baseline, but now such sectors are also seeking a new generation of innovation and durability in their connectivity.

The electrification of any part of a business, through operations or choice of suppliers, is a key weapon in the battle to reduce both carbon footprint and costs, along with bolstering sustainability efforts.

4. Sustainability push

The outcomes of the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference, COP26 in Glasgow may not have satisfied every participant, spectator or commentator, but there is no doubt of a renewed impetus for companies, alongside individuals and governments, to carry the mantle of sustainability. Beyond the announcements of overarching net zero targets, firms will in 2022 need to take a closer look at their operations, suppliers and even customers to ensure their running is as green as it can be – and at least as environmentally friendly as they say it is.

It would not be amiss to say that sustainability needs to be at the core of everything companies are looking at from here on in.

5. Space junk

With good reason, the world has been paying an increasing amount of attention to the progress being made in space exploration. But too little thought is given to what happens once a satellite, or other piece of equipment, has fulfilled its requirements and is no longer of use. Currently, such disused apparatus simply drifts through space. According to the European Space Agency (ESA), there are currently 34,000 space debris pieces larger than 10cm orbiting Earth, posing serious hazards to the safety of functioning satellites and, worse, to space stations. Increased connectivity must be used to keep track of disused satellites and manage their demise, deorbiting them and pushing them to burn up on their way to reentry. This year, more and more thought will be required into developing the technological advancements that assist transportation into space, the exploration of space, as well as what can be done to clean up space.

6. Geopolitical spurs

A rise in tensions around the world, both on the ground and online, means advanced security technologies are playing an increasingly critical role in our lives. From cybersecurity and counter-terror intelligence to mass transit, aviation and border security, businesses as well as individuals rely on such products to keep us safe; to protect identities and to monitor, detect and prepare for threats against both data and infrastructure. With numerous known and unknown potential threats, 2022 will see a rise in challenges to organisations that will need addressing, whether that’s through securing your supply chain with end-to-end product development, tracking and monitoring or reassessing your connectivity levels.

It has never been more important to ensure your company is protected from all eventualities in a world of increasingly sophisticated threats.

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