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Many things that happened in 2021 were not how I hoped the year would pan out, and I believe many of you could say the same.

On the bright side though, it’s safe to say that the struggles and challenges we faced meant that innovation was bred, digital adoption caught on, and Malaysians were united amidst difficult times.

With all the lessons learnt in 2021, these ideas will hopefully be refined, accelerated, and made more efficient to solve dire problems in society. Thus, we’ve come up with some predictions on exciting industry trends that will boom in 2022.

1. Dronetech will take off across more industries

Image Credit: Area 57

For years, Malaysia’s dronetech scene has been most active in the sectors of agriculture and surveillance. But the dronetech industry has evolved over the past year, with government agencies pushing for its commercialisation and private companies diversifying their uses.

Dare we say that last year’s dronetech developments have surpassed those of the previous years’ combined?

Area 57 was developed to focus solely on the growth of dronetech, while the Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation (MRANTI) will allocate part of its RM30 million funding to commercialising dronetech, amongst other areas. 

MDEC’s new CEO, Mahadhir Aziz also has immense expertise in dronetech. The company he co-founded was even responsible for updating the regulations surrounding the use of drones locally. 

In the private sector, we were reminded of how drones overcome human limitations when local drone companies aided in search and rescue efforts during 2021’s year-end floods.

As we welcomed 2022, AirAsia got its licence to conduct drone pilot training, teasing that package deliveries via drones might soon be seen in Malaysian skies.

Though it may take a while for most of the exciting, futuristic dronetech ambitions to come to fruition, what’s important is that we see more focus being placed on the tech’s potential, and we predict 2022 to be the year the industry really takes off.

2. NFTs being used as utility and in charity

Image Credit: NFT4HOPE

Locally, NFT has become synonymous with art. Hoping for significant investment returns, more Malaysians have gotten on board the NFT hype in 2021.

We’ve even seen a few local NFT marketplaces crop up to meet the demand. One of them even simplifies the concept of NFTs by letting people transact via cash and receiving a physical copy of the NFT art in return.

More than the transacting of art though, NFTs have varied uses too. They can function as collectibles, a currency in games and real life, or even in logistics and ticketing due to their immutability (inability to be changed over time) and transparency.

In 2021, we’ve seen a couple of Malaysians begin to demonstrate the above examples. A Malaysian museum began selling entry tickets as NFTs that are purchased with cryptocurrency, while an artist launched an NFT collection through streetwear fashion.

We’re predicting the growth of NFTs used in charity this year as well, with some examples being KitaJaga’s NFT project, Syed Saddiq’s NFTs, and this charity project tackling infertility by a group of UKM students and the Queen (yep, you heard us right).

With more high-profile Malaysians and companies participating in the space, this could point to further innovations being introduced to the public in 2022. Perhaps a locally made NFT game is on the horizon? 

3. More BNPL options from larger players

GrabRewards and merchants menu

One could argue that the buy now, pay later (BNPL) rise happened a while back, but hear me out.

It’s true that we already have a handful of Malaysian-born BNPL services available, with international names joining them too. But it was only recently that well-known apps like Shopee and Grab began offering BNPL services.

The participation of popular apps with immense followings would open up the concept of BNPL to a wider crowd, and could benefit those without access to a credit card.

These super apps already have an internal marketplace—whether for food or shopping—therefore making it easier for people to use their BNPL options when checking out.

If the majority of users are anything like me, they are less likely to want to sign up on a new app/service because they’re already in too deep with their personal favourite, for whatever reason.

Hence, we’re expecting to see more well-known apps (especially super apps) start catching on to this demand and offering their own BNPL services too.

Despite that, we don’t think that smaller players will be intimidated, so we’ll likely also see independent BNPL service providers cropping up to offer more efficient solutions.

4. An increase in COVID-19 management solutions

Getting self-tested is a norm before any gathering now / Image Credit: Vulcan Post

As the tourism and events sectors open up, workers head back to offices, and life returns to a level of normalcy, it is essential to know that those gathering are testing negative for COVID-19.

Not only will we see more technology developed to sanitise the surrounding environment, but possibly, the development of more efficient and traceable home self-test kits.

For example, a Malaysian doctor and his team have developed an app that is able to verify the validity of home self-test procedures and results through TAC and QR codes. Subsequently, high-traffic premises are also able to view and ascertain these test results, ensuring that visitors are truly free of COVID-19.

Because the demand is high in this area for both businesses and individuals, it would point to an increase in Malaysian solutions tackling the verification of COVID-19 self-tests.

5. Streamlined crowdsourcing platforms for #KitaJagaKita efforts

Image Credit: Ma-Kasih / Kita Jaga Malaysia

When troubles arose, Malaysians were quick to lend a hand. Assistances provided by individuals of the community were displayed during 2021’s White Flag movement and flood relief efforts, to name a few.

Earlier last year, website and app developers created platforms to help victims get their pleas out so that those able to provide aid could find them. 

Such efforts were yet again seen during the country’s tragic floods, where a team came together to build a platform for people on the ground to report floods or the possibility of them in an area, like a warming system of sorts. 

The initiatives taken on by those with the know-how to build sites that leverage crowdsourced data could see a rise in 2022. But with so much data being thrown around, aggregating and consolidating them becomes more crucial in order for us to make sense of them.

Thus, we’re predicting to see a platform that will work as a centralised hub for these initiatives too.


Just like with our predictions for 2021, we’ll be giving these industry trends a year to brew before reporting back on what came true and what didn’t. 2022, don’t disappoint us!

  • Read more about Malaysian startups we’ve written on here.

Featured Image Credit: Atome / Aerodyne / NFT4HOPE

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© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
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Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)