The pace of innovation in technology is accelerating at a break-neck speed. Such developments have the power to bring significant business benefits for the organization as well as end-users.
Just recently, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) successfully launched the world’s first nanosatellite to improve the maintenance and planning of electricity and water networks in Dubai, highlighting the trend of using the latest world-class technologies for organizational leadership as well as customer experience. The DEWA-SAT 1 launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in Florida, uses LoRa IoT communication technology - a new wireless protocol designed for long-range communications that use less energy, to expand the coverage of the existing terrestrial communication network. Using satellite communications, IoT, and AI will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of DEWA’s operations and support digitising energy networks, water distribution and transmission networks. It also enables the integration of IoT data using DEWA’s private cloud.
We cannot help but marvel at these technological advancements and their potential to boost productivity and efficiency. However, different elements make all of these technologies function as one. Here are some of the latest tech trends that ICT players should consider exploring in 2022 and beyond.
Hyper-converged data center networks (DCNs)
The pandemic disrupted the industry operations that led many big enterprises to adopt a more nimble, flexible IT approach. Moreover, experts suggest that smaller enterprises will ultimately migrate to the public cloud as their preferred IT strategy. They also believe that edge activity could lead to infrastructure spending, resulting in future data center growth.
Both telecoms operators and cloud service providers have a good reason to expand their reach to the network edge. Bigger enterprises are also likely to deploy edge solutions over their private networks. Keeping up with the pace of innovation, technological advances in the data center Ethernet networking have made it possible and preferable for enterprises to run a lossless, low-latency, highly scalable, and intelligently automated hyper-converged data center network that consolidates functionality and improves overall performance across general-purpose compute environments, storage area networks, and high-performance environments. In addition, such a network offers automated extensibility and elastic scalability in hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments where Ethernet integration with cloud and orchestration systems is essential. With the increased demand for faster computing and efficient storage from companies, hyper-converged data centers will remain at the heart of the fast-expanding market for data localisation.
With transformative technologies increasingly necessitating full-fledged and robust network capacity, reliable wireless services growth is inevitable. Carriers and mobile operators will benefit in more ways than one from the low-latency, powerful 5G network designed to improve efficiency and empower user experiences. Underpinning the 5G demand among consumers, in China, 5G smartphones accounted for 76% of mobile handset shipments in 2021, compared with 53% in 2020, according to state-run think tank data. Further, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has launched ‘AWS Private 5G’ - a new managed service designed to make 5G deploy as easy as possible for private networks. AWS Private 5G users can deploy their own 4G/LTE or 5G instantly, scale up and down all the linked devices and fit into the on-demand Cloud computing pricing model. In no time, players in the 5G space will come up with such innovative services that are bound to make things possible beyond one’s imagination.
Untethered AR and VR technologies will use 5G to access nearby cloud and edge computing that can transform gaming, training and create new working models, improving the overall customer experience journeys. Imagine virtually walking into stores and being guided through AR glasses to pick up products from the shelves whilst stationed at home. In another instance, imagine connected ambulances that can supply data in real-time to the hospital before the patient’s arrival, resulting in well-informed emergency room treatments, etc. Advancements in 5G will drive market behaviours into the foreseeable future.
Cloud security threats
Migration of business operations to the cloud has become a hot topic in the industry to the point of even sounding cliché. However, Gartner predicts that global cloud services spending will reach over US$482 billion in 2022, a 54% increase from 2020’s US$313 billion. Along with this growth in cloud adoption, the activities of the nefarious players are bound to shoot up. They will use a variety of attack tactics, comprising of old and new hacks to disrupt operations and fulfill their unlawful desires via unguarded accesses. Enterprises continue to use software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications and solutions and its adoption is set to expand in the coming year.
Gartner forecasts that SaaS users will spend about US$172 billion in 2022, the highest spending among all public cloud services. Since malicious actors are still able to break into cloud service access using the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) still, the attacks are bound to persist through 2022. Gartner in its 2021 Strategic Roadmap for SASE Convergence report suggests security and risk management leaders develop migration plans from the legacy perimeter and hardware-based offerings to a SASE model that brings together SD-WAN and comprehensive cloud-delivered security services including zero-trust network access (ZTNA), firewall as a service, secure web gateway (SWG), and cloud access security broker (CASB) into a unified architectural framework.
Cloud computing as a digital transformation initiative will be crucial throughout 2022 along with demands for skillsets in configuration, security, deployment, and troubleshooting for cloud services, according to industry observers. The 2021 Open Source Jobs Report states that a majority of hiring managers are looking for cloud and container technology skills. Containers are a common option for deploying and managing software in the cloud. Containerized applications are easier to migrate to the cloud. They are efficient in leveraging the extensive automation capabilities of the cloud as they can easily be deployed, cloned, or modified using APIs provided by the container engine or orchestrator. In addition to capabilities across the major public cloud infrastructure platforms, skills around Kubernetes and cloud DevOps services will also see market demand.
The automation of business tasks, services, and network operations has proven its efficiency for organizational agility and profitability. Automation must be a part of operators’ strategic initiative to maximize the speed and agility of 5G deployment and operations. As an augmentation, hyper-automation is an extension of the automation drive. Gartner defines hyper-automation as a combination of tools, including robotic process automation (RPA), intelligent business management software (iBPMS) and AI, with a goal of increasingly AI-driven decision making to quickly identify, evaluate, and automate as many business and IT processes as possible. Hyperautomation enables scalability, remote operation, and business model disruption.
Artificial intelligence is the most transformative opportunity in business and IT today. However, organizations, including telcos are still struggling to fully leverage the potential of this new technology. If on the one hand the prospect of implementing AI to operations is exciting, mitigating failures has become a real challenge. AI engineering is the answer to it. AI engineering is a discipline of operationalizing AI models using better-integrated data pipelines, more automated model development with strong governance built into it, and also automating the deployment of these models into production environments. AI can help telcos effectively personalize customer relationships through one-to-one contacts, configure fixed-line and mobile-network bundles that combine VPN, teleconferencing, and productivity apps, etc. Since cutting-edge tools like AI/ML, and automation become must-have features for growing businesses, AI engineering will provide a solid structure to proactively design AI systems to function in environments where complexity, ambiguity and dynamism are part and parcel of daily operations.