2020 created circumstances that accelerated years’ worth of digital transformation in months, bringing a significant impact on our lives and work. It also highlighted the role of digital in ensuring business continuity and success. Digital growth and acceleration have reinforced the need to embrace digital technologies and trends that will give organisations a winning advantage.
Digital Infrastructure will be an essential backbone to global economy
Throughout 2020, as the world made adjustments to survive and then explored ways to thrive, digital infrastructure emerged as one of the drivers of public safety and global economy. Digital capabilities like internet infrastructure and cybersecurity, data centres, e-commerce and e-governance services are now central to driving economic growth.
Starting with 2021 digital infrastructure as a utility will be on parity with healthcare, education among others. We will see increased allocations in national budgets for building digital networks that form the foundation of growth in the new normal.
Optical Fibre will touch billions of lives
Investments in optical fibre networks will intensify across the globe, buoyed by accelerated demand for digital connectivity in the post-COVID era. Nearly 48 percent of employees are expected to work from home even after the pandemic. In Europe, new entrants namely Open Fiber, City Fibre, and Deutsche Glasfaser mark the rise of Open Access Fibre. They have secured billions of euros to rapidly drive the home broadband penetration across Europe.
Virtual Networks will make connectivity accessible and affordable for all
Operators across the world have already shown interest in migrating their IP networks to virtualized, software-based platforms. Over the next decade, NFV and Software-defined Networking will give centralized control. As these technologies get adopted, network architectures will evolve from being complex, rigid and inflexible to more accessible with the use of simpler open-source hardware and software elements, empowering an affordable network.
Hybrid Cloud will pick up mileage in global cloud strategies
The hybrid cloud market has experienced overall growth in the past few years compared to other cloud services. Flexera 2020 State of Cloud Report says the average number of private clouds and public clouds respectively in use by enterprises is 2.2. and successes in terms of enhanced speed, security, centralized control and customizability are being attributed to the hybrid cloud model. Redhat says 54 percent+ of the companies that have not yet adopted hybrid cloud, intend to do so within the next 2 years.
Telco Clouds will carve out a niche
The telecommunication industry and TSPs have also turned to cloud to improve productivity and improve customer services. With increasing demand for top cloud services, lower total cost of ownership (TCO), and growing awareness about telco cloud, the market is poised to grow to USD 50 billion by 2025 with offerings like unified communications and collaboration, content delivery among many others.
Edge Computing will give an edge to real time use cases
Driven by trends around lower latency, lower backhaul data management, and data localization, edge computing has emerged as a major focus area in the last 2-3 years. With 41+ billion connected things predicted by 2025, interesting use cases will emerge in areas like multi-access edge computing, large scale IoT/IIoT and AR/VR. The edge ecosystem will see high levels of interoperability with open-source technologies, joint applications with technologies like Blockchain, IoT, etc. and portable devices like smartphones serving as important platforms for edge processing.
All eyes will be on India, for connecting the next billion
India’s target of a USD 5 trillion economy hinges on digital economy contributing at least 20 percent of the GDP by 2025. In India, nearly 700 million citizens are unconnected. However, initiatives like Make in India and Atmanirbhar Bharat are steps in the right direction to drive connectivity and affordable use cases, foster the spirit of innovation, and develop an indigenous 5G ecosystem that can establish it as technology hub for the world.
As the world emerges from the 2020 anomaly, digital will play a critical role in socio-economic revival. Starting with 2021, all efforts should be focused on building digital ecosystems that make technology usable for the most basic and the most critical human needs.