David Webster, President, APJ Enterprise & Customer Operations, Dell EMC
Data is increasingly recognised as an invaluable asset for organisations across Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ).
Whilst some digitally-driven organisations are adept at mining their data and maximising its value, there are many others that are less advanced in their digital transformation journeys. Regardless of where they are, however, all organisations will soon have to embrace two key trends in data sources, and data management. These are: the arrival of 5G in the region, particularly in its innovation and deploymentahead of the rest of the world; and the shift away from the public-versus-private cloud debate, and towards the emergence of mega-cloud infrastructure.
The rise of edge computing, made possible by the unprecedented speed and accessibility of the data network, will transform the way organisations leverage data to enhance their businesses.
5G is starting to emerge in APJ. The first devices are slated to hit the market sometime next year with the much-anticipated next-generation network that promises to completely change the data game in terms of speed and accessibility. APJ is on track to become the world’s largest 5G region by 2025, according to the GSMA’s latest Mobile Economy report, and there are already signs that the region is going to be ahead of its global counterparts in terms of proof-of-concept network trials and 5G rollout. APJ countries emerged as leaders in the global 5G race, with Korea and Japan ranked amongst the highest in terms of 5G readiness, according to industry experts. The region is also ahead because it has leapfrogged other stages of mobile infrastructure: operators that are not burdened by legacy infrastructure are already building preliminary 5G networks – in contrast with Europe, for example, where investors are reluctant to abandon their 4G capacity and invest in new networks.
Whilst 5G is still broadly in proof-of-concept stage today, its network capabilities have the potential to effect unprecedented change.
Expect to see more organisations strengthening their IT infrastructure and building digital skillsets to get ready for a new era of innovation
New levels of connectivity, for instance, will have a far-reaching impact in paving the path to pervasive automation— a key building block for digital cities and smart industries. In fact, research firm Gartner found that with 5G technology, autonomous vehicles will upload over 1 terabyte of vehicle and sensor data to the cloud per month by 2025, up from 30 gigabytes in 2018, thus underscoring the potential that this technology has to power intelligent ecosystems in the near future.
These low-latency, high-bandwidth networks will bring intelligence to the edge, where data is generated. Edge devices, enhanced with analytics capabilities and computing power, will broaden the horizons of what is possible with data, both in its collection and application. With real-time insights becoming readily available, organisations across all industries, from automotive to medical to manufacturing, are granted access to a wealth of information they can mine and exploit to boost their success. However, to do that, they first need a preparation strategy. Critical questions that business leaders need to ask include: do we have sufficient data science capabilities? Is the current hardware able to handle IoT projects?
There will undoubtedly be a shift of intelligence to the edge. That does not mean the core or cloud is any less important. Last year, we predicted the arrival of the Mega Cloud— a variety of clouds that make up a powerhouse operating model for IT strategies that require both public and private clouds. So far that’s holding true. The public-versus-private debate will continue to wane as organisations realise that they need to effectively manage all the different types of data they’ll be processing – and as the reality of a mega cloud environment continues to emerge.
For example, a recent IDC survey pointed to more than 80 percent of respondents repatriating data back to on-premise private clouds— and we can expect that trend to continue, even with the upward projections of public cloud spending in this region, which is expected to reach $32.27 billion by 2021.
Crucially, these mega-cloud environments that we expect to become more and more commonplace will drive automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning processing into high gear because they’ll give organisations the ability to manage, move and process data where and when they need to. In fact, we’ll see more clouds pop up as data becomes increasingly distributed: at the edge in autonomous car environments or in smart factories; in cloud-native apps; in protected on-premises centres to meet a host of new compliance and privacy standards; and, of course, in the public cloud for a variety of apps and services that we use every day. There is an interplay between what 5G will make possible, and the use of cloud, that will underpin and transform the way data is used.
The signs are already there that these changes are inevitable— and coming soon. With growing intelligence at the edge and unprecedented network capabilities— made possible by the arrival of 5G – the business possibilities of real-time insights are endless. What we expect to see is more organisations strengthening their IT infrastructure and building digital skillsets to get ready for a new era of innovation.