Andy leads our go-to-market practices, sales operations and partner alliances globally. He has over 30 years of experience in the technology industry and expertise in various fields, having led technology delivery and performance in IT and telecommunications, systems integration and user experience planning.
Chief Go-to-Market Practices Officer, NTT Ltd.
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A year ago, when we published our annual ‘Future Disrupted’ predictions for 2020, none of us imagined that these
two words would take on a new level of significance and fundamentally upend our lives, livelihoods, health,
economies, and businesses in a manner never-before-seen in our lifetimes.
In this year’s commentary, we contemplate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on all spheres of society. We explore the technology disruption that we see on the horizon and examine the emerging technology trends that we believe will define 2021 across key business areas. While it’s difficult to define precisely how the future will take shape, the contributors to this year’s Future Disrupted e-book share their thoughts on the inevitable risks and challenges that will need to be negotiated. But they also outline practical steps you can take in 2021, and beyond, to take advantage of the potential that lies in the obstacles we currently face.
Key technology trends to recognize harness, and capitalize upon
We believe that the key factors of success for businesses that we’ve identified in recent years will prevail, evolve and accelerate. These include a ‘digital-first’ mindset; secure, cloud-optimized networks and infrastructure; smart use of artificial intelligence, automation, open APIs and analytics; and data management. Collectively, these lay the foundation for creating and sustaining a positive employee and customer experience.
In the pages that follow we’ll explore each of these trends in more detail.
We also consider how best to move forward while budgets remain under immense pressure and responsible cash management sits high on the boardroom agenda. We’ll explore how forward-looking businesses are looking at alternative consumption models that allow them to take advantage of opex-based services as well as entering into support and managed services engagements.
Although the transformational potential of automation has been recognized and adopted by businesses for some years, the pandemic has reinvigorated organizations’ efforts to harness its many benefits, in both the B2B and B2C worlds.
The pandemic has also had some notable implications on cybersecurity and compliance. While again, these aren’t new topics of concern and focus, the sudden requirement for organizations to introduce work-from-home arrangements for knowledge workers has elevated these issues to front and center. This has, in turn, spawned renewed acknowledgment of the importance of security being embedded in all aspects of organizations’ technology estates, whether applications and workloads are running on-premises or in a public or private cloud, and irrespective of whether people are working from home, the corporate office or remotely. Infrastructure needs to be inherently secure by design, not something that’s ‘bolted on’ as an afterthought.
Customer experience has also been fundamentally challenged during 2020. Strict lockdown measures introduced an exponential rise in use and reliance on digital channels by individuals across all demographics, placing unprecedented pressure on businesses’ online capabilities and supply chains. Many have struggled to cope. This has sparked recognition of the value of digitally integrated supply chains, and, consequentially, accelerated the adoption of cloud-based models, which allow for faster deployment and the ability to scale, on-demand.
Robust, reliable networks have proven to be the backbone of those in the winners’ circle. Organizations are expanding their focus beyond branch and campus networks to support remote and distributed working. It’s therefore critical that your network is flexible, secure, stable and capable of supporting workloads and applications running in hyperscale as well on-premises, private and/or hosted environments.
Harness technology advances to reimagine a better world
While the future remains uncertain on many levels, we should take comfort in the fact that we’ve never before had so much powerful technology at our disposal – technology we can use to answer questions and overcome challenges facing our societies, businesses, communities and the environment. There’s a huge opportunity to use any and every available tool to support positive initiatives that will truly transform our future, for the better.
We trust that the insights provided in our e-book will help you to prepare for that future.
Disruptive Technologies for 2021 and beyond
The gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic and its widespread impact throughout 2020 hasn’t been witnessed in most people’s lifetimes. But while for us, it’s an unprecedented situation, history tells us that it will spawn a transformation of society.
Against this backdrop, even traditional nay-sayers are starting to acknowledge the reality and impact of climate change and appreciate the urgency with which we must pursue and adopt more environmentally sustainable practices from both our personal and business endeavors.
There are several exciting and potentially fundamentally disruptive technology trends in our industry that hold promise to help us realize safety and security, support sustainable growth and reduce environmental loads. In this chapter, we’ll explore some of these.
All-photonics networks will power global communications
It’s no secret that current levels of power and energy consumption by IT equipment and networks have a severe, detrimental effect on our environment and society. That’s because they rely on electronic processing and chips that require high levels of power. If we don’t make radical changes as an industry, we’ll inevitably reach a point where we’ve expended all our capacity to operate technology environments – and then what? The good news is that pioneers in networking research and development believe that they have the answer – 'all-photonics' networks (APNs).
Photonics-based networking involves the use of optical and hybrid cabling. These networks enable end-to-end, information transmission between the terminal and the server. They’re capable of transferring large volumes of traffic while keeping quality high and latency low. Importantly, all-photonics networks will allow us to operate a more environmentally sustainable communications environment. That’s because they’re ultra-low power-intensive, potentially providing information communication services that use just 1/100th of the power consumption required by today’s networks. Transmission capacity could even be increased to the extent that you could download 10,000 2-hour movies, in a fraction of a second.
While this may sound complex, these networks will be intuitive to use, allowing people to connect from any location or environment. The result? A next-generation communications platform that represents a significant leap forward towards our goal of realizing a smart, sustainable and energy-efficient society.
Cognitive Foundation technology will connect and control everything
Cognitive Foundation (CF) of computer intelligence focuses on centralized management and agile allocation of ICT resources. However, it does much more than allocating wired and wireless technology or communications; it also provides orchestration capabilities that allow you to integrate various interfaces, whether they be voice, video or other kinds of sensor information that support Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives.
By linking virtualized ICT resources and integrating them with diverse systems and networks, CF creates an information processing platform capable of analysis and forecasting that isn’t constrained by the format of systems or data.
CF has already been implemented in a smart city project in Las Vegas that began in 2019.
This project utilizes orchestration capabilities, based on virtualization software to analyze video, voice and other sensor information for incident response and pr