5G India

India needs a coherent industry approach for 5G success

by | Feb 6, 2021 | Telecom

Unlike previous wireless standards, 5G in India will need a well-conceived industrial strategy, and a government buy-in.
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The last two decades have been instrumental in reshaping India’s economy. And the telecom sector has played a pivotal role in this transformation. From being voice dominated to data-centric, India’s telecom sector with over 1.17 billion connections has ensured businesses acquiring new capabilities, consumers obtaining new, exceptional services and resources. The industry is now keenly looking at the launch of 5G services to enter the next growth phase.

India’s top telecom operators have recently announced their plans to launch 5G this year. While Bharti Airtel has recently tested its live 5G network in Hyderabad using 1800 MHz spectrum, last year, Reliance Jio too had revealed its plans to launch 5G in the latter half of 2021 using standalone architecture.

There has been an upward trajectory of the learning curve, which has significantly helped the telecom sector attract global investments. Even during the COVID-19, the telecom sector, with its profound penetration of low-cost data and voice calls, kept the economy afloat and built necessary resilience. However, the 5G technology in India could realistically take at least a couple of years to make its emergence felt.  (See: Tipping point for 5G networks likely in 2023, says Report)

When introduced, 5G is likely to unleash the power of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and the internet of things (IoT) to bring an altogether new era of hyper-user experience.

Laying the foundation for 5G success

Much of the 5G’s future in India would be dependent on the Indian government’s plan to leverage it for smart city services such as automating traffic signaling, street lighting, smart parking, real-time public transport information, and nursing public infrastructure through drones.

Unlike previous wireless standards, 5G needs a well-conceived industrial strategy. Many organizations are still grappling with limited device availability, policies and regulations, overhauling security architectures, and restricted use case success to form a concrete strategy around 5G.

While the Indian telcos may have set ambitious targets to be ready for commercial 5G services by the end of this year, the leap would be challenging, especially in the consumer segment, unless there is a broader range of affordable 5G devices are available.

Besides, the telecom operators, sitting on razor-thin margins, would need cost-effective but quality gear to support the new networks. This requirement could be well-supported by several flagship schemes launched by the Indian government, such as Digital India and Make in India.

Another crucial area for the success of 5G is the efficient and more customer-centric business models for enterprises. The fabric of business processes could get a turbo boost from AI-driven IoT.

While businesses are keen to know about the potential of 5G, they need to be made aware of the specific advantages offered by 5G compared to the legacy wireless technologies such as 4G and Wi-Fi. Telcos will need to demonstrate the successful use cases driven by 5G and its applicability in the Indian market. Otherwise, there is a fear that many enterprises could only see this up-gradation as an incremental improvement, which is not the case. (See: Here’s how 5G could be a catalyst for IIoT and Industry 4.0)

Resolving the telco’s dilemma

The immediate twelve months after the launch of 5G in India will be heavily focused on managing the cost and complexity of building out 5G networks, spectrum slabs, new revenue generation methodologies, and return on investment (RoI) for telecom operators.

They will also be under tremendous pressure to reimagine themselves as digital service providers while keeping a check on their operating expenses. From a user standpoint, considering the Indian economy’s price-conscious nature, telecom companies would need to reasonably launch their products and services without losing the quality quotient.

A well-crafted strategy, investment in new tools and network modernization, and comprehensive government policies will play a crucial role in addressing several of the above issues.

Learning from the global successes

In 2021, both enterprises and telecom service providers will be focusing on maintaining network services, deploying remote network monitoring solutions, expanding internet services, and undertaking research and deployments of global delivery centers.

The Indian government is also needed to develop innovative policy solutions to find the right spectrum price for forthcoming 5G auctions. Another most desirable attribute for 5G success is the availability of end-to-end solutions. Globally, many IoT-related developments are underway in remotely operated robotic surgeries, driverless vehicles, and several other connected devices and applications. India is likely to learn from the immersive experiences of global markets.

Moreover, telecom service providers will need further to develop their app ecosystems and partnerships with OTT players to garner more subscribers and ARPUs.

5G is likely to enable the next wave of industrial transformation with automated supply chain models and orchestration. However, the CIOs would look forward to lucid 5G plans from the telecom service providers rather than the transactional deliberations to achieve substantial outcomes from AI and IoT implementations.

MORE FROM BETTER WORLD

It turned out to be a good year for Indian IT services firms

It turned out to be a good year for Indian IT services firms

Back in March this year, when the Indian government announced a nationwide lockdown to break the chain of COVID-19 infection, doubts were looming large if the Indian IT Services firms would be able to weather the storm.

The situation was truly unprecedented! Employees in distress, a drop in consumer demand, frozen wages, and a struggle to adopt full-fledged work-from-home models. Top IT Services firms such as TCS, Infosys, HCL, and Wipro were all scrambling to find a way to deal with the crisis and revive their business continuity plans.

Global uncertainty had heightened the fears of a deep recession among all IT Services executives. The worst part was that the crisis had come when the GDP of the Indian economy was falling.

At that time, several industry observers called it an irreparable disaster for Indian IT Services firms. However, others were hopeful that India’s showpiece IT sector had a comeback potential. But even they could not envisage that the resurgence would be too quick.

Better deal flows

In Q12020, the pandemic outbreak stalled the growth of almost every software services exporter. However, since July this year, the top IT majors have announced about half a dozen large strategic deals that indicate strong growth momentum for the industry in 2021 and beyond. Infosys large deal with Germany’s Daimler AG and American investment major Vanguard; Wipro’s with German multinational Metro AG; and HCL’s with Swedish telecom giant Ericsson are some of the major highlights during this period.

Infosys’s Vanguard transaction, valued at $1.5 bn, is the biggest deal ever signed by the tech major in its history.

All the Indian IT services firms saw a massive upsurge in their stock market fortunes throughout the year, indicating stronger investor sentiments despite the pandemic blues. For instance, the TCS stock has gone up over 24% compared to the pre-pandemic days in February; Wipro’s stock saw 20 years high at Rs 385 and Infosys’ recorded a 52-week high share price at Rs 1,259.

Tech Mahindra, a mid-tier IT Services player, saw a record new high of Rs 909 in November 2020 on the BSE due to its large deal pipeline and 5G focus.

Silver lining of new possibilities

In the wake of the growing location-independent digital workplace, enterprises are increasingly focusing on modernizing their architectures, deploying public, private, and hybrid multi-cloud models. There has been a sharper focus and resurgent demand for analytics, intelligence, insights, cybersecurity, and operations outsourcing to improve customer experience, employee expectations, and meet diverse information security needs. (See: Tech Cos take M&A route for digital transformation supremacy)

This has provided a mammoth opportunity for IT Services companies to address these challenges by delivering high-set engineering solutions to make the organizations productive and agile. (See: CIOs’ digital transformation focus accelerates recovery for IT firms)

The credit should go to the rapid technology investments made by IT services majors to respond to enterprises’ new critical challenges. (With Encore buy, Wipro eyes DX edge in fintech)

Indian IT Services firms have been aggressive and acquiring capabilities to address the structural changes in the delivery models and long term consequences of the pandemic in the times to come. Moreover, they also offer a low-cost delivery model, helping them race ahead even in tough times.

Skeptics, who had slammed the Indian IT services firms before the pandemic and doubting if it had reached a maturity stage in terms of growth, are being proven wrong. 

 

SolarWinds hack: CISOs need to revisit cyber resilience?

SolarWinds hack: CISOs need to revisit cyber resilience?

What many organizations feared came true! The year 2020 brought another shock to the business community last week with discovering a new cyber-attack, SolarWinds hack’ in the United States. The attack is an opportunity for enterprises and CISOs to reflect on their cyber resilience strategies. (See: Top enterprise cybersecurity trends of 2020)

For the unversed, California-based cybersecurity company FireEye uncovered the SolarWinds hack last week and estimated that the cyberattack campaign might have started as early as Spring 2020 and remained undetected for months.

The cyberattack emerged as one of the largest ever targeted against the U.S. Government and several other global companies, threatening organizations’ cyber resilience levels. To date, dozens of emails from the U.S. Treasury Department have been confirmed as compromised.

The attack was hurled by cybercriminals who hacked the infrastructure of an American I.T. Software company, SolarWinds, and then used illegitimate access to insert malicious code in the software updates that the company sends out to its 30,000 plus clients that also includes several departments of the U.S. Government. SolarWinds stated that the updates issued between March and June 2020 were contaminated.

Several industry onlookers have also slammed SolarWind’s lackluster approach to conquer its shortcomings. For instance, the Chief Information Security Officer’s (CISO) longstanding vacant position from its board and notifications issued to customers around deactivating antivirus tools before installing SolarWinds software.

Far-reaching effects

While the timelines of the SolarWinds hack are still unfolding, the SolarWinds breach is disturbing to the whole of the I.T. industry as it can have a far-reaching effect on many big organizations’ networks, questioning their cyber resilience levels.

The SolarWinds breach reflects that most organizations are appallingly unqualified to detect and prevent such kinds of software supply chain attacks. SolarWinds boast that it has been working with 425 of the U.S. Fortune 500 companies and hundreds of universities and colleges globally. This means that the severity of the attack can be severe in the coming days.

Top tech companies, Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, and NVIDIA, have all confirmed their exposure to the malicious software and undertaking necessary investigations to gauge the impact.

In a column published in the New York Times, Thomas P. Bossert, a former domestic security adviser to President Trump, notes that supply chain attacks of such magnitude require significant resources and sometimes years of execution.

Bossart also opined that a foreign state might have launched SolarWinds hack in a well-orchestrated way. These evaluations, if proved correct, can be more hazardous. For instance, in war-like situations, confidential data of governments can be modified or erased by hackers instantly to cause financial loss or take undue strategic advantage.

Stresses lack of preparation of organizations

As we move into 2021, the Solar Winds hack event has once again reiterated nothing is completely secure in this ever-evolving threat landscape. Indeed, no vendor or solution can fully guarantee to protect the networks of an enterprise. Perfect information security is a myth, but the key is resilience. (See: How COVID-19 has changed cybersecurity focus for 2021)

The last few weeks must have been more strenuous for CIOs and CISOs who would need to spend long-hours evaluating the impact on their networks, systems, and data from the SolarWinds cyber-attack. It’s time for enterprises to seek responses to some of the key questions more vehemently:

  • Do you have a contingency plan to combat accidental breaches and unknown threats?
  • Do you depend upon a single security vendor (say, for VPN, network monitoring, and network slicing) or want to onboard different security vendors to safeguard our networks?
  • Can you change our defense approach to strengthen our cyber resilience levels?
  • Are you regularly testing our multiple endpoints and operating systems and keeping them secure?
  • Have you evaluated the risks of third-party software vendors and analyzed their ability to combat sophisticated threats?
  • Is your service-level-agreement updated?

The SolarWinds hack event could be a catalyst for technology leaders to rethink and analyze all their security solutions and potential gates of network vulnerabilities in the context of modern-day technologies. There might be many undisclosed portions, and more details around the impairment from the breach is likely to continue to come out in the next few weeks.

 

 

 

Cybersecurity threats loom larger on e-tailers this holiday

Cybersecurity threats loom larger on e-tailers this holiday

Cybersecurity threats are looming large to get the advantage of homebound shoppers, who are mainly relying on virtual shopping this holiday season to prevent coronavirus spread. From great shopping days to Black Friday sale, every year, the entire December and January month help retailers generate huge revenues and buyers getting deep discounts.

This year, there is a reason for e-retailers to be more vigilant against cybercriminals who could take advantage of the massive human traffic on their sites to conduct fraudulent online transactions.

According to the latest security report on the 2020 Holiday Season from McAfee, a global computer security software company, there were 419 threats per minute in Q2 2020, increasing almost 12 percent over the previous quarter. It notes that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has compelled more people to opt for online shopping this year. Over 68 percent of Indians have increased their shopping activity this year. These threats are likely to scale new heights during the ongoing holiday season.

The spike in web traffic can be a source of joy for many e-retailers who have been hit hard due to the pandemic’s driven economic instability. However, it has also expanded threatening surfaces that could lead to cybersecurity disasters.(See: How COVID-19 has changed cybersecurity focus for 2021 and Combating cyber threats in the new normal)

Threats in the era of new behavior

It is evident that with increased e-commerce operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, the retail sector has become very lucrative for cybercriminals. This is primarily because these sites retain sensitive customer information such as name, contact details, and credit card/ debit card numbers.

According to findings by cybersecurity firm Imperva Research Labs, the volume of attacks on retailers’ APIs has far exceeded average levels this year. While the majority of the attacks occurred from bot activity, leading attack vectors for retail API attacks in 2020 to include cross-site scripting (XSS) (42%) and SQL injection (40%).

DDoS attacks, phishing, and emailer frauds have also peaked at new scales this year. Imperva observed an average of eight-layer attacks per month against retail sites, with a significant peak in April 2020 as lockdown measures led to an increase in demand for online shopping. It is, therefore, essential for e-retailers to devise a robust strategy to address these cybersecurity threats.

In April this year, Japanese multinational consumer electronics and video game company, Nintendo, suffered a massive cyberattack on its official website, leading to data theft of over 300,000 Nintendo customers.

Many of these accounts were put in jeopardy and used as unsolicited purchases. Cybercriminals also leaked sensitive customer data such as name, password, date of birth, and payment information on the Dark Web, making a loss of brand reputation and goodwill of the Kyoto-based society. With the number of transactions witnessing a steep hike, both consumers and organizations are seeing the rise of holiday cybersecurity threats and need extra surveillance in order to stay secure.

Fraud prevention strategy

Regardless of what many industry observers say, e-retailers continue to hurt most by cybersecurity threats. For them, the only way out of cybercriminals’ grip is by employing the best class identification solutions that can fully secure their cloud infrastructure without impacting convenience.

E-retailers need to keep their cloud infrastructure up to date and proactively explore intelligent cybersecurity solutions to prevent their websites from hijacking.

Some of the best cybersecurity practices that e-retailers can espouse through advanced security solutions:

Address verification service (AVS): One of the most prevalent measures to keep fraudsters at bay is AVS. It’s an automated mechanism that matches the billing address with the payment instrument’s address, say, a credit card, to identify suspicious transaction activity.

Location monitoring: Those transactions where the shipping, billing, and the IP address are in proximity are usually safer transactions. If there is a significant remoteness between those addresses, the account or transaction must be supervised more closely. Various solutions are supported by advanced AI and analytics technologies available today that can help e-retailers monitor transactions on their sites and check for suspicious behavior.

IP address legitimacy: Fraudsters often mask their IP address to place orders with online retailers to avoid being tracked. Using cutting-edge technologies such as zero-trust and cryptographic network protocols, online retailers can prevent and mitigate such spoofing attacks. (See: Covid-19: Reimagining work with a zero-trust lens)

Multifactor authentication: A robust multifactor authentication protocol ensures digital users’ authenticity and provides secure access.

Keep your users informed: All e-retailers must keep their customers up-to-date on the latest cyberattacks and measures to navigate with caution. Information about how to keep a strong password and secure their information should be communicated frequently to customers.

There are many other modern-day tools available that can help e-retailers secure their networks from holiday cybersecurity threats. They should consult with their cybersecurity partner to ensure a secure online retail experience and prevent cybercriminals from taking unassailable advantage.

 

Signs that show 2021 will be the year of rebound!

Signs that show 2021 will be the year of rebound!

The year 2020 has likely been among the worst in the history of humankind. At the start of this year, no one expected us to devote the entire year fighting against a deadly virus with no escape path. Everything was unprecedented, whether it was nationwide lockdowns, restrictive travel, widely implemented social distancing measures, and mass working-from-home. In recent months, however, there have been some strong signals in the rebound in 2021. (See: Growth of Indian IT sector set for revival in 2021)

It was not as if things were going great from an Indian economic standpoint in the pre-Covid normal. However, sound fundamentals maintained macroeconomic stability before the pandemic.

The pandemic has been a blow for many companies, mainly brick and mortar businesses, who now face an existential threat. This grave situation also caused so many job losses, making a devastating impact on millions of people’s livelihoods.

Despite these setbacks from the COVID19 meltdown, the pandemic also brought few silver linings, such as the increased adoption of digital technologies and robust business continuity planning. The pandemic has unleashed a new era of thought process and cast away everything for granted theory.

As we are embarking on 2021, here are some of the significant signs that indicate that the next year will the year of transformation and rebound!

Acceleration of digital transformation

Amidst adversities, technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning models, cloud, and predictive analytics have helped the world move forward, harness human potential, and augment our capacity to partner virtually. This is one of the foremost factors that indicate 2021 as the rebound year.

Digital technologies emerged as a new force of change amidst the unstable equilibrium. For instance, telemedicine and online consulting have become more common; mobile payments and e-banking transactions have surpassed all previous record levels; e-learning has become widely accepted, and virtual recruitment is the new norm. (See: CIOs’ digital transformation focus accelerates recovery for IT firms)

Many skeptics who earlier questioned these technologies’ roles and called them a substitute for human potential have suddenly become the most prominent adopters. Not only these technologies helped maintain business continuity for enterprises, but they also facilitate COVID-19 preparedness and enable countries to contain the spread of the infection. (See: It’s time to invest in a Chief Transformation Officer!)

According to Fitch, a global rating agency, the Indian IT services sector is expected to resume high single-digit revenue growth in 2021-2022 due to a higher demand for digital transformation. The coronavirus pandemic’s impact is seen to be only moderate and short term, as customers focus on transforming their businesses digitally, moving services and work platforms online, and minimizing spending on legacy services.

In 2021, these technologies will further enable organizations to respond to challenges with agility and resilience. Over the next twelve months, new technology shifts are expected to fast-track the Indian e-commerce sector’s growth, remote education, and virtual healthcare support.

The continuous aggregation of data by enterprises and their meaningful interpretation will elucidate consumer behavior and influence business decisions. Contactless technologies will make the reopening of offices smooth and safe.

Improved investor sentiments

A critical positive that has emerged in the last three months is that foreign investors improved sentiments in the Indian market. Capital inflows to India’s Foreign direct investment (FDI) surpassed US$ 500 billion in September, restoring the country’s credentials as a key investment destination.

US technology firms such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon have all pledged large new India investments this year. Early rebound in investment activity indicates that country can accelerate its growth prospects in H2 2021. (See: Will FB–Jio deal create magic?)

There have also been several revisions by global rating firms such as S&P and Fitch in India’s growth projections for 2021. India’s road to recovery is faster than the previous estimations due to rising demand and declining COVID-19 rates.

Robust business continuity models

While the pandemic scars may take some time to heal, the disruption has sparked a global awareness around the importance of firm business continuity models.

Many of the insights gained from the pandemic have translated to create systematic business continuity plans, contactless behaviors, dynamic processes by organizations of all scales. As we advance, this will enable businesses to improve their ability to combat similar disruptions and rebound with more confidence and skills in H2 2021.

According to a report, COVID-19: Implications for business, by Mckinsey, there is now better awareness around risk preparedness and governance. Corporate decision-makers introspect which protections and technologies are worth the investment and can translate into long term solutions.

Salary hikes

Many employers are rolling-back salary cuts and hiring freeze that they enforced in April this year after the pandemic due to increased uncertainty. Many of the IT companies have also announced salary hikes in response to growing optimism. (See: Salary hikes at IT firms on cards as COVID disruption eases)

According to LinkedIn statistics, hiring has improved by 30% in September. There has been a significant rebound in the sectors such as construction, services, logistics, and retail.

The remote workforce trends mean that many opportunities have lost geographical barriers, allowing people from different countries to compete for an opportunity.

Salesforce fills compliance gaps with Hyperforce cloud tool

Salesforce fills compliance gaps with Hyperforce cloud tool

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) major Salesforce has recently launched Hyperforce solution in India. The new architecture will enable Salesforce’s customers to run all existing Salesforce solutions on the public cloud and select where their data is hosted.

Some of the platform’s key features are: higher compute capacity, ease of cloud resources deployment into the public cloud, minimize the implementation time from months to weeks, and backward compatibility.

With a backward compatibility feature, every Salesforce app, its customization, and integration, regardless of cloud, will run on Hyperforce. 

Enabling digital transformation goals

In 2021, when technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning will be heavily tested and deployed by organizations, businesses would need the agility and ease to utilize various clouds’ competencies the way they seem fit.

Salesforce Hyperforce will enable users to leverage Salesforce’s CRM tools via cloud infrastructures of other cloud service providers, such as Microsoft, Google, and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

While Salesforce has not shared whether it has already signed-up with any cloud service providers to offer a hosting option to its customers, it is likely that it will take advantage of its strategic partnerships with AWS and Google. Microsoft’s Azure onboarding seems like a certainty due to Salesforce’s recent acquisition of Slack. (See: Salesforce buys Slack to expand its cloud footprint)

Salesforce’s new approach is in line with meeting the growing enterprise digital transformation roll-outs requirements and bring flexibility to businesses to move their apps and infrastructure the way they want it.

Data compliance

For many years, Salesforce hosted the data of its customers in its own cloud. However, with changing times, governments worldwide have begun to stiffen data security laws to address privacy-related concerns in the economy. And businesses have been demanding more control of their data and decide where it gets hosted — on-premise or cloud.

With Salesforce Hyperforce, the San Francisco-based company will let its customers choose to store data in a particular location or a country to support mandatory compliance and regulations applied to that region, company, and industry.

“One of the broader global trends that have impacted India and also the world, there’s a proliferation of data privacy laws, of compliance requirements around data residency. This platform will enable our customers to respond to this (requirement) whether they operate just within India, whether they’re a multinational with customers in multiple countries,” said Salesforce President and COO Bret Taylor in an official statement.

Hyperforce will also enable Salesforce to tap sectors such as banking and finance, telecom, and government enterprises in India that follow strict data compliance policies. The new architecture is currently available to users in India and Germany. Salesforce plans to unveil the offering in ten more countries by 2021.

Top technology trends to look for in 2021

Top technology trends to look for in 2021

Not only has 2020 been one of the most challenging years in the history of humanity, but it has also completely transformed our way of thinking and working. Many of the top technology trends help us navigate the crisis.

Throughout the year, COVID-19 has hurt all areas of life, causing businesses to close, economies collapse, and people to be anxious. Amid panic and uncertainty, technology and connectivity have become vital elements that have given people and companies hope, courage, optimism, and the competence to continue. (See: Technology trends for businesses in 2020)

The year was marked by many technological trends surrounding the cloud, robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), and augmented reality (AR), leading companies through the crisis. As the year concludes, organizations in all sectors have realized the importance of a scalable and secure network, superior connectivity, and advanced analytical tools to enable their people to meet new challenges while working from anywhere.

For technology leaders, this new approach has led to the accelerated execution of digital transformation efforts, the review of their IT budgets, and the redesign of their future business continuity frameworks.

At Better World, we expect businesses to continue focusing on cutting-edge technologies in 2021 and upgrade their networks to equip themselves to deal with any future barriers fully.

top technology trends

Let’s look at some of the top technology trends that will be key to delivering business transformation in 2021.

5G adoption to take off in 2021

One of the most anticipated wireless technologies of the modern era, the fifth-generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks, is likely to pick up pace in 2021. The technology would match or even exceed the speeds of physical, optical fiber connections under most conditions, strengthening many it-based deployments soon.

5G has already been introduced in many countries by select telecommunications companies in limited locations. It is likely to be available for approximately 15% of the world’s population by the end of 2020. By 2021, there will be more dynamic deployments and expansions worldwide, making them available for at least 70% of the global population.

For successful 5G rollouts, telecom operators will focus on robust network planning and monitoring tools to offer new monetization opportunities and control operating costs.

In India, Reliance Jio has been working closely with numerous national equipment makers to lead the 5G race. The telecom operator has put aside the ambitious 5G rollout schedule for the second half of 2021, depending on spectrum availability. Once available, the technology will bring more incredible automation benefits to the manufacturing and logistics process. It will enable enterprises to control mission-critical devices remotely in real-time and drive innovative customer experience.

The explosion of customer-data-platforms (CDP)

The COP ranks second among the major technology trends for 2021. While the pandemic put most businesses under enormous pressure in 2020, there has been high interest and investments around CDP. The CDP is a collection of software that retrieves dispersed data, let’s say, from a single client, from multiple sources in a single organized and central location.

Compared to conventional customer relationship management (CRM) systems, CDP allows companies to give their customers a consolidated view from broader contact points. It helps strengthen customer engagement by enabling organizations to track customer profiles through their lifecycle and interactions.

Technology majors such as Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Salesforce, Treasure Data, and Adobe are investing heavily in CDP deployment. By 2021, businesses will see a more significant amount of data from data lakes and other sources. This will speed up the demand for automated tools and technologies that allow companies to intelligently analyze data, benefit customers, and generate new opportunities.

Hybrid cloud to occupy center stage

Although there are no crystal balls to precisely forecast enterprise cloud strategy, it is clear that hybrid cloud technologies will substantially grow in popularity among CIOs. In the post-pandemic era, organizations realized the importance of a modern hybrid multi-cloud architecture. They had to amplify their collaboration activities across their business functions in a work-from-home setup.

A greater realization came around managing IT resources through a combination of on-premise cloud computing services and third-party services to reduce the chances of network downtime, eliminate data silos, and help scale business with agility.

From 2021 and throughout the next few years, hybrid cloud is expected to be one of the top technology trends. Most young enterprises and organizations who plan to migrate to the cloud in 2021 will be looking to take the hybrid cloud route to exploit business opportunities and provide an exceptional consumer experience.

Acceleration in AI deployments

In 2021, organizations will rely heavily on artificial intelligence (AI) to improve resilience, rapid computer operations management, decision-making, maximizing resources, and improving supply chain efficiency. According to Better World, at least 70 percent of enterprises across all sectors have adopted some form of AI-based technologies this year. A majority of them will pledge aggressive AI-based production deployments during the next twelve months to establish a competitive edge.

Some of the leading examples in the AI-space are Chatbots, intelligent analytics, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), driverless vehicles, contactless technologies, digital assistants, and location finder apps (such as Google maps).

The next year will see several AI-based use case studies, which will also be driven by 5G rollouts. In a fast-growing virtual environment, technology leaders would require intelligent models to manage and use enormous data wisely. AI-led solutions will enable organizations to derive concrete insights and break down the data smartly with a tremendous speed. (See: Enterprises in India leading AI adoption globally)

Greater emphasis on cybersecurity and cyber resilience

While in 2020, enterprises were largely focused on adjusting to the crisis, 2021 will see the aggressive implementation of robust digital transformation initiatives that can expand businesses’ remote workforce capabilities and strengthen corporate resilience. This unparalleled workplace transition also requires businesses to build newer strategies to protect employees’ networks by augmenting their cybersecurity architectures.

In 2021, a significant focus on cybersecurity will be looking at IT security areas that are too expensive to implement. With the upcoming expansion of IoT connected devices, networks will be more vulnerable to large-scale multivector cyberattacks.

In the second half of 2021, organizations are expected to focus on cybersecurity and accelerate their deployment efforts around advanced solutions to protect their networks and clouds and improve security controls.

Technologies that could drive the adoption of secure cloud solutions will be much in demand. (See: How COVID-19 has changed cybersecurity focus for 2021).

Additionally, there will be a continued emphasis on remote monitoring capabilities, automation, and zero-trust models for robust user access patterns. (See: Top enterprise cybersecurity trends of 2020)

Inroads into quantum computing

Another top trend of 2021 will be a stronger focus on quantum computing. A lot of industry viewers believe that next year might be the year of quantum computing planning. Several algorithms will drive the quantum computing performance, and those will be seriously looking at making inroads into IT use case workflows.

Several vendors such as IBM, Google, Honeywell, and DWave have showcased their quantum solutions scale. While quantum computing still has a long way to go, in 2021, several use cases are expected to be deployed.

 

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