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Tuesday, 13 November 2018 10:56

Five trends led by 5G to dominate the digital future: report

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Evolving technology like 5G, artificial intelligence, blockchain, data privacy and cloud will usher in and pave the way for significant IT and network architecture changes in 2019, according to Interconnection and data centre company Equinix.

Releasing its top five predictions for 2019, Equinix says it anticipates that 5G will open up endless possibilities of digital transformation, especially in an IoT and AI-connected world.

The predictions come as Australian 5G networks will be switched on in 2019 with leading telecommunications companies committing to selling commercial 5G services by 2019 or 2020.

According to Equinix, to attain the high radio density required for 5G, operators are looking to optimise costs through the use of open-source commodity networking hardware and virtualisation of the wireless networking stack.

“These efforts will pave the way for an Edge architecture to solve for cloud radio networks that will power several radios through pools of virtualised network software. Equinix anticipates increased investments in 2019 in the revamping of existing cellular building infrastructure and building of new edge infrastructure, as well as innovation in hardware and virtual wireless networking stacks for both performance and cost optimisation,” the company says.

“Equinix has identified a number of technology trends that will impact the way in which businesses operate in Australia. In our ever-evolving digital world, it is important for companies to be prepared to support their organisations through the consistent shifts in technology," said Jeremy Deutsch, managing director, Equinix Australia.

"Businesses need to move closer to the digital edge and architect the cloud infrastructures their organisation needs. Equinix Australia is committed to continuously supporting our customers through our interconnection capabilities.”

Behind its prediction on 5G, Equinix outlines its consideration on what will happen with AI, blockchain technology, data privacy and data protection laws and cloud services.

Along with observations on 5G, here’s the Equinix report on other ICT trends next year:

• Riding the rise of distributed artificial intelligence architectures – Next-generation architectures will break free from centralised locations

Equinix predicts that the growing use of AI in business and society will increase data usage exponentially. Australian companies are already investing in AI to further improve customer experience and enhance digital innovation.

While first-generation AI architectures have historically been centralised, Equinix predicts that in 2019 enterprises will enter the realm of distributed AI architectures, where AI model building and model inferencing will take place at the local edge, physically closer to the origin source of the data. To access more external data sources for accurate predictions, enterprises will turn to secure data transaction marketplaces. They will also strive to leverage AI innovation in multiple public clouds without getting locked into a single cloud, further decentralising AI architecture.

• “Un-Blocking” the chain A network of networks will mature blockchain for greater business security and monetisation

Blockchain investments are growing at a CAGR of 73%, with a projected total spending of US$11.7 billion by 2022, according to IDC. Investments in Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) are also forecast to reach US$2.1 billion in the same period. Equinix predicts that:

Enterprises will start to participate in multiple blockchain networks (e.g. food safety, financial services, global container shipment), thus creating a network of networks something that allows them to simultaneously interact with multiple blockchain ecosystems.

Blockchain performance will become a more important requirement within the enterprise space, driven by the need to accommodate more than simple transaction data or as an element in applications where real-time performance and linkage with other data sources matter.  Examples of performance-sensitive blockchain applications include track & trace (supply chain), machine-to-machine (IoT) communication/exchange, and cross-border currency settlement, just to name a few.

Integration will become a huge challenge as enterprises combine their legacy applications with multiple blockchain networks, necessitating the deployment of exchange points for blockchain participants to directly connect and collaborate.

• Manoeuvering the data privacy maze — Changing data protection laws and heightened privacy concerns will inspire more progressive and distributed security processes

Many enterprises and SaaS providers are deploying mini-clouds in multiple regions in order to adhere to local data residence and compliance requirements. They are also looking at distributed data management architectures that require global networks and data fabrics in order to coherently manage these distributed mini-clouds.

Equinix predicts that in order to prevent data breaches and retain control over their data, enterprises will consider:

  • New data management techniques that operate seamlessly on encrypted data (for example, limited forms of data querying on homomorphically encrypted data).
  • New hardware-based virtualisation technology that will prevent service providers from surveiling their customer’s data.

•    Tapping interconnection to tame cloud complexity Hybrid multi-cloud environments will increase the relevance of interconnection

Enterprises are now accessing SaaS, IaaS and PaaS solutions from multiple providers, and Equinix anticipates that 2019 will see the next level of challenges associated with hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud approaches. According to an IDC report, 66% of Australian enterprises see cloud technology as a tool for competitive advantage and more than 60% of Australian enterprise IT organisations will commit to multi-cloud architecture before the end of 2018, driving up the rate and pace of change in their ICT architectures.

Equinix believes enterprises will struggle with expanding their security perimeters, as well as integration and management issues as they pursue hybrid multicloud architectures. These predicted trends indicate that enabling capabilities such as security, analytics and data exchange in close proximity to the cloud is a must for seamless cross-border data flow, and the right interconnection partner can help organisations navigate through the complexity of cloud.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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