Dramatic surge set for edge computing market, driven by industrial enterprise adoption

The multi-access edge computing market is set to grow at an incredible annual rate of 157.4%, generating US$7.23 billion by 2024, which dwarfs the 2019 revenue of US$64.1 million.

The edge computing solution from operators in wireless networks is expected to be utilised by 90% of industrial enterprises in the next three years, predicts Frost & Sullivan.

“The recent launch of the 5G technology coupled with MEC brings computing power close to customers and also allows the emergence of new applications and experiences for them,” said Renato Pasquini, the Research Director for Information & Communication Technologies at Frost & Sullivan.

While only being in its nascent stage, edge computing offers shorter latencies by being close to where the data originates, which also provides robust security, responsive data collection and lower operating costs.

This is particularly important in a world where industrial industries are becoming increasingly hyper-connected with growing adoption of the Internet of Things, smart factories, remote monitoring solutions, autonomous robotics and vehicles.

The demand for edge computing is also growing, as data-driven organisations and governments increasingly require significant streams of data for real-time analytics.

“Going forward, 5G and multi-access edge computing are an opportunity for telecom operators to launch innovative offerings and enable an ecosystem to flourish in the business-to-business segment of telecom service providers using the platform,” added Mr. Pasquini.

Within the multi-access edge computing ecosystem, software edge applications promises the highest annual growth, followed by telecom operators, infrastructure-as-a-service providers, and edge data center colocation services.

However, Frost & Sullivan identified a number of challenges restricting the growth of the market, including an underdeveloped ecosystem in different verticals, limiting the number of solutions and applications available.

The implementation of multi-access edge computing also requires heavy initial capital investment and lacks standardisation, which currently limits the number of cities that can adopt this technology.

How can you tap into the edge computing market?

The multi-access edge computing market is expected to drive new revenue-generating use cases, particularly for telcos in the application of 5G wireless technology, despite delays in the rollout of networks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To tap into this lucrative market, Frost & Sullivan made a number of suggestions. Telecom operators, for example, should work on solutions and services to meet requirements for connected and autonomous cars, which could include advancements in 5G technology.

In order to make this a reality, telecom operators are advised to partner with cloud providers and organisations like AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and IBM Cloud that work with artificial intelligence and machine learning to design autonomous cars and drone delivery. 

System integrators could also tap into 5G by providing end-to-end solutions, which the research firm noted would be a significant value addition for enterprises, as 5G requires specialised skill sets.

By combining 5G with new specialised hardware-based mobile edge computing technologies like edge routers and data centers, these solutions can meet the market’s streaming media needs, as telecom operators must address the rising consumption of high-definition video streaming on mobiles.

Frost & Sullivan urged companies in the space to capitalise on the innovation opportunities utilising 5G and multi-access edge computing, including augmented reality, virtual reality, ultra-high-definition streaming and cloud gaming.

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Indonesia to build Government Cloud as part of digital transformation efforts

Indonesia is set to build a Government Cloud platform as part of the state’s digital transformation plans, announced the Director General of Information & Communication Technology Applications, Semuel Abrijani Pangerapan.

The Government has taken French and South Korean foreign loans and/or grants to build two data centers and a government network, CNN Indonesia reported.

“We are discussing whether two is enough. There may be three, but this has not been decided yet,” said Mr. Pangerapan.

During a video conference on Tuesday, it was revealed there are 2,700 data centers and server rooms, but only 3% were declared eligible as data centers, while the rest are simply minimalist server rooms.

“Without good network technology, we are very vulnerable to attack. That’s why we will design a Government network,” said Mr. Pangerapan.

The data centers constructed by the Government will be connected to existing facilities at the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology, the Registration of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Finance.

“We will operate the data centers later to become a connected Government Cloud service,” added Mr. Pangerapan.

The data center and Indonesia Government Cloud will be managed by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology in the form of a Technical Implementing Unit and a Center for Electronic-Based Government System Infrastructure (SPBE).

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India’s TVS Automobile Solutions to develop ‘platform of platforms’ with Google Cloud

TVS Automobile Solutions, a leader in India’s automotive aftermarket, has partnered with Google Cloud to develop a ‘platform of platforms’ tailored to empower small entrepreneurs.

The initiative hopes to bring vehicle owners, retailers, garages and insurance companies into one digital ecosystem to provide service, automotive parts and roadside assistance.

“We can bring 30,000-40,000 small fragmented businesses … on our digital platform, thereby scaling up their businesses, generating new demand and managing services,” said G Srinivasa Raghavan, the Managing Director of TVS Automobile Solutions.

TVS Automobile Solutions, which is part of the $8.5 billion TVS Group, will offer a range of solutions, including connected vehicles, diagnostics and predictive service management and part replacement on the cloud to its 20,000+ retailers, 15,000 garages and over two million independent vehicle owners.

“We could provide on-demand, at-home, on-premise or any service requirement with an agreed turnover time for our customers,” said Mr. Raghavan.

The digitally transformed, ‘one-of-a-kind’ platform will deploy Industry 4.0 technology like artificial intelligence and machine learning to execute the said services.

“Besides placing requirements on the platform, retailers can search, pick and choose across one million parts provided and suggested by TVS ASL,” said Mr. Raghavan.

Mr. Raghavan believed the initiative will be seen as an accelerator in digitising the global aftermarket landscape.

As part of the partnership with Google Cloud, TVS ASL has migrated their data center infrastructures and public cloud deployments onto the tech giant’s platform.

“TVS ASL is unlocking the potential of its business data at scale using machine learning to automate and optimise it’s supply chain, and leveraging managed services so they can focus on their engineering effort on IT-led business initiatives that will pave the path for a strong digital future,” said Karan Bajwa, the Managing Director of Google Cloud India.

The aftermarket industry in India is estimated by TVS Automobile Solutions to be worth US$10 billion and grew at an annual rate of 10% in the last five years. The automotive aftermarket player expects the new digital platform will help them grow their market share of 4% to 10% by 2023.

The first phase of TVS ASL’s ‘platform of platforms’ is expected to be implemented in October.

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NETS and Singtel partner to transform digital payments using AWS cloud

NETS has announced plans to transform digital payment experiences by partnering with Singtel and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

As Singapore slowly opens up following the pandemic lockdown, allowing general travel to Brunei and New Zealand, the collaboration will enable Singaporeans to make purchases at more retail outlets whilst abroad in Asia Pacific using the Network for Electronic Transfers.

“NETS will be well-positioned to facilitate cross-border commerce by integrating ASEAN+ travel corridors whilst making payments simple and easy for consumers,” said Lawrence Chan, the CEO of NETS Group.

Foreign visitors in Singapore will also be able to make seamless payments using NETS’ merchants in the country using overseas e-wallets and services.

“The initiative will spur cross-border digital payment growth for overseas payments partners, particularly micro merchants, and help them leverage this to expand their market beyond domestic borders,” added Mr. Chan.

The Network for Electronic Transfers will leverage AWS’ cloud computing platform and Singtel’s ConnectPlus Managed Network to accelerate its expansion across Southeast Asia.

“Our ConnectPlus Managed Network will enable NETS to dynamically allocate enterprise resources across multiple locations, optimising network performance and operational efficiency to offer secure, swift and reliable cross-border financial transactions,” said Lim Seng Kong, the Managing Director for Singtel Enterprise Business and Group Enterprise at Singtel.

The cloud gateway service offered by Singtel will enable NETS to deploy and manage its virtual private clouds, while AWS cloud services are expected to provide NETS with quick and locatised connectivity for potential partners to access their cross-border payment services.

“We look forward to collaborating with NETS to innovate new services faster, maintain operational excellence, and provide secure and seamless payment services to customers around Southeast Asia,” said Conor McNamara, the Managing Director of ASEAN at AWS.

NETS will take advantage of AWS’ database, containers, serverless storage and security.

The collaboration between NETS, Singtel and AWS will look to tap into Southeast Asia’s unbanked population, which is forecast to be worth US$1 trillion by 2025. This population will need more access to digital financial services, as the region becomes more tech-savvy and more expectant of convenient and accessible digital services.

Image Credit: Yahoo News Singapore

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NETS and Singtel partner to transform digital payments using AWS cloud

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Halliburton awarded digital transformation project by Thailand’s PTTEP

Halliburton has successfully been awarded a digital transformation contract by Thailand’s state-owned petroleum exploration and production company, PTTEP.

The American multinational corporation will design and implement a series of projects as part of PTTEP’s Advanced Production Excellence (APEX) Initiative.

The APEX Initiative will look to improve operational efficiency and production in four offshore fields, including Arthit, Greater Bongkot South, Greater Bongkot North and the Myanmar Zawtika Field.

“Effectively leveraging and implementing digital technologies improves efficiency to increase production, reduce operating expenses and maximize the value of the operator’s portfolio,” said Mr. Nagaraj Srinivasan, the Senior Vice President of Landmark and Halliburton Digital Solutions.

Landmark is a Halliburton business line that provides Exploration and Production professionals with software-driven lifecycle insights using open architecture, hybrid cloud environments and digital twin.

Landmark will deploy its DecisionSpace Production Suite using cloud computing technology to store data rather than onboard the offshore fields. Their DecisionSpace Enterprise Platform will integrate Honeywell Forge, a powerful analytics software solution providing real-time data and visual intelligence, so PTTEP can implement more productive and efficient work processes.

“We look forward to collaborating with Honeywell to support PTTEP on its digital transformation journey,” added Mr. Srinivasan.

The software solutions are designed to use advanced physics and data science-based models to manage offshore wells and points of delivery. A multitude of operations will also be optimised using the solution, including short-term production planning, flow assurance and sand production monitoring and control, condensate stabilisation and fuel gas optimisation.

The financial terms of the deal between Halliburton, one of the world’s largest oil field service companies, and PTT Exploration and Production Public Company Limited (PTTEP) were not disclosed.

In February 2020, Halliburton was awarded a digital transformation contract with Pertamina, the largest Indonesian oil and gas company, using Landmark’s hybrid cloud offering.

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Interconnectivity in data centers has accelerated, as the need for connected devices and digital transformation is rapidly rising.

For a region like Asia Pacific that is rapidly going digital, data center providers are working hard to design connected platforms that enable global teams to collaborate with less downtime and latency.

Register now for our ‘Interconnecting into the Future’ digital event to discover how interconnectivity can help you reach your digital transformation desires.

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> View W.Media’s eclectic mix of digital events

Toyota and Amazon Web Services partner to build cloud-based mobility services

Toyota and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have announced they are expanding their global collaboration to build a cloud-based platform.

Japan’s automotive manufacturer and Amazon’s cloud computing unit will develop Toyota’s Toyota’s Mobility Services Platform (MSPF) for the next generation of data-driven mobility services in their cloud-connected vehicles.

“Connectivity drives all of the processes of development, production, sales and service in the automotive business,” said Shigeki Tomoyama, the Chief Information and Security Officer as well as Chief Production Officer at Toyota Motor Corporation.

The collaboration with AWS will extend to Toyota’s entire enterprise, building a foundation for streamlined, secure data sharing and accelerate its move to Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric (CASE) mobility technologies.

“Expanding our agreement with AWS to strengthen our vehicle data platform will be a major advantage for CASE activities within Toyota,” added Mr. Tomoyama.

The new platform will enable Toyota to collect data from connected vehicles to influence design and development as well as new services like behavior-based insurance, maintenance notifications, and ride or car sharing.

“Toyota is able to innovate quickly across its enterprise and continue to lead the automotive industry in delivering the quality of experiences that customers expect,” said Andy Jassy, the CEO of AWS.

The deal by AWS marks the e-commerce giant’s newest move into the transportation industry following last month’s partnership announcement with Volkswagen to build cloud platforms where business customers can buy and sell industrial applications.

AWS is also partnered up with automotive suppliers and providers like Aptiv, Panasonic Corp. Nvidia Corp., Uber and Avis.

Explore how edge data centers are driving future innovations

The advent of Industry 4.0 technologies like artificial intelligence, 5G and the Internet of Things is bringing increasing the number of connected devices and new innovations in autonomous vehicles, virtual and augmented reality in retail and entertainment, and robotics for manufacturing and healthcare.

But to enable lower latency for vastly more connected devices, edge data centers are needed to bring IT resources closer to the user.

Register now to explore how we can work together to tap into the potential of edge data centers to transform your business.

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Optimising data centers in the digital age with OCP

Optimised data centers with open infrastructures are becoming ever more crucial to meet increasing demands of cloud service providers, telcos and enterprises in the digital age.

As data volumes rise, older data centers are not always equipped to implement newer styles of hardware or designed to efficiently handle fully loaded and fully equipped racks.

On W.Media’s third Tech Talk, Steve Helvie, the VP of Channel at the Open Compute Project Foundation, revealed they are seeing an increase in density per rack across various markets. This shows the increasing demand on data centers and the types of workloads people are starting to run.

“Even public sectors are starting to ask more about the types of GPUs they may be able to run,” said Mr. Helvie.

This increase in density creates issues around the types of facilities where these racks can be deployed. And these new types of hardware also brings concerns for power efficiency to the rack.

OCP addressed these issues by recently developing the OCP Ready™ Facility Recognition Program. This includes a set of guidelines and a site assessment test to identify optimised data centers capable of handling, understanding and supporting OCP racks and infrastructure.

“End customers are looking for those facilities that understand OCP and can rely on local support at that facility and know that they can grow in that facility,” said Mr. Helvie.

OCP is now in their third version of their Open Compute Rack, which will be the most comprehensive and converged rack architecture, as a lot of OCP members, including Facebook, Google and Microsoft have come together on this version. The newest version of the rack covers density issues as well as the new wave of architecture.

“The main goal of the OCP Community is reducing investment operation cost, reducing energy consumption, and most importantly, sharing ideas and know-how,” said Resul Altinkilic, Project Manager of Global Key Accounts for IT at Rittal, a Platinum OCP member.

But why should you choose open hardware? This was an important question Rittal asked to their customers and partners. The top three answers given were cost reduction, power efficiency and standardisation.

“When you use one specification and you have the flexibility to buy the same rack or hardware under the same specifications, it is standardisation. With power efficiency, you don’t have to transition from AC to DC,” said Mr. Altinkilic.

Singapore-based data center provider, SpaceDC, became the first data center in Asia to achieve the OCP Ready™ certification by demonstrating its ability to create highly efficient, optimised data centers and meet OCP guidelines.

SpaceDC proved to OCP that their JAK2 facility in Indonesia was capable of accommodating racks weighing 500kg and allowing end-users to smoothly deploy fully populated OCP Racks without delay.

Busbars and fan walls are used throughout their data centers to enable configuration of racks to high densities and remove the need for maintenance staff to enter the data center for electrical or mechanical services, said Darren Hawkins, the Founder and CEO of SpaceDC.

These moves by tech giants, hardware solution developers and data center providers to join OCP’s Community has started to show us why the OCP hardware market is forecasted as a US$10 billion industry.

> Watch ‘A Look Inside an OCP Optimised Data Center in Asia Pacific’ on demand

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NTUC survey reveals digital upskilling a top priority for employers in Singapore amid pandemic, with digital marketing ranking highest

An NTUC LearningHub survey has revealed digital upskilling as a top priority for employers in Singapore, with digital marketing being a top skill, as digital transformation becomes imperative amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many businesses in Singapore have seen their businesses fall by over 50% during the coronavirus outbreak. To remain viable and resilient, organisations have been forced to accelerate or adopt digital transformation plans. 

“Many employers are readier than before to embrace digital solutions that previously seemed daunting, and I foresee digitalisation becoming a core strategy for businesses,” said Mr. Kwek Kok Kwong, NTUC LearningHub’s CEO.

NTUC LearningHub’s Employer Skills Survey found that 58% of Singapore employers are upskilling their workforce in technology-related skills, with digital marketing rated the top skill by 44% of employers across all industries, and 59% in the Trade and Connectivity industry.

Why is digital marketing so important?

There is no question, the world is rapidly going digital. The risk of being left behind and unheard is increasing if you fail to digitally transform.

Physical stores are putting up their shutters and entering the virtual space, consumers are turning to online shopping and a business’ ability to stand out amongst the increasingly saturated digital landscape will be its greatest competitive advantage

“To mitigate the loss of face-to-face selling, digital marketing becomes an imperative to reach out to a huge marketplace of prospects who are now online,” said Anthony Chew, the Director of ICT Product Division at NTUC LearningHub.

Having a website that provides customers with information is no longer sufficient. Businesses today are launching new websites, creating social media campaigns and improving their search engine optimisation (SEO) to be the first to appear on customers’ screens.

The power of digital marketing gives you the ability to understand your audience and see measurable results on a micro level.

“From whether an individual opened an email and read it, or responded to a call to action, digital marketing allows businesses to hyper-personalise campaigns on an individual level,” added Mr. Chew.

Digital marketing is expected to become a long-term marketing contingency plan to tide over the pandemic by reaching customers and generating revenue.

Mr. Chew said: “Digital marketing is not as simple as it seems. Many businesses are taking their operations online for the first time, but the majority are inexperienced with the complexities of virtual promotion and selling.”

Digital marketing encompasses a myriad of services ranging from SEO, pay-per-click advertising, email marketing, social media marketing, and more. These strategies have existed long before COVID-19, but it was a competency that many businesses deemed as optional rather than essential.

“Many businesses had a misconception that digital marketing campaigns are only adopted by big corporations with extensive marketing budget to spare,” added Mr. Chew.

Now, in the COVID-19 era, businesses have been exposed to the long-standing issues that existed, with customers being far more digitally connected and increasingly making most of their purchasing decisions online before ever speaking to a salesperson.

“This forced businesses, even small-medium enterprises, who abide by traditional marketing to rethink their strategy,” said Mr. Chew.

What about other top skills?

Complementary skills of digital marketing were also rated highly by Singapore employers, including data analysis (40%), cybersecurity (25%), data protection (22%) and artificial intelligence (20%) as top skills for their workforce.

NTUC Survey Statistics

These skills were considered essential to create a long-term holistic business model built for scalability and sustainability.

“The ability to use data analysis for decision-making and the customisation clients’ needs will be a game-changer,” said Mr Kwong.

In Singapore, the Covid-19 downtime was an optimal period for employees to upskill, supported by numerous funding schemes. 

Many businesses in Singapore were encouraged to enrol their employees into e-commerce and digital marketing courses offered by Continuing Education and Training Centres.

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Ingram Micro announces Advanced Solutions and growth investment strategy for Asia Pacific

Ingram Micro has announced a series of growth investments spanning the Asia Pacific region as part of its global Advanced Solutions Strategy.

The cloud and supply chain solution provider punctuated its commitment to the region by expanding its Singapore-based value-added solutions approach.

The Vice President of Global Partner Engagement and IoT at Ingram Micro, Sabine Howest, said: “The markets across Asia Pacific continue to be a growing opportunity for Ingram Micro and our channel partners.”

The investments will expand Ingram Micro’s presence in Asia Pacific and provide the technology sales channel with better support and more sophisticated solutions development. 

The team will focus on a new level of service around cybersecurity, hybrid technologies, cloud solutions as well as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.

“Building on our longstanding presence in Asia Pacific, Ingram Micro is now further differentiated by our Advanced Solutions go-to-market sales, technical and vendor management,” said Ingram Micro’s ASEAN Vice President and Country Chief Executive, Francis Choo.

The rapid expansion of their Advanced Solutions technology and value-added services portfolio across Asia Pacific will include the formation of a Center of Excellence, which will support channel partners doing business or looking to expand their expertise in cybersecurity, data center and IoT solutions.

Mr. Choo said: “The investments we’re making are impactful and will help our channel partners simplify the complexity of IT and deliver an exceptional service experience to their customers.”

Mr. Choo will expand his role to lead the expansion of the Advanced Solutions and Global Partner Engagement team, while continuing to oversee the leaders who run Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

“We will continue to invest in and expand our capabilities across all of the countries where we do business in Asia Pacific,” said Diego Utge, Group President for Asia Pacific at Ingram Micro.

The growth investments by Ingram Micro come at a time when countries across Asia Pacific, including Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam are looking to digitally transform businesses and societies through IT spend increases and digitalisation strategies.

Image credit: Ingram Micro

Empowering your digital transformation

With new Industry 4.0 technological advancements taking place, you may be looking for a new data center or cloud provider to empower your digital transformation strategies.

But with so many providers out there, the choice can be overwhelming.

We will tackle this problem at our ‘Data Center Selection & Migration in Asia Pacific’ digital event on Thursday 23 July.

Register for free today to find out how you can migrate your data effectively.

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COVID-19 forces OCP to go digital, but Virtual Summit a resounding success

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Open Compute Project Foundation was forced to go digital by transforming their Global Summit into their first OCP Virtual Summit.

All the content was ready to go, organisations were ready to make big announcements at the show, flights had been booked and the stages were set for the Global Summit in San Jose, California.

But in a tense and difficult decision, OCP cancelled their largest event of the year on the Friday before it was planned to start on Tuesday 3 March.

“It was really beyond our control. Many members of OCP, sponsors and content providers received edicts from their organisations that said they can’t go to large meetings as a result of the pandemic,” said Dirk Van Slyke, Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer of OCP.

To find an alternative, the OCP team still met in San Jose with their production partner to strategise a plan.

Mr. Van Slyke said: “It was out of necessity to recoup all this wonderful content and this interest and momentum within the industry.”

The collaborative Community, which strives to optimise all parts of a data center, found a solution in hosting a Virtual Summit between 12 May and 15 May.

“At the end of the day, we are the enablers of collaboration, so we’ve got to provide a framework by which that can happen,” said Mr. Van Slyke.

OCP kept the collaborative nature of the Virtual Summit alive with panel discussions, live question and answer sessions as well as engineering workshops.

Collaboration on a massive scale

Originally, OCP forecasted between 3,800 and 4,000 attendees for the Global Summit. The Virtual Summit attracted more than 11,000 delegates, with a greater global reach across more than 100 countries.

The collaborative organisation received mostly positive feedback and a better understanding of the limitations of going digital.

“What was missing was those powerful 1-on-1 conversations where a lot of collaboration happens,” said Mr. Van Slyke.

At this time, there is no perfect solution to enable 1-on-1 connections in a virtual space. Mr. Van Slyke identified that there are still difficulties with ensuring privacy of delegates, as ‘you can’t just make everybody’s contact details available’, and the ability to opt-in to a meeting can be cumbersome and difficult on online platforms.

Like many organisations, OCP was concerned that offering virtual elements like live streamed keynotes during their Global Summit would cut back on physical attendance.

“At the end of the day, what we’re hearing from the community is that nothing can replace a 1-on-1 in-person meeting. But if we want to bring a broader audience to the table as well, I don’t think we would sacrifice too much on the attendance side by live-streaming some of those sessions and keynotes,” added Mr. Van Slyke.

Moving forward, OCP will look to incorporate some of the virtual components back into their live events to empower remote collaboration.

“We’re just optimistic that by March of 2021 we will be through this enough to be able to hold our in-person Summit,” said Mr. Van Slyke.

OCP is actively working to figure out their schedule between now and March 2021.

“That’s a ten-month chasm that we’ve created that we’ve got to fill, so we are polling the Community to find out what their needs are,” he added.

OCP is looking at some interesting ideas and applications to make it feel like there are even more people tuning in virtually during an in-person event.

The biggest takeaways from the OCP Virtual Summit

OCP’s VP of Channel Development, Steve Helvie, identified three key takeaways from the Virtual Summit. The first was the ability to consume more content.

“When you’re at a physical event, it is great for the personal connections, but many times you miss a lot of the great content. When you get back to the office and your workday resumes again, you lose the ability to go back and listen to all the great content,” said Mr. Helvie.

The second was the ability for OCP members to convey the right type of message by organising the content in a way that was tailored to a cohesive theme. And third was the sheer audience reach enabled by the online event.

 “The number of countries that are able to consume this now is something we would never achieve at a physical event,” he added.

In the future, OCP will look to expand on this reach and drive awareness in markets that may have been more difficult to penetrate without the power of a digital platform.

Other big news coming from the OCP Virtual Summit was the announcement that Google had become an Executive Member and will hold a seat on OCP’s Board of Directors.

“Google’s new board participation further represents how fundamental open hardware continues to be within the industry, and the only way we’ll continue to drive innovation within the industry is together,” said Mark Roenigk, Chair of the Board of Directors for OCP.

The new Director will be Dr. Parthasarathy Ranganathan, a distinguished Engineer at Google.

Dr. Ranganathan said: “We look forward to extending our involvement with the OCP Community to help drive greater choice and agility for the industry.”

Virtual until further notice

All OCP events are virtual until further notice, when Members and participants in the Community are able to release restrictions on the types of meetings employees can attend and travel to, advised Mr. Van Slyke.

That’s why on Wednesday 8 July, you are invited to take a look at an OCP-Optimised Data Center in Southeast Asia at our next digital Tech Talk event.

We will be joined by Steve Helvie, as well as Darren Hawkins, the CEO of SpaceDC, and Resul Altinkilic, the Project Manager Global Key Accounts IT at Rittal.

Register for free to discover how an OCP-Optimised Data Center can be achieved

Legacy data protection technology is severely hindering digital transformation say global enterprise CXOs

Almost half of global organisations are being hindered in their digital transformation journeys by legacy data protection technology and IT skills shortages.

The latest industry data in the Veeam 2020 Data protection Trends Report revealed that 40% of organisations rely on legacy systems to protect their data, with 95% of enterprises suffering unexpected outages lasting almost two hours on average.

“Legacy solutions were intended to protect data in physical data centers in the past, but they’re so outdated and complex that they cost more money, time, resources and trouble than realized,” said Danny Allan, the CTO and SVP of Product Strategy at Veeam.

Downtime and outages can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, pointing to an urgent need to modernise systems including data protection and move to focus on business continuity to enable digital transformation.

Mr Allan added: “It’s great to see the global drive to embrace technology to deliver a richer user experience, however the Achilles’ Heel still seems to be how to protect and manage data across the hybrid cloud.”

The appetite for digital transformation certainly exists at the top of most CXOs agendas, as spending is expected to hit US$7.4 trillion between 2020 and 2023. Respondents in the study also reported that data delivered through IT has become the heart and soul of their business.

But Veeam believes leaders must move data protection beyond outdated legacy systems for real digital transformation to happen.

“Data protection is more important than ever now to help organizations continue to meet their operational IT demands while also aspiring towards DX and IT modernization,” said Mr Allan.

Data is often spread across data centers and cloud through file shares, shared storage and Software-as-a-Service platforms like Google Cloud, AWS, Alibaba Cloud and more.

Mr Allan believed that legacy tools designed to back up on-premise file shares and applications can’t succeed in the hybrid or multi-cloud world, as they cost companies time and money while putting data at risk.

The report by Veeam also discovered half of businesses recognise that cloud has a pivotal part to play in today’s data protection strategy. The Cloud Data Management provider argued that a company needs a comprehensive solution that supports cloud, virtual and physical data management for any application and any data across any cloud in order to achieve a truly modernised data protection plan.

What is the data protection situation like in Asia Pacific?

In Asia Pacific and Japan, the research by the backup solutions provider found that 22% of organisations did not back up their data, which is higher than the global average of 14%.

“Many CIOs are increasing their data protection efforts, but the reality is that systems can easily fall prey to unplanned outages. When this happens, organisations scramble to put their systems back online,” said Shaun McLagan, the Senior Vice President for Asia Pacific and Japan at Veeam.

One in ten organisations also report an “availability gap” between how fast they can recover applications compared to how fast they actually need to recover them, and 90% have a “protection gap” between how frequently they back up their data versus how much data they can afford to lose after an outage.

Mr McLagan added: “To solve this, organisations should modernize their data protection solutions, which goes far beyond backup.”

Businesses are advised to prevent security breaches and ransomware attacks by having offsite and offline backups as well as adequate training for staff, particularly as cybersecurity threats continue to grow.

To prevent attacks, local governments should also advocate for legislation that ensures a strong culture of security like Malaysia’s National Cyber Security Policy.

Ben Chua, a young cybersecurity pioneer in Singapore, said during W.Media’s first Power Talk: “The only way we can do security well is to educate every single citizen of the nation where the whole nation becomes digitally resilient together.”

According to Veeam, ransomware and cyberthreats is the number one challenge faced by organisations, costing an average of US$80,000 to restore data.

The Veeam 2020 Data Protection Trends Report surveyed more than 1,500 global enterprises to understand their approach toward data protection and management. They were surveyed on how they expect to be prepared for the IT challenges they face, including reacting to demand changes and interruptions in service as well as more aspirational goals of IT modernization and digital transformation.

> Rewatch our digital event on Digital Transformation Through the Lens of CXOs

Vietnam sets ambitious plans to become a digital society and develop the IT sector

The Vietnam Government is looking to become a digital society by experimenting with new technologies and setting a target of having 10 big IT businesses with revenues of over US$1 billion.

Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, approved the National Digital Transformation Programme, which strives to completely renovate Government operations and stimulate a digital economy by 2030.

Developing a truly digital society in Vietnam

The Vietnam Government believes to truly achieve a digital society, access to Internet and mobile networks must be accessible by all communities. 

Plans have been developed to provide fiber optic network infrastructure reaching out to more than 80% of households and 100% of communes nationwide by 2025.

The Government also aims to make 4G and 5G mobile network services and smartphones universally accessible as well as enable an Internet of Things infrastructure.

> Discover the best digital infrastructures to enable your digital transformation needs

Vietnam is predicted to be amongst the top 50 countries in the information and communication technology development index within the next five years as well as ranking in the top 50 for global competitiveness and top 35 for global innovation.

As a result, the digital economy is forecast to make up 20% of Vietnam’s GDP.

Vietnam empowers local businesses to become global leaders

Currently, Vietnam has a large number of domestic enterprises, but 99% are small in size and have a limited ability to participate or compete in the global value chain.

The Ministry of Information and Communication rushed to build a draft decision to approve an IT development programme by 2025 with a vision to have 10 big businesses that are able to compete internationally and achieve a revenue of over US$1 billion.

Nguyen Thanh Tuyen, Deputy Head of the Ministry’s Information and Technology Department, said the programme aimed to make Vietnam’s IT industry a big economic sector with rapid and sustainable growth, based on achievements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

With a target of 50,000 IT and telecom firms in the country, the sector would provide momentum for the country’s digitalisation and digital economy.

The Ministry hopes the revenue growth of the IT sector would be double the country’s GDP growth, but right now 98% of total export revenue comes from Foreign Direct Investment.

To achieve this, local businesses must master software and IT services by 90% of products and solutions for e-government construction, digital transformation, transport and smart agriculture.

A software park in Hanoi’s Long Bien District is being constructed to enable this. Tran Van Dung, Vice Chairman of Tien Giang Province People’s Committee, also plans to build a software park in Mekong to to attract human resource for the IT sector

While in the hardware sector, the programme aims to have domestic IT firms produce equipment for 5G networks.

The programme also looks to have 60% of the population using locally developed social networks and 40% using domestically-made search engines.

Phan Tam, Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, said the IT, electronics and telecom sector has seen rapid development with extremely important achievements in the past five years.

IT products, especially mobile phones and computers, took first and third place among top 10 key export staples of Vietnam in 2019 with a trade surplus of $28 billion.

Software revenue for Vietnam reached US$5 billion in 2019 at a growth rate of 17.7% since 2009.

Overall, the IT, electronics and telecommunication sector creates more than one million jobs and generated a massive US$112.5 billion in 2019, which is double that of 2015.

The country is also experiencing a year-on-year growth rate of 17% in the cloud sector, bringing in US$2.4 billion. And with these advancements come the increasing need for data centers in the country.

There are around 30 data centers in Vietnam and more may be on their way to power their digital society, as the Government has invested $1.4 billion in new facilities as well as millions in local startups.

Apple announced it would build a data center in the country, confirming plans to invest $1 billion in Vietnam three years ago. The tech giant will join established data center players like CMC Telecom, Viettel IDC and FPT Telecom.

It’s an exciting time to keep watch of Vietnam’s digital industries and economy, considering the huge impact it makes to society and clear focus by the government to compete globally in the technology industry.

Which data center is best for your digital needs?

As Vietnam moves towards becoming a digital society by 2030, the need for data centers will increase in order to empower the digital economy.

Businesses will need to choose the best place to store and process their data for optimum operational efficiency and innovation.

Whether you’re migrating to a different system or choosing one for the first time, this competition makes for an overwhelming amount of choices when selecting the best data center for your needs.

Should you choose one that’s closer or further away? Will it allow me to scale? Is it reliably powered?

We will answer all these questions and more at our ‘Data Center Selection & Migration in Asia Pacific’ digital event on Thursday 23 July.

Register for free today to find out which data center is best for you.

Get involved in conversation and connect with your peers on LinkedIn and Facebook using #WMediaEvent!

Singapore Government looks to accelerate digitalisation and tackle COVID-19 with $3.5 billion ICT spend increase

The Singapore Government has announced it will spend $3.5 billion on information and communications technology in 2020 to accelerate digitalisation and support businesses.

This is an increase of 30% from 2019’s spend of $2.7 billion. The money will be used to help citizens and workers in Singapore resume normal activities, said the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) in a press release on Monday 8 June.

Mr Kok Ping Soon, the Chief Executive of GovTech, said: “As we take on the new normal of COVID-19, we are re-engineering our back-end digital infrastructure, which underpins the delivery of front-end government digital services to citizens, businesses and public officers.”

The movement to digitally transform Singapore has been going on for quite some time by developing plans for the Future Economy and investing heavily to upgrade workers through SkillsFuture, digitalising the public and private sectors and building innovation capabilities. 

Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, addressed the nation on Sunday 7 June: “All this has enabled us to stand out in Asia and the world. Nobody can predict what exactly the world will look like after COVID-19 but however things turn out, these Future Economy strategies will stand us in good stead.”

Singapore’s modernised digital infrastructure helps to fight COVID-19

The Singapore Government’s investment in digitalisation, focusing on leveraging cloud and modernising ICT infrastructure, has been instrumental in the country’s technological response to the pandemic.

By using cloud infrastructure, GovTech engineers were able to build the TraceTogether contact tracing application and wearable technology. 

The wearable technology known as the TraceTogether token has been met with controversy, as some online have labelled this a “GPS tracking device”.

Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, who is in charge of Singapore’s Smart Nation Initiative, reassured users in a press conference: “It is not a tracking device. There is no GPS chip on the device. There isn’t even any Internet or mobile telephone connectivity.”

The data on the device is ‘only bluetooth proximity data’, which is encrypted and stays on the device. The data is only uploaded to the Ministry of Health if a user tests positive for COVID-19.

Along with TraceTogether, the Government has also used digital infrastructures and artificial intelligence to roll out services, including SafeEntry for a National Digital Check-in System, MaskGoWhere to help Singaporeans find mask collection points and SPOTON to support safe social distancing operations using an AI-powered robot.

GovTech said: “By modernising its ICT infrastructure, the Government enabled the large number of public officers to continue to serve the public by working from home seamlessly, aided by digital tools.”

The pandemic accelerated digitalisation plans in Singapore

The COVID-19 outbreak has brought forward ICT projects by agencies, including tech solutions to the pandemic as well as Sport Singapore’s ActiveSG Circle, which was launched in April 2020.

The Active SG Circle initiative looks to elevate the sporting industry in Singapore by offering a ‘virtual super sport club’ with a ‘rich repository to inspire and enable citizens to live better and maintain their active lifestyles’ beyond the pandemic.

On top of this, the Singapore Government will carry forward digitalisation for the whole nation by investing heavily in projects like the National Digital Identity and Moments of Life, which will integrate public services onto a single digital platform.

Migration of eligible ICT systems onto commercial cloud will continue as part of the five-year Government on Commercial Cloud initiative that began in 2018. The Digital Workplace Programme will also encourage modernisation of ICT infrastructures, which hopes to empower public officers.

Supporting the digital transformation of Singapore’s SMEs

As part of the Government’s increase in ICT spending, small and medium-sized enterprises will be eligible to participate in 80% of these potential procurement opportunities.

The Government will put up bulk tenders with a projected value of $1.2 billion with the hopes of broadening the chance for SMEs to participate in and win ICT contracts with government agencies.

GovTech has sought to streamline and improve SMEs access to these opportunities by working with the Ministry of Finance to incorporate dynamic contracting and shortening the ICT procurement process.

Bulk tenders will include services such as User Experience Design, Agile Development, Application Development, Data Science, AI and more.

In the last financial year, SMEs were awarded nearly 70% of the total ICT contracts.

SimplifyNext was awarded the robotics process automation bulk tender for the whole of the Singapore Government. Their work looked to help customers deploy software that automated business processes.

“Unlike larger companies, SMEs like us have limited resources and we used to spend more time trying to win contracts than to deliver them,” said Mayank Gupta, the Managing Director of SimplifyNext.

The bulk tender has since helped SimplifyNext open many doors for the company to do business with Government agencies.

Strengthening the future tech community and digital economy

GovTech has set up a number of initiatives to strengthen the technology community.

The Singapore Government Developer Portal has been soft-launched in order to help developers learn more about GovTech’s products and how they can work to co-create digital solutions with the agency.

GovTech said: “The portal will be a platform for the tech community to engage and share ideas on technology and their possible applications for public good.”

The technology community will also be given the chance to strengthen their engagement through more STACK-X meet-ups, which focus on topics like Cybersecurity, Cloud Strategy, Data Science, User Experience Design and Software Engineering.

To further develop the community and accelerate the pace of digitalisation in Singapore, GovTech is actively recruiting fresh graduates and experienced technology professionals as part of the SGUnited Jobs initiative.

There are currently more than 400 vacancies available in roles such as software engineers, digital business analysts, cybersecurity specialists, data scientists, AI engineers and infrastructure specialists.

This search for talent will be enhanced by GovTech’s five-week recruitment drive known as TechHunt to find ‘applicants who believe in tech for public good’.

Overall, the Government’s ICT expenditure will focus on five key areas to accelerate digitalisation in Singapore:

  • Development of new tech tools to respond to COVID-19
  • Development of citizen- and business-centric digital services
  • Development of ICT systems on cloud
  • Modernisation of government ICT infrastructure
  • Use of data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and sensors within the public sector.

More details on the Government’s digitalisation efforts and areas for spending will be provided from Wednesday 10 June onwards.

Get started with your digitalisation by choosing the best data center for your needs

With the vast digitalisation and empowerment of cloud migration taking place in Singapore, businesses will need to choose the best place to store and process their data for optimum operational efficiency and innovation.

Whether you’re migrating to a different system or choosing one for the first time, you will need to ask yourself a number of questions. Should you choose one that’s closer or further away? Will it allow me to scale? Is it reliably powered?

We will answer all these questions and more at our ‘Data Center Selection & Migration in Asia Pacific’ digital event on Thursday 23 July.

Register for free today to find out which data center is best for you.

Get involved in conversation and connect with your peers on LinkedIn and Facebook using #WMediaEvent!

Is Asia Pacific at risk of losing out on post-pandemic economic recovery by not leveraging on next-generation cloud computing?

The Asia Cloud Computing Association revealed markets in Asia Pacific risk losing out on post-pandemic economic recovery by not taking advantage of next-generation cloud computing technologies.

In the current economic climate affected by the pandemic, some markets seem to have paused on technology and digital infrastructure investments, despite cloud readiness advancing in APAC.

The Executive Director of the Asia Cloud Computing Association, May-Ann Lim, said: “These observations are of concern to us at the ACCA.”

The findings were detailed in the ACCA’s 2020 Cloud Readiness Index. The CRI 2020 discovered that some of the hardest-hit economies with high infection rates were also some of the top scorers, including Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong.

Ms Lim added: “Cloud readiness and adoption is very intimately linked with economic recovery from COVID-19, mainly because cloud readiness is a measure of digital resilience.”

Cloud computing technologies in Asia have seen an increase in usage as a result of work from home orders caused by the pandemic.

While cloud readiness scores advanced for all 14 economies in APAC, the lowest scores were found in Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia and China.

“Every economy has been impacted, and everyone would have had some slowdown of the economy, but I would say that cloud readiness is one of the measures which would contribute to a faster economic recovery,” said Ms Lim.

The low scores were found due to many economies’ fragile core capabilities in managing natural risks, privacy and cybersecurity.

Ms Lim added: “[Markets] have decided to put in regulatory restrictions around data flows at a time when the freedom to use cloud productivity tools is needed the most to recover from the economic fallout from COVID-19.”

These data localisation regulations enforced by governing bodies obstruct cross-border data flows and international connectivity required to empower the use of global cloud applications and growth of digital businesses.

The ACCA’s Cloud Readiness Index ranked 14 countries in Asia Pacific against parameters, including international connectivity, power sustainability, data center risk and cybersecurity.

Here are some highlights and recommendations to increase cloud readiness across the region.

South Korea rises through the ranks

South Korea moved up to fifth place in 2020 from seventh in 2018. The Land of the Morning Calm saw notable improvements in privacy, cybersecurity and regulatory environment, but a significant fall in data center risk and a low score in international connectivity.

Data center risk consists of natural hazards, terrorism, the quality of electricity supplies, airport connectivity and more defined by TRPC Data Center Security Risk Index.

Digital Realty, a leading global provider of data center, colocation and interconnection solutions, is set to enter into South Korea with their first carrier-neutral facility in Seoul. Following its completion in 2021, the data center will aim to boost the country’s digital economy.

Digital Realty CEO, A. William Stein, said: “South Korea is incredibly well positioned as a digital hub and center for innovation within the region, given the growing global demand for big data, mobile services and connected devices.”

> Register now for Digital Realty’s historic virtual Seoul Data Center Launch

The Asia Cloud Computing Association believes the strict data localisation rules of the Korea Internet & Security Agency has slowed the availability of cloud services, despite their Cloud Computing Act in 2015 and investments to empower digital transformation through AI and 5G. As a result, only five cloud service providers have received cloud security certifications required to provide services to the public sector, including AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud and LG CNS.

Indonesia sees a drop, despite a promising digital economy

Indonesia was described as a highly promising and dynamic digital economy. 

But the ‘Emerald of the Equator’ dropped one position to 12th due to its fall in broadband quality and little improvements in parameters apart from connectivity and cybersecurity.

Upcoming updated cybersecurity and data protection laws in Indonesia may help the country rise in the rankings by harmonising the fragmented regulation environment that exists, empowering businesses to adopt and develop new technology.

Despite relaxed data regulations, the country is also expected to experience investments worth over US1$ billion and an annual growth rate of 11% in the data center market, driven by the rise in cloud adoption.

Malaysia stays solid, but regulations slow progress

The good and possibly not so good news for Malaysia is that it was the only APAC economy not to move in the rankings since 2014, retaining its 8th place position.

The country saw sharp improvements in many parameters this year, including connectivity, energy sustainability, data center risk and connectivity. 

The Government has been active in encouraging cloud adoption by creating a data exchange hub for ministries, plans for smart cities and a digital identity platform known as MyIdentity.

But Malaysia was left in the same position due to restrictions caused by the regulatory environment, privacy laws and intellectual property protection.

The country’s position may begin to improve once it begins to tackle cybersecurity issues and educates younger generations on cloud computing.

The Philippines’ Cloud First policy couldn’t break its fall

The Philippines fell from 9th in 2018 to 11th in 2020. 

Weaker international connectivity, sustainable energy, data center risk and cloud security were amongst the reasons for this drop. 

The fall could not be saved by the country’s ‘Cloud First’ policy and regulations launched in 2017, which is still in the implementation stages today.

There may be hope for the Philippines with more connectivity coming from DITO’s new data center and an e-store to help agencies compare cloud services expected to be released this year and renewed optimism for improving broadband connectivity with initiatives like the Philippine Digital Transformation Strategy.

Singapore loses first place to Hong Kong

The Little Red Dot lost the top spot to Hong Kong in the CRI rankings, falling to second place.

Singapore missed out on first place after seeing falls in international connectivity and freedom of information beyond second place in these parameters.

The country’s proposals for floating data centers could boost its position once again by overcoming the struggles in connectivity, land sparsity and property prices

On the other hand, broadband quality and regulatory environment in cybersecurity and data protection remained strong for the country, with a progressive approach to technology.

The ACCA predicts that Singapore’s top-down approach and weaknesses in cloud governance might hinder digital competitiveness in the future, as it may struggle with adopting new technology like 5G and Internet of Things in a nimble, fast paced manner.

Could Singapore lose its top spots to emerging markets that can take advantage of these technologies and leapfrog the competition?

Thailand could be on the verge of greatness

Thailand has improved its position to ninth place after bettering its international connectivity, data center risk and privacy policies. But with improvements in connectivity and getting more of the population online comes falls in broadband quality and energy sustainability.

The ACCA predicts that Thailand is ‘on the verge of “leapfrogging” ahead of more mature economies’, but creating a flexible regulatory landscape and market dominance from tech giants over smaller, local startups might slow down the country’s digital economy.

Support for cloud readiness may come from the Thai Government after its announcement to approve funding for a $146m state cloud and data center. This will include cloud computing courses for 2,500 government officials.

Vietnam remains in last place

For the third consecutive Index, Vietnam has placed last out of 14 countries in APAC.

While the country does not rank in last place for all parameters, it has fallen behind on international connectivity, data center risk and its difficult to coordinate regulatory environment. Yet, these parameters could be improved following the completion of the country’s biggest data center by FPT Telecom.

However, Vietnam is making strides to improve its sustainable energy and cybersecurity, which is a good sign, as the country looks to power its own Silicon Valley with billion dollar investments.

How can we strengthen cloud computing readiness across Asia Pacific?

Cloud readiness enables industries and markets to get ahead of mature economies by taking advantage of ‘leapfrog’ technologies like 5G, Internet of Things, AI, automated devices, and more.

Since 2018, there has also been no new ‘Cloud First’ policies launched in any country in Asia Pacific even though these measures are recognised as the key driver for digital economies looking to harness the technological advancements empowered by cloud computing.

The ACCA recommended that those economies with ‘Cloud First’ policies focus on making them a reality, while those without these initiatives should consider doing so by supporting cloud vendor accreditation schemes and guidelines for security standards.

The cybersecurity shortcomings of one economy also jeopardise the economic dynamism of another, therefore, countries in APAC should consider aligning cybersecurity regulations with a harmonised approach.

We have seen many countries begin to adopt 5G and make investments in AI, but data localisation measures are restrictive of cloud technology and the free, inexpensive, uncomplicated flow of data across borders.

Ms Lim suggested that we need a cross-disciplinary team to provide review and advice to cross-border trade discussions. This would include both trade negotiators and cybersecurity experts, as well as the borders and customs department.

“A starting point would be to establish a structured cross-border data flow framework for data, such as the APEC CBPR. However, the discussion of cross-border data flows needs to be expanded beyond just APEC economies, and move into some other forums which include all digital economies,” said Ms Lim.

Bridging the gap between mature and emerging markets requires APAC economies to work together to enable innovation and investment in a competitive and sustainable manner.

To effectively recover from the pandemic, APAC economies should implement policies that allow data-driven businesses to thrive without having to choose between innovation and disruption.

Ms Lim advised: “One thing which governments should also focus heavily on is that cloud infrastructure and internet capacity is not evenly distributed.”

When cities went into lockdown mode, with remote working becoming commonplace, a true digital divide in Asia Pacific became apparent, Ms Lim believed, as not everyone has internet connectivity or access to cloud computing in their homes.

Ms Lim said: “Governments in SEA should look closely into the digital gaps … and look beyond the urban-rural divide, but also within cities where there may be a difference between bandwidth available for business connections, and home connections.”

To strengthen cloud readiness, Ms Lim recommended investment in data centers, any technology allowing better computing power to be managed like edge computing, as well as cybersecurity since this is the ‘the key to the castle of personal data’.

Ms Lim had an optimistic view of the future: “There is a funny meme going around at the moment, with the question ‘Who led the digital transformation of your company?’ On the list, the CEO and CTO are not selected, COVID-19 is the circled answer. I think that COVID-19 and the need to implement more remote-access to data, and more work-from-home arrangements, is going to push cloud computing usage, not just in Asia, but all over the world.”

What do you think APAC economies should do to leverage on cloud technologies while remaining compliant with government regulations?

Find out how data centers and cloud can boost digital economies

The demand for data centers is continuing to grow with the adoption of more cloud services.

In South Korea, businesses are predicted to spend a huge US$3 billion on cloud services in 2021, making the country a perfect place to expand data center operations.

Digital Realty is one such data center provider that looks to boost South Korea’s digital economy by meeting connectivity demands and empowering digital transformation through a new Seoul data center.

Be part of history, as Digital Realty virtually launch their first South Korean data center on Wednesday 17 June.

Register now to be part of South Korea’s digital future!

Automated partners with Equinix to inaugurate their first Unified Operation Center in Asia Pacific to drive digital transformation

Automated Systems Holdings Limited, a global IT partner based in Hong Kong, has partnered with Equinix, an international data center provider, to inaugurate their first Unified Operation Center in Asia Pacific.

The UOC will look to drive digital transformation for ASL’s global customers in cybersecurity, data centers and Internet of Things related services.

Leon Wang, the CEO and Executive Director of ASL, said: “The global digital transformation continues despite the impact of the pandemic on the economy. ASL’s tenet is to optimize DevSecOps … to help customers manage costs more effectively and boost business.”

ASL expects to invest more than HK$10 million on the UOC in the next five years to meet the growing demand for IT managed services and digital transformation.

The service unifies applications, cybersecurity and omni-channel managed services to help IT operators solve challenges like launching agile software, analysing an avalanche of enterprise data and ensuring data security.

Larry Tam, the Managing Director of Equinix in Hong Kong, said: “It allows ASL’s varied customers to flexibly, promptly and directly connect to any network and cloud providers, while shortening the project implementation time and reducing the Total Ownership Cost.”

The UOC services will support both infrastructure and multiple cloud platforms like private, public and hybrid cloud by implementing the Group’s new “as-a-service” business model and DevSecOps.

Mr Tam added: “Equinix IBX data centers bring multiple cloud service providers together.”

Equinix partners with global cloud players to provide enterprises with services like Alibaba Cloud, AWS, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud and Microsoft Azure.

ASL hopes the new UOC will allow enterprises to achieve digital transformation with more agility, efficiency and security.

W.Media Spotlight Digital Event: A promising post-pandemic future for digital transformation in Southeast Asia

Businesses across Southeast Asia are looking to rapidly initiate digital transformation strategies after being forced online to continue operations during the pandemic.

More than 180 top executives joined C-level speakers from a broad spectrum of industries to hear a promising outlook for our digital transformation future in a post-pandemic world during W.Media’s Spotlight digital event.

We kicked off our pre-show with Tran Viet Hoan, the Group CIO of Vietnam’s second largest company and leading automaker, THACO Group. He noticed digital transformation is happening fast with banks, microfinance and life insurance industries pioneering DX strategies during the pandemic.

Mr Tran warned: “If you don’t transform your business digitally, you will die faster.”

Telcos in Southeast Asia is just one example of where digital transformation is happening constantly, moving from traditional landlines and cell phones to a digitally connected platform.

Mr Tran said: “VNPT, the biggest telco service provider in Vietnam, only moved to the platform for agriculture. You could not believe that 10 years before, a telco company did agriculture.”

A Gartner study revealed around 50% of successful digital transformation strategies focus on people issues and 37% on process issues. Mr Tran advised listeners to focus on customer experience, operational efficiencies, business model transformation and pain points, with the customer coming first.

Mr Tran added: “No digital transformation is successful without investment throughout the business, this includes every single staff in the organisation, including the Chairman or CEO.”

We were then joined by Nelson Tan, the Director of InfoComm Infrastructure at Nanyang Technological University, who shared a fascinating case study on how NTU digitally transformed their operations during the pandemic.

Thriving through automation and digitisation

In our first panel session, we explored how startups and enterprises can overcome the challenges of digitisation.

Maximising sustainability is crucial for companies going through these unprecedented times. Jae Lee, CTO of online travel agency WorldRoamer, believes applying process automation is one initiative that could achieve sustainability.

At WorldRoamer, they focus automation on business operation and product development workflow to find areas where they can reduce the lead time in communication and resolution time for product delivery.

Aik-Phong Ng, the Managing Director for Fave, a leading lifestyle app in Singapore, believes the outlook for digital transformation is a positive one with a lot of opportunities to increase business and reduce costs.

Mr Ng said: “I think one of the reasons is because there really is no choice. You’re forced [to go digital] by regulation or because your revenue drops to zero.”

Before the pandemic, Fave would physically onboard around 1,000 merchants a month for their cashless payment product using QR codes. Now, during the Circuit Breaker period in Singapore, they digitally onboard merchants, leading to an increase in efficiency and sales productivity.

Mr Ng added: “Those who can adapt and thrive in this new environment and work remotely are going to be the winners.”

The Chairman of the global professional body of IT architects, IASA, Aaron Tan Dani noted that case studies of successful digital transformation have applied an enterprise architecture model by understanding how the changes to operations have impacted internal and external stakeholders.

Creating a innovative culture through technology leadership

Digital Transformation efforts often require a transformational culture in their people, processes and technology, but many separate the business teams from the IT teams. Transformation strategies require strong commitment from senior management to enable both teams to collaborate and work closely on strategy.

Axel Winter, the CTO for Thailand’s largest retailer, Central Group, said: “Empowerment is important, but you need the CEO, CIO, CTO, CMO to be in the day to day perspective going into the details.” 

He added: “This is not something you can have a traditional people manager looking at your report once a week. There has to be instant messaging, there has to be daily touch points across the bottom to the top.”

Wilbertus Darmadi, the CIO of Toyota Astra Motors, started digitally transforming the business by setting a technology benchmark against large companies like Microsoft and AWS to open the mindset of C-level staff and showing them examples of how businesses can change using technology.

Mr Darmadi also highlighted one way to digitally transform staff and help them become digitally ready was by modernising the physical environment of their offices and promoting an innovative culture with competitions.

Stay tuned for more insights from our Digital Transformation Spotlight Digital Event

In the coming weeks, we will take a deeper look at the sessions from the digital event, including answers to your unanswered questions!

Thank you to our supporting partners across Southeast Asia. We will be back on Thursday 21 May to discover how Open Compute Project Foundation’s open networking solutions can transform legacy data center systems.

Watch Digital Transformation – Through the Lens of CXOs and SME Business Owners on demand.

Transforming legacy systems with open networking

As we move into a new cloud-enabled world, the need for flexibility and lower networking costs in data centers is increasing, along with rapidly changing network requirements across various applications.

The Open Compute Project, a collaborative community focused on redesigning hardware technology and providing efficient data center designs for scalable computing, has a solution: Open Networking. This will be the focus of our next Tech Talk with OCP.

The solution involves disaggregating bare-metal hardware from the software layer, allowing for freedom of choice through flexible combinations of software. The open networking switches enable a highly efficient network that can save up to 50% in CAPEX compared to traditional systems.

Started by Facebook in 2011, the Open Compute Project shares best practices for data center design with some of the biggest names in the industry, including Google, Microsoft, Alibaba Group, IBM and more.

Since its production in 2013, OCP’s switches have grown rapidly and now account for 55% of bare-metal switches sold in the data center market. And this is continuing to grow, as hyperscalers, enterprise data centers, telcos and campus WiFi are adopting the open networking switches. Why? Because open networking can achieve lower operating costs, improve performance and empower scale-outs in smaller increments.

Following a successful first Tech Talk, OCP will return on 21 May 2020 at 11am for Open Networking – A look at the growth and transformation of networks across Asia and Oceania.

Register now to join OCP and end users who have transformed their network from traditional legacy systems to agile open networks using OCP switches. Attendees will also get the chance to explore how they can embrace open networking with a question and answer session with industry experts.

Open Networking in telco and data centers

After an introduction on Open Networking by OCP’s VP of Channel Steve Helvie, attendees will learn about the key benefits of open networking and overcoming transformation challenges from Edgecore Networks’ Business Development Vice President Bui Banh.

Bui is a veteran who has worked for more than 30 years in the telecommunications, media and technology industries. He is a top contributor to open source groups, including the Open Compute Project and Open Networking Foundation.

Transformation from a traditional legacy system to an agile open network

We will also hear from Jonathan Leung of DCConnect, an end-user that has successfully transformed legacy systems into an agile open network using OCP’s solutions. DCConnect Global is a pioneer in innovating on-demand global cloud connectivity.

Jonathan leads a team of talented developers to enable telcos to be free from vendor lock-in and allow their networks to migrate to an OCP-based infrastructure.

This will be a chance to hear about the benefits of taking the journey to an open networking system that can help reduce costs and improve performance. You will then get the opportunity to have your burning open networking questions answered by our experts.

There are limited spaces for this digital event, so get registering to secure your space for ‘Open Networking – A look at the growth and transformation of networks across Asia and Oceania

W.Media Spotlight Digital Event: Surviving the challenges for a thriving digital transformation plan

Digital transformation has become a necessary step for businesses, with 70% of companies either having a strategy in place or working on one. 

For our next digital event, we will explore the importance of digital transformation, particularly in a time where industries have been forced to go digital due to the pandemic.

Even before the pandemic, Asia has been leading the way in digital transformation, as businesses have moved to implementing digital tools like artificial intelligence, cloud technology and the Internet of Things to enhance their processes. 

The signs of Southeast Asia’s digital transformation are obvious from small enterprises, to its impressive fleet of tech unicorns like Grab, Lazada, Shopee, Agoda, Tokopedia and Shopee. 

These advancements, along with increasing Internet traffic and social media usage, are driving a high level of interest from the region’s governments who are implementing various strategies to grow the digital economy.

But despite the growing interest, 70% of digital transformation plans are known to fail in reaching their goals. Why are so many businesses failing and how can we overcome the challenges?

You are invited to join industry experts and peers to explore the benefits of digital transformation and ways of overcoming the challenges on 14 May 2020 from 11am SGT at our next free digital event Digital Transformation – Through Lens of CXOs and SME Business Owners.

Key executives and digital transformation decision makers from various industries throughout the world have already registered to experience one of the largest technology and market digital talk shows in Asia. Register now to secure your virtual place.

Digital transformation roadmap, change management and the common approach that are applicable to all organizations

Join the Director of InfoComm Infrastructure at Nanyang Technological University, Nelson Tan, as he shares a case study on how NTU implemented a cloud strategy that helped the university during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Nelson will discuss the key benefits and challenges of digitally transforming their education offer as well as complying with COVID-19 regulations through cloud services.

[Leaders’ Discussion] Key challenges in enterprise digitization. How much process automation exists in your organisation today?

Automation through machine learning and artificial intelligence are being used to speed up processes and free up staff time to focus on more complex issues. 

From Grab Financial Group using automation to quickly check a customer’s identity and Thai fintech Forth Smart Service implementing an autonomous data warehouse generating real-time insights, to AirAsia using cloud planning tools to centralise financial operations and Toyota investing in autonomous vehicles and connected cars.

Aik-Phong, the managing director of Fave and award-winning leader, will share how you can navigate the complexities of enterprises to achieve a successful digital transformation plan. Aik-Phong’s vast experience working for Groupon and being part of Fave’s acquisition of Groupon South-East Asia’s businesses will provide some fantastic insights.

Joining Aik-Phong on the panel will be Jae Lee, the CTO of WorldRoamer, an online travel agency built from scratch by local travel enthusiasts in Singapore. Jae will share insights on how WorldRoamer digitised their operations in the face on the pandemic. His 15 years’ experience in developing cloud native and mobile-first services for global organisations will provide attendees with a strong knowledge base to get their questions answered.

[Leaders’ Discussion] Technology Leadership in your organization

The role of C-level staff, including CEOs and CIOs, are crucial in the success of digital transformation to lead an organisation’s strategy.

The failure of a digital transformation strategy could lead to the ousting of CEOs in the case of General Electric Digital or bankruptcy for Kodak when they overlooked the opportunities provided by the digital age.

The Chief Intelligence Officer of Toyota Astra Motors, Wilbertus Darmadi, will share the importance of leadership and team cohesion in achieving a successful digital transformation strategy in the automotive industry.

Axel Winter, the CTO for Thailand’s largest retailer Central Group, will also join the panel to present his experience of creating a new technology team and implementing digital transformation across Thailand, Vietnam and Italy.

Moderating the panel is the highly esteemed and experienced Chairman of the global professional body of IT architects IASA, Aaron Tan Dani. His extensive knowledge of the technology landscape makes Aaron the perfect moderator to quiz the panellists and put your questions to them.

Join more than 250 industry peers to discover the keys to a successful digital transformation strategy

Explore how you can lead your businesses’ digital transformation on 14 May 2020 at 3pm SGT/HKT. Get your questions answered and hear from the experts on how to implement successful digital transformation strategies.

A big thank you to our supporting partners Oracle, OPEN-TEC, IASA, Vietnam Internet Association, Quang Trung Software City, iCIO Community, eBusiness Association of Malaysia, APTIKNAS and the Asia Cloud Computing Association.

Don’t miss out on discovering digital transformation best practices. Secure your space for ‘Digital Transformation – Through the Lens of CXOs and SME Business Owners’.

55% of tech CEOs not prepared for an economic downturn prior to pandemic Gartner survey reveals

A survey by Gartner has revealed that 55% of tech CEOs were not prepared for an economic downturn prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey conducted between December 2019 and February 2020 found that 43% of CEOs were worried about an economic recession affecting their revenue growth in the next 12 months. But despite this fear, many delayed taking action to prepare for this situation.

The tech stock markets took a hit near the start of the outbreak and IT spending is expected to decline in Asia Pacific from 5.2% growth to 1.2% in the first quarter of 2020.

Even after the COVID-19 outbreak slows down, funding and available capital will become scarcer in the weeks and months ahead. 

The Senior Research Director at Gartner, Patrick Stakenas, said: “Tech companies will have to survive off existing customers and cash in the bank while the current market persists.”

Gartner recommends two immediate actions for CEOs. The first action is using and measuring cash burn to calculate financial runway. The lack of focus on cash burn rate has led to severe cash flow problems for many during the pandemic, resulting in an economic downturn.

To calculate cash burn rate, add up all operating expenses like salaries, rent and overheads for a gross cash burn, then add all payments from customers for a net cash burn. This will measure the total cost impacts and cash usage.

Mr Stakenas said: “Startup tech CEOs must measure cash flow on a weekly basis. With a ‘worst case’ forecast in hand, they can determine the crunch points and assess the company’s ability to survive COVID-19.”

If a company has less than three months of cash runway, the chances of survival are slim. Those with three to six months of cash will require dramatic cost cutting or even sale of the company. To prevent this, the second immediate action is to determine the critical actions necessary for survival.

Mr Stakenas added: “The reality is that startups strapped for cash will need to run the business very lean to survive.”

Companies with more than six months of cash should try to extend this to at least 18 months to ensure long-term survival and opportunities for funding. Eliminating costs is essential for companies that have less than 18 months of financial runway.

Chris Ganly, Senior Research Director at Gartner, said: “CIOs should inspect their organizations’ current consumption levels on all variable operating expenses – for example, cloud services and voice and data communications.”

To reduce consumption costs, CIOs should reevaluate tech spending on a service-by-service basis to restrict supply or renegotiate contract terms. CIOs are also advised to anticipate spend increases, as businesses have been forced to invest in remote working solutions like cloud services, IT hardware and VPNs.

Gartner’s survey questioned 285 CEOs or equivalent across North America, Western Europe and Asia Pacific at organisations operating in the high-tech industry with a 2019 annual revenue of up to US$250 million.

Are SMEs and CXOs ready for digital tranformation in a post-pandemic world?

To keep with the competition, small and medium-sized enterprises will need to look at investing in digital transformation, particularly after being forced online during the pandemic. But many C-level staff implementing digital transformation strategies fail to meet their goals.

Find out how to implement a successful digital transformation strategy and avoid the pitfalls at W.Media’s next digital event on 14 May 2020.

Register now for Digital Transformation – Through the Lens of CXOs and SME Business Owners. Limited spaces available.

W.Media Power Talk: Finding optimism and inspiration during the pandemic

More than 370 technology experts and enthusiasts came together for our first Power Talk, sponsored by Keppel Data Centres, to explore the state of our industry and the digital economy in these challenging times.

We kicked off Inside Asia – Technology & Market Next Moveswith a pre-show interview from young cybersecurity pioneer Ben Chua that was both empowering and gave hope for a bright post-pandemic future.

Mr Chua, the CEO of Cyber Youth Singapore, gave some advice to his younger peers looking to break into the industry: “The key thing is to never give up. When we first started Cyber Youth Singapore, we faced many rejections and people didn’t take us seriously. It’s really the perseverance and strength of us banding together that made everything work.”

Mr Chua added established generations in cybersecurity can help by mentoring and keeping an open mind by giving youths a chance.

In attendance, Rendy Rinaldy, Data Center and Client Administrator at Alfamart, said: “Ben Chua, you give us inspiration that cybersecurity is important.”

A new hope: The digital economy and tech spending post-pandemic

Amongst the negative news surrounding the pandemic, our first panel session, led by DC1st’s Ka Vin Wong, gave us an optimistic outlook for the digital economy’s future.

The Co-founder and COO of Princeton Digital Group, Varoon Raghavan, said it was business as usual, despite the pandemic.

Mr Raghavan discussed a positive view on the data center industry: “ There is extremely high demand that’s not related to the pandemic, that’s just the way that the business is.”

With surges in internet usage from more remote working and data center operators considered essential workers throughout the world, the necessity for data centers is becoming even clearer.

Mr Raghavan added: “We are doing all we can to keep up with that demand to ensure that the digital economy goes on and gives people some diversion in this difficult time.”

And it’s not just data centers seeing increasing demand. Jason Frisch, the CEO of Tsukaeru Group, is finding that cloud services are reaping the benefits from the work from home situations that many of us are currently in.

Mr Frisch said: “Obviously there’s going to be a big shift to cloud services and I don’t see it going backwards.”

But Mr Frisch warned that costs may start to rise with all the new money flowing around, but this is difficult for providers to do when trying to make a profit margin, particularly for non-hyperscale players.

The rising use of cloud applications like Zoom has also brought concerns of cybercrime to the forefront. 

Cybersecurity expert Anthony Lim said: “All these issues make the end user become more aware of cybersecurity and cyber hygiene requirements … which is good because it heightens the awareness of cybersecurity.”

How 5G, Cloud and Datacenter Outlook have been shaped by recent events

In the second panel session, we explored the current state of the 5G, cloud and data center industries and opportunities for investment.

Our panel agreed there will be a slow down in 5G rollout schedules due to the pandemic. But Sachin Mittal, the Head of Telecom, Media and Technology Research at DBS Bank, believed the outbreak will generate new use cases to further enable remote work in industries such as healthcare where there was originally some hesitancy in adopting 5G.

Importantly, 5G will enable much more data creation from faster surfing speeds and more device connectiving, placing greater pressure on data centers. 

There is no doubt that 5G can enable new revenue streams and open up new business opportunities. The new technology is likely to improve smoother accessibility and efficiency for cloud-based applications with its promise of low or zero latency.

Kok Chye Ong, the Head of Global Strategy and Investments at Keppel Data Centres, said: “We look forward to seeing how 5G will evolve, and how data centres will continue to play a critical role to support network latency and network architecture of this new technology.”

Telcos could see a lack of increased revenue when traffic increases due to the rollout of 5G. But we have seen attempts to monetise existing customer bases in the past with Singtel and Grab teaming up for a digital banking venture.

Ajay Sunder, the Deputy Director of Strategy at SC-Nex, said: “There is a use case for 5G which is not being talked about, which is the private networks.”

Private networks allow for non-carriers of 5G to come into the ecosystem and explore monetizable new use cases, splitting the infrastructure spend between non-traditional carriers like industrial and public safety players.

How will new investments and technologies digitally transform business?

Along with the pandemic forcing the world online, advancing technologies in data centers, cloud services and 5G will open the door for organisations to consider or rejuvenate strategies to digitally transform their business.

Explore how SMEs and C-level staff can successfully implement digital transformation plans and avoid common pitfalls at our next free digital event Digital Transformation – Through the Lens of CXOs and SME Business Owners

Watch this space for more in-depth analysis from ‘Inside Asia – Technology & Market Next Moves’

In the coming weeks, we will take a deeper look at the sessions from our first Power Talk, including answers to your unanswered questions!

Thank you to our sponsors at Keppel Data Centres and our supporting partners across Southeast Asia for helping to make the first Power Talk a huge success. And a big congratulations to Darmadi, the CIO of Toyota Astra Motor, who won our grand prize for asking the best question during the Power Talk.

Watch Inside Asia – Technology & Market Next Moves on demand.

Coronavirus and conspiracies: has the 5G market taken a hit?

Coronavirus and conspiracies: has the 5G market taken a hit?

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In an unexpected twist in the coronavirus saga that couldn’t have been predicted mere months ago, conspiracy theories linking 5G to the outbreak are spreading rapidly.

The baseless theory that originated in January claims that 5G towers transmit radiation that weakens immune systems, helping to spread the virus.

With China delivering one of the first and largest commercial launches in November 2019, the rumours were able to pick up speed. 

The theory continued to gain popularity, as the fake news was spread on social media groups and by celebrities with millions of followers, including Hollywood stars Woody Harrelson and John Cusack, singer Keri Hilson and rap artist Wiz Khalifa. 

Despite the conspiracy being completely unfounded, incidents of phone masts being vandalised and engineers harassed have been reported.

How has the coronavirus outbreak affected the 5G market?

5G is known to allow greater and faster data processing. The new wireless communication technology is seen as an integral part of digital transformation strategies and interconnected technologies in various industries. 

Before the outbreak, a number of countries looked to adopt 5G wireless communications technology. The rollout in Singapore was estimated to reach 50% coverage by 2023. This is much slower than 4G rollout, which could be explained by a lack of revenue opportunities in the consumer space. 

The pandemic could lead to slower rollouts for 5G with market analysts at Frost & Sullivan predicting a possible slow down in rollout schedules.

Miss Mei Lee Quah, Associate Director of Telecoms and Payments Strategy at Frost & Sullivan, said: “The coronavirus outbreak highlights the urgent need for upgrading digital infrastructure and for deploying 5G networks.”

But the highly anticipated transition from 5G New Radio Non-Standalone to a Standalone mode may also be delayed. A Standalone mode will eventually allow 5G to be used for both signaling and information transfer rather than relying on existing LTE networks.

Miss Quah added: “In some places where it makes economic sense, the outbreak has actually driven the market for fixed wireless access, although the bulk of the solutions are still on 4G rather than on 5G.”

Investments in 5G NR infrastructure had been ramping up, while spending in 4G LTE infrastructure had been slowing down. 

But in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, Miss Quah noticed mobile operators increasing spending on 4G LTE to support the increase in work from home and online arrangements, leading to a significant increase in the use of high-speed broadband for media and entertainment at home.

Sachin Mittal, the Head of Telecom, Media & Technology Research at DBS Bank, predicts that the outbreak’s impact could linger with a 10% decline in mobile revenues.

Research firm Strategy Analytics also lowered its forecast on global 5G smartphone shipments to 199 million from 250 million in the first quarter. The reason given was the virus had taken a toll on the worldwide semiconductor market, which especially goes into smartphones.

Smartphone giants Huawei, Samsung, and Apple are also experiencing a slowdown in the production of their 5G products.

For consumers, the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology announced a 56% drop in smartphone sales in February 2020 compared to 2019

It is unknown as of yet how the conspiracy theories could affect the 5G market, but other than some repair works to phone masts, the damage could be minimal. 

The need for 5G will continue

Despite the conspiracies and slowdowns, some countries are pushing for 5G to support the healthcare industry, much like data centers and cloud services. 

Miss Quah said: “The coronavirus outbreak will have a short term impact on 5G.”

The healthcare industry could drive early 5G adoption, but more innovative use cases will be dependent on releases 16 and 17 expected in 2020 and 2021.

She added: “Demand for 5G is expected to pick up again once the critical stage of the outbreak is over and countries are able to flatten the curve of new infections.”

In her conversations with mobile operators, vendors, and end-user companies, Miss Quah found the majority to agree that there is a clear need for 5G in their industry ecosystem.

What are the challenges in driving 5G adoption?

Miss Quah found that mobile operators’ and vendors’ biggest challenge with driving 5G adoption is the lack of sufficient industry partnerships to build solutions that capitalise on 5G. She noted that some are heading in the right direction by seeking out a deeper understanding of end-user needs.

For end-user companies within vertical industries, they are currently struggling to come up with innovative ideas that can unlock the potential of 5G. It can be difficult to find suitable best practice strategies since we are still at the early stages of 5G with few benchmarks available.

Knowledge sharing, building industry partnerships, and greater funding for innovation may help overcome these challenges.

But these barriers in no way indicate that 5G will not work.

On the contrary, Miss Quah said: “I envision that 5G will eventually drive the much anticipated innovative end to end services that have the potential to transform the world as we know it.”

Want more 5G insights?

Join 5G market and investment expert Sachin Mittal from DBS Bank at our first free digital event, ‘Inside Asia – Technology & Market Next Moves’, on 30 April at 11 am SGT.

You will get the chance to connect with a whole host of industry experts along with peers from across the world to explore the current state of the industry and future investment opportunities in 5G, data centers, cloud services, and more.

Watch Inside Asia – Technology & Market Next Moves on demand.

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Author

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Stuart Crowley

Editor, W.Media

stuart@w.media

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