You could say the last twelve months may well have been a dress rehearsal for the next decade. We saw widespread adoption of a set of technologies that accelerated over the year, coupled with rapid digitisation impacting every sector of the economy.
We are now more connected than at any other point in history. The very fabric that connects us all – pervasive digital networks – have become denser and more extensible.
Many organisations now use a blend of fixed networks, Software-Defined Networks (SDN), cloud compute, and virtual network services to help them respond to a new and rapidly changing digital economy.
Globally, many industries have already taken up 5G technologies – from the way ships are built, to connected stadiums to enhance the entertainment and sports experience, through to healthcare that accelerated using telehealth and AI and VR to access health services. 5G has played a large role in transforming these industries.
5G will transform advanced manufacturing
The Asia Pacific is the bedrock of manufacturing for the world, with 41.9 oer cent of the industry’s global output generated by China, Japan, South Korea and India.
5G technology is being used to augment and accelerate production outputs to gain efficiencies and higher value production capability. We are also seeing 5G technologies used to support asset-tracking to ensure security of high value assets.
Manufacturers are using powerful edge compute capacity to underpin technologies such as AI and virtual reality that are being used to improve health and safety measures.
While our domestic manufacturing sector has remained a small portion of our overall economy, Australia has a great opportunity to transform high-value manufacturing capabilities by deploying technologies such as 5G to help manufacturers achieve what we do best – bringing innovation and capability to create new products and services for the global market.
These technologies will also help realise the vision of the federal government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative to develop higher value manufacturing capability that will increase the complexity of our export basket.
Emerging tech improves customer connections
In combination with increased connectivity, we also saw a significant change in the distribution of workers. The year 2020 saw the flight to remote working as a major outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alongside that trend, we are generating more data than ever before, as individuals use technology to check-in and collect information about their location. Four of the data check-in companies that have disclosed Australian data indicated they had checked in 28 million COVID registrations between the start of the pandemic in March and October 2020.
Now, the sheer volume of data is outstripping our capabilities to generate meaningful insights. This in turn gives power to technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) – which can assist in turning data into actionable insights.
The recent 2021 CX Maturity Report shows companies that will be winners in the future will be using AI and ML tools to help them change the way they interact and engage with customers and also predict their customers’ needs.
The most important question that organisations will need to ask themselves is “what will be possible tomorrow that wasn’t possible yesterday? And, how can this help us increase competitiveness and improve customer experience?”
For example, emerging CX concepts such as empathy metrics and anticipant shipping, will transform the understanding of how consumers interact with brands.
Further, as service becomes more conversational, brands will be able to understand how customers wish to be served, and leaders will need to provide hyper-personalised experience to set themselves apart in a highly competitive, rapidly changing environment.
AI has a role to play to make that prediction and interaction seamless and offer high value for the business.
Preparing the next 12 months to support a decade of change
The network has emerged as a critical part of an organisation’s strategy to future-proof technology investments. While it’s impossible to prepare for all contingencies for the next decade, the next 12 months will need to be about embedding flexibility and agility into the core business platform.
We have talked with many leaders who pivoted their operations during the pandemic who are already looking at Network as a Service (NaaS) solutions as a good way to strengthen their business to cope with continuous and inevitable changes that are coming.
Organisations that understand the opportunity at hand – whether that be the rapid acceleration of digitisation, strategising technology transformation or meeting changed customer and employee interactions – are busy getting their houses in order.
They are looking to simplify complexity and remove uncertainty at the network level to manage the changes that are coming.
Now with 5G technology, AI and ML adoption, they are looking to NaaS so they can springboard from the past and gain a significant competitive advantage.
Rob Le Busque is Regional Vice-President Asia Pacific at Verizon Business Group and a member of the InnovationAus Editorial Leadership Council.
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