Select your location
Austria

Austria

Czech Republic

Czech Republic

Germany

Germany

Italy

Italy

The Netherlands

The Netherlands

Romania

Romania

Lasting effects: 3 business trends that COVID-19 is rapidly accelerating

Stijn Bijnens - CEO Cegeka

The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed a tsunami of changes upon the world. One of them is the rapid acceleration of a number of business trends that are not new, but not exactly part of the mainstream either. That is: until now. Let’s take a look at three of them:

  1. Booming demand for secure digital workplaces, to enable large-scale remote working
  2. Accelerated digitization, with growing ‘Amazonisation’ and more widespread cloud adoption
  3. 5G and AI as the dream team that is going to dominate the next decade

COVID-19 has created a watershed moment for remote working. Today, more than 8 months into this pandemic - and with no real end in sight – it has become crystal clear that working from home is here to stay. The demand for digital workplaces is booming, and understandably so: people need a workspace that allows them perform the same tasks at home as in the office: smoothly, efficiently and securely, without technical hiccups.

But remote working comes with challenges, especially in the field of security. Most home wifi networks make hackers feel like they’re in a candy store. On top of that, we saw Shadow IT explode. People all over the world turned in droves to Zoom and other not-so-safe tools. As a result, business demand for secure digital workplaces, security solutions such as IAM and cyber resilience services has increased, a trend which I don’t see abating anytime soon.

On average, companies run 400 to 500 applications: on premise and in different clouds, both ‘on’ the radar of IT and below it. The IT landscape that needs to be managed, controlled and secured is getting larger by the day, and the perimeter is nowhere in sight. Cloud computing, mobility, remote work and IoT have ratcheted up the risks. Massive connectivity means that there is an equally growing amount of entry points, all of which need to be secured.

 

Digitization of the economy is going at full throttle. Since March, we have seen the number of e-commerce transactions implode, with new webshops and platforms appearing overnight. This ‘Amazonisation’ phenomenon is not new, but the COVID-19 crisis has turned it into a ‘do or die’ story.

And the stakes are high. There simply is no way around it: every webshop is competing head-on with the Amazons in the world. Extremely personalized services and a frictionless online experience ... this is what our customers and their customers expect. From every webshop or portal, not just the big fish.

The COVID-19 crisis resulted in a still ongoing and accelerated adoption of cloud computing. All the benefits of cloud – pay per use, always on, scalability etc. – enable our customers to change tack and to do so fast. Not unimportant: where the cloud marketing narrative used to focus on flexibility in terms of upscaling, we are now witnessing increased demand for the opposite: downscaling.

 

5G has been riding the news cycle for quite some time now. Somewhere along the ride, the 5G debate unfortunately got derailed, both by conspiracy theories as well as fake news on the so-called negative impact of 5G radiation on the public’s health (a claim for which there is no scientific argument).

The real power of 5G lies in the degree in which it will unlock new applications, especially when combined with Artificial Intelligence (AI). The data that AI needs to work its magic, is enabled by 5G. In other words: 5G and AI are the rocket fuel for everything that is ‘smart’: healthcare, manufacturing, mobility, to name just a few.

Factories will be first movers. Smart(er) and fast(er) machines will not only increase operational efficiency and productivity, they will enable factories to produce customized goods at the cost of mass manufactured ones. For this, factories need their own secure 5G Mobile Private Network, where people and smart machines can be safely connected.

One of the very attractive capabilities of 5G is that it enables slicing, i.e. the ‘division’ of the 5G network in different ‘lanes’ or slices. A slice is a virtual network which offers, like vLANs or MPLS, advanced connectivity with QoS (Quality of Service) as well as isolation, security, manageability, access and stability. All of which makes 5G Mobile Private Networks very attractive for Business and Technical Decision Makers.

 

It is said that the world needs a crisis sometimes. That is far too harsh, but as an optimist, I must believe that out of hardship come opportunities for change, and change for the better. The worldwide COVID-19 crisis – deeply tragic and devastating as it is – allows us to delete some of our hard-wired assumptions, challenge ‘old’ ways of thinking and reset the world in - I hope - a smarter, healthier and more sustainable way.

Let’s do this together.