The COVID-19 crisis became a decisive push for digital transformation. This global health, humanitarian, and economic crisis accelerated the shift towards digital and demanded that firms truly digitize their businesses from end to end: how they operate, how they develop and adopt collaboration solutions for employees, and how they serve their customers. The next step will be to deliver that next-generation customer experience through 5G and connected technologies.
With impressive speeds, far fewer latency issues, and increased reliability, 5G will put digital transformation on steroids. Major communication service providers in the United States like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile are getting ready to power this shift and have launched this new generation of telecommunications technology.
But what’s next? Recently, I discussed the future of connectivity, digital experiences and the digital infrastructure at play with Mo Katibeh, President and Chief Marketing Officer for AT&T Business. Here are some insights into how we see the shift in digital infrastructure that will set up these extremely low-latency, resilient networks for unparalleled connectivity between people, devices, and “things.”
5G is a global agenda. The three global priorities for 5G deployment are universal connectivity, radically de-centralized edge computing, and a massive increase in data collecting capabilities, together facilitating next-gen smart systems. But make no mistake, digital infrastructure is just infrastructure! 5G-led transformation will overhaul both business models and delivery models. Companies will need to think about transformation down to the core of their business using what we call the "4M approach": model, method, machinery, and mindset.
The Cloud is coming closer. The biggest change in the future of IT infrastructure is now underway: the reorientation of cloud computing alongside 5G’s rollout. As Katibeh explained, to enable extremely low latency connections, networks and computing must move closer to the end user. This means we will see smaller, more distributed data centers across the globe, closer to all major cities.
To get 5G networks, edge computing, and wired fiber connections to work together, as well as bring a low-latency experience to end users, infrastructure will have to be integrated. The need of the hour is for these fiber connections, 5G technology, and the Internet of Things to come together and hit the cloud computing stack quickly to bring alive a low-latency experience for consumers and businesses.
5G will act as the network broker for everything. 5G and edge computing will eventually become the brokers that interface between all elements – people, devices, and the cloud. Katibeh agrees. He believes that automation and machine learning layers will apply to these connected ecosystems and enable intelligent decision-making in the future. “The fabric of commerce in our society will be shifted in the coming years by 5G,” Katibeh said.
Another angle to consider is the massive amount of data that will be generated through this connected ecosystem, as well as the data protocols, security, governance, and analytics capabilities required to manage and make use of this data. This scenario poses both a challenge and an opportunity. How companies aggregate, process, organize, and analyze this data will be key to developing and delivering superior customer experiences.
Back to the future: Will everything be software defined? Yes. Like LTE, 5G requires a physical infrastructure build. The difference, though, is that 5G will require everything to be software defined and virtualized. From infrastructure to storage, computer to network, application to experience, expect everything to be software defined. Interestingly, this future will involve a massive ecosystem play. How firms deliver cloud infrastructure, network infrastructure, storage, intelligence, and security -- all at once -- will no longer be just a network or CSP play, but an aggregate ecosystem play. This is where technology providers like Wipro can help.
5G is not just a telecommunications advancement. It’s a set of software advancements that have been fully integrated into a set of wireless standards like never before. The future of IT infrastructure, as I see it, will be everything wireless, coming together.
What do you think?
President – Marketing, Innovation & Technology, and Global Head - Manufacturing & Communications Business
Milan Rao is currently President at Wipro. He heads Wipro’s core transformation office – MIT, or Marketing, Innovation and Technology – that is driving Wipro's business transformation and has the charter to develop transformative technology solutions. Milan oversees the CTO Office which is Wipro’s innovation and R&D hub, and defines the company’s technology vision and strategy, as well as incubates next-generation technology and service offerings. Milan provides direction to Topcoder, as well as to the global Marketing function.
Milan also heads up two of Wipro's businesses globally – Manufacturing and Telecommunications, driving digital transformation across the value chain for Process & Industrial Manufacturing businesses, Automotive, Aerospace and Defense.
Milan is part of Wipro's Corporate Executive Committee. His multi-industry leadership and business experience – from technology, healthcare to telecom and financial services – positions him uniquely to contribute to the ongoing transformation in the industry and at Wipro.