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Getting Ready for the Year of the Monkey

It’s almost the Year of the Monkey. And, although I don’t follow the Chinese Zodiac as zealously as some of my family, as the Managing Director of Equinix Hong Kong, I am very interested in the future. Particularly the significant changes and emerging challenges in the management of technology within organizations that will impact the IT market in 2016.

From this vantage point, there are a few important trends that will shape the coming year. So here are my predictions for the four things that will make the biggest impact in the new lunar year:

1. Embracing cloud will continue to be a top enterprise priority

Last year, we saw an increasing number of cloud service providers (CSPs) providing more comprehensive cloud services to local and regional customers in light of strong demands from all types of enterprises. Our partnership with Aliyun, the cloud computing arm of China’s ecommerce giant Alibaba, is a good example of this trend.

The next big question for cloud service providers will be how they can drive user utilization of the cloud. Not every company has the expertise to tackle the issues like configuration, systems integration and round-the-clock cloud application management. This becomes critical for enterprises when choosing a right provider.

2. Multi-cloud environment to win new ground among enterprises, particularly finance

In 2016, the multi-cloud environment will become the new norm as businesses seek to pick up the ‘best-fit’ applications from different cloud vendors. This leaves CIOs with a challenging task – integrating multiple clouds into a single platform to reduce complexity and achieve interoperability between systems.

As a result, many businesses are looking to join a rich cloud ecosystem that offers direct access to multiple clouds, bypassing public cloud where security, performance and traceability are at stake. These give enterprises full control over access speed and bandwidth, as well as the ability to add, remove or amend connections swiftly whenever needed.

3. Evolution of content streaming will drive demand for data center services

The rise of online streaming media, led by services like Netflix and LeTV, has shuffled the entire business model of content providers and had a knock-on effect on the technology used to support them. With Netflix relying purely on public cloud and its entry to Hong Kong next year, we expect to see more media companies change their delivery approach, sparking increased demand for cloud and data center services in light of the staggering amount of internet traffic behind the scenes.

Content companies need robust interconnections with various partners such as content delivery networks, Telco carriers and content service providers across several markets to optimize application performance, deliver content seamlessly regardless of users’ location or device. This will make selecting the right data center provider even more important to avoid many hassles when entering new markets.

4. Mobile payment market will increase demands for financial ecosystems

Hong Kong has long been accused of lagging behind when it comes to mobile payment, particularly in comparison to mainland China. However, during the last 12 months, we have seen new types of online-to-offline payment platforms – such as Kiss and P2P mobile payment services – rolling out, pushing the boundary between traditional banking and new technology.

The mobile payment market is only set to grow more in 2016 as companies realize the huge business opportunities that can be leveraged via smartphones and devices. Meanwhile, the performance, security and complex compliance challenges that surround these types of payments will propel companies to partner with IT service providers to ensure they can respond to customer demands without jeopardizing overall performance.

A successful mobile payment service involves multiple segments of data transmission, configuration and delivery from banks, to payment processors, and finally to end-users. By having direct interconnectivity between all of these services in a single financial ecosystem, companies can have real-time access to brokers, as well as digital wallet and market data providers. Inside these ecosystems, organizations can also connect to hundreds of point-of-sale providers, digital commerce sites, financial institutions and mobile networks via private connections that bypass the public internet and eliminates uncertainties about performance and security.

Looking forward, the mobile payment market in Hong Kong is poised to become more mature, unlocking the true value of digital transactions for customers and businesses alike.