As we exit the first year of this ‘post COVID’ era, organisations of all sizes continue to embrace digital infrastructure to accelerate their growth and capitalise on new and emerging technologies which enable delivery of new services, increase competitive advantage, and facilitate employee productivity, regardless of their location.
Despite some economic uncertainties, we anticipate continued investment in infrastructure underpinning the growing demand for digitisation as organisations are increasingly reliant on technology. Driving this growth, five themes illuminate us on what the year ahead might bring.
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Future of Work
Future of work will continue to evolve as employers rethink what the modern workplace will be and how their employees experience and engage within it. According to PwC, 90% of the workforce in Asia-Pacific prefer to work remotely or hybrid. To be ready for permanent hybrid work, business leaders need to keep optimising processes, systems, and infrastructure to protect against new threats, ensure effective communication, and empower workers to be productive from anywhere.
A CSIRO-wide staff study found that those who worked from home during the pandemic preferred to continue, reporting that working remotely improved their productivity, reduce the time and costs associated with commuting, and encouraged a more sustainable work-life balance. To minimise performance issues and ensure employees are productive, enterprises will continue to deploy unified communications (UC) platforms as close to as many remote workers as possible. This ensures extremely low latency and helps replicate in-person communication for their remote workers. If employees are unable to access these tools, even temporarily, productivity suffers. As such, to adapt to changing conditions quickly and cost-effectively, we anticipate more businesses will tap into a global ecosystem of partners sharing services, applications, and data.
Sustainability has permanently shifted from opt-in to table stakes. Customers, partners, and investors are all now demanding organisations put in place a path to net zero with increasing visibility being placed on other renewables such as water usage.
According to the Equinix 2022 Global Tech Trends Survey, 74% of IT leaders say they have a plan in place to manage the environmental impact of growing data usage and 61% are measuring and actively trying to limit the environmental impact of their IT equipment. Further, 65% will only work with IT partners who can meet key carbon reduction targets, whilst 68% report sustainability is now one of their organisation’s most important drivers with commitments made to science-based targets.
Sustainability and adapting to a changing climate will continue to be a core focus in 2023 as organisations mitigate the effects of climate change while striving towards carbon neutrality and meeting ESG criteria. Finite land, water and energy resources have spurred forward-looking innovations to solve planetary constraints, so we can expect to see continued renewable energy investments and other sustainability features being adopted. This in turn, will help companies achieve their own sustainable energy goals and lower their overall carbon footprint.
This past year has illustrated the real and growing threat of sophisticated and opportunistic cyber-attacks on Australian organisations.
In response to the growing scale of these threats, the Australian government plans to develop a new cyber security strategy aimed at strengthening the country’s critical infrastructure, amongst other important goals to safeguard against major cyber-attacks. Speaking at the National Press Club this month, the minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Cyber Security, Clare O’Neil, said her goal is to make Australia “the world’s most cyber-secure country by 2030”.
In 2023, we expect DevOps to play an increasingly important role in cyber protection. As many organisations continue to expand their cloud portfolio, from hybrid multicloud and data centres to virtual environments and more, the constant monitoring of code has become more crucial than ever. That means developer environments are on the radar of threat actors and the SolarWinds hack highlighted how the supply chain can be vulnerable to threats that seep through connected ecosystems. According to the CSIRO’s Futures series, a globally competitive Australian cyber security sector that enables organisations to pursue digitally driven growth, and supports greater trust and confidence to participate in the international economy is essential to our nation. In this report, CSIRO says a trusted ecosystem will allow for rapid exchange of information and provides a stronger environment for trade, which includes ensuring new products, services, platforms and processes are designed with cyber security as a key consideration.
Cybercriminals target developers and their build systems as entry points for attack campaigns against infrastructure-as-code deployments, Kubernetes environments, and supply chains. This gives developers the de facto responsibility to secure the software they build and maintain. However, security teams are also responsible for providing that guidance to developers in protecting their software.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has moved into mainstream with many technology companies now offering AI “built in”. The GPU manufacturers continue to stretch the boundaries of computing capability, which is enabling AI anywhere, and 5G development continues to support emerging digital solutions that move us closer to Industry 5.0. Device sensors constantly collecting data triggered by sight and sound, will allow AI to make decisions without direct human intervention, eliminating decision friction while enhancing the human experience. Businesses are continuing to emphasise the importance of AI adoption as a game changer for the modern business.
Although we can expect AI infrastructure to challenge organisations and many are still figuring it out, we believe there will be continued growing demand for Hybrid AI. More importantly, this requires digital ecosystems that host the frameworks to sustain next-generation connectivity and network stability. By helping to make sense of the data we have, AI has truly transformative powers and Practical AI will require industrial scale machine learning and we believe hybrid cloud will continue to be the most efficient architecture for AI centralised workloads.
Decentralised Finance, or “DeFI”, experienced a challenging 2022 on the back of high profile crypto exchange failures such as FTX and Dogecoin, plus heavy volatility around stablecoins like Terra. As a result, confidence in Defi is shaken and regulators are likely to apply additional scrutiny. According to Cryptopolitan’s DeFi and Crypto Predictions for 2023, regulation is inevitable with US President Joe Biden, along with other G20 countries pushing for a comprehensive regulatory framework for digital assets and transactions. As this market matures, and the full Web3 concept is still very much a work in progress, one factor that does stand out is the need for future-ready infrastructure.
We’ve already seen an exponential increase in compute related to crypto mining, some of which required the creation of hyperscale data centres to address. Still, we will likely continue to see more demand for capacity or even new forms of infrastructure. In the case of creating, running, and using Web3 will demand huge data storage and the infrastructure to support it, and to enable Web3 success, digital infrastructures will require bare metal configurations that contain large storage capacities and lower latencies.
It’s hard to believe how much has changed in 2022 and almost impossible to predict what 2023 has in store. But the themes above are certainly going to be prevalent among others and we hope you enjoy being part of it as much as we do.