Businesses of every size, in every industry around the world, are experiencing one of the biggest skill shortages seen in decades – a challenge that is intensifying by the day. A staggering 77% of employers around the world are experiencing difficulties in filling job vacancies, marking the highest talent shortage in 17 years. A historic shift of high to low mortality and fertility rates, coupled with a mismatch between technological advances and a lack of human workers with the right skills is reshaping the way we work. The impact of the looming talent crunch has prompted organizations to accelerate the development of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics to alleviate the growing need for human talent. Enterprises are betting on AI as a bridging solution to this predicament. For example, 55% of healthcare leaders in the Asia-Pacific region already heavily invested in, are currently using, or plan to implement AI in their operations.
In order to relieve the mounting pressure of building and managing IT capabilities while still being able to optimize human resource allocation through AI, enterprises are quickly turning towards Everything as a Service (XaaS) to support their digital transformation. Rich and diverse digital ecosystems are a lifeline for organizations, enabling them to access the critical digital services they need to reach their expansion and innovation goals without stretching thin their existing IT personnel and resources. XaaS platforms provide seamless access to AI as a service hosted on cloud infrastructure, along with a growing suite of software tools and digital solutions that can be utilized on demand. The advancement of AI has become a positive force for employment, helping to increase efficiency, optimize enterprise resources and most importantly, retain more talent across industries.
Equinix 2023 Global Tech Trends Survey
The benefits and challenges of new digital technologies, and future-proofing strategiesRead More
Augmenting the talent bandwidth with AI and cloud
As enterprises grapple with the dual challenges of reducing costs while enriching and retaining their talent pools, AI solutions and integrated cloud services are some of the tactics they have deployed to deliver on their business strategies.
By leveraging AI, operations teams upgrade their ability to sift through large datasets in real time, divulging useful insights through automated processes and reducing disconnects that arise from traditional systems and manual analysis. Interconnection solutions like Equinix Fabric® connect enterprises to their preferred cloud service providers and AI as a service platforms to facilitate data exchange for AI training. AI can be taught to combine different datasets and spot the changes that caused an incident, as well as where and what was impacted. Teams will be equipped with relevant real time information and forecasted trends so that they can act on potential anomalies before they become issues.
Existing digital infrastructure potentially unable to host AI
Despite the ongoing proliferation of AI, 44% of IT decision-makers in Asia-Pacific that responded to Equinix’s Global Tech Trends Survey revealed that they are not comfortable with their organization’s current digital infrastructure to accommodate the growing use and reliance on AI. To ensure enterprises can take advantage of AI technologies, business leaders in Asia-Pacific demand robust digital infrastructure to deliver on-demand interconnectivity, especially the healthcare industry. In clinical settings specifically, 41% of Asia-Pacific leaders are already sharing data with third-party organizations, 40% are using data for predictive analytics, 30% are collecting and storing data and 28% are using data to automate tasks.
From AI chatbots for patient engagement and appointment scheduling, to enabling robotics applications that augment the abilities of healthcare workers to tackle complex healthcare challenges, AI is more prevalent in healthcare than ever before. Healthcare providers are progressively exploring the deployment of new scalable applications powered by AI. Agile network infrastructure is critical to meeting AI enabled application demands and requirements of forward-looking healthcare institutions. Through Equinix’s digital infrastructure platform, healthcare practitioners can quickly deploy and connect virtual network services with no additional hardware requirements on a modular infrastructure platform. By deploying network services in proximity to both cloud providers and end users, they will be able to reach more patients remotely and extend care from hospital rooms to homes. Under an ultra-low latency environment, diagnosis, consultations and even drug delivery can be expanded to outbound communities.
AI and robotics lend a helping hand in healthcare
The number of doctors per 1,000 people vary widely across Asia-Pacific countries and territories but is still generally lower than the OECD average. An aging population coupled with the rising burden of chronic diseases is putting pressure on healthcare systems in the region that already struggle with a shortage of healthcare workers. Integration of AI and robotics into healthcare will undoubtedly help address this issue by automating repetitive tasks while enhancing the abilities of healthcare workers. However, healthcare providers and innovators often struggle to find the right AI partner solutions and data infrastructure that helps overcome their challenges with data sharing and AI implementation.
Nearly three quarters (73%) of APAC’s healthcare leaders cite data silos as hindering their ability to use data effectively, far above the global average of 51%. Partnering with other ecosystem players could be one way to address some of these challenges. Healthcare leaders can join forces with health technology companies so that their facilities would receive counsel on contingency planning, guidance for data analysis to ensure continuous improvement and resources for value-added innovations.
For example, harrison.ai has deployed eight NVIDIA DGX A100 systems in an Equinix IBX® data center in Sydney, allowing them to build AI solutions for clinicians across the world like decision support solutions for chest X-rays. Equinix enables harrison.ai to utilize hybrid cloud models to move large data sets that facilitate training and development of AI solutions. Leveraging Equinix Fabric harrison.ai can set up direct and on-demand connections between its infrastructure and healthcare providers for future partnerships. The partnership between Equinix and harrison.ai will enable healthcare providers to quickly and efficiently deploy AI solutions worldwide to improve the standard of global healthcare and achieve harrison.ai’s vision of impacting one million lives per day.
Talent shortages put an emphasis on AI advancement
The shortage of talent is just beginning, and its effects are starting to be felt worldwide. AI applications have the potential to free up 1,659 million to 1,944 million hours every year in the healthcare industry worldwide, and this impact is led by AI applications in virtual health assistance (VHA) that could save up to 1,154 million hours per year. This would allow healthcare providers to dedicate considerably more time to high-value activities.
As AI adoption continues, organizations ready to embrace this change require a robust data infrastructure that interconnects them with the right AI solutions within a rich digital ecosystem. Equinix digital services will continue to provide robust digital infrastructure that overcome the challenges stemming from talent shortages and enable data exchange between partners to accelerate innovation and achieve improved outcomes for all its stakeholders.