By Yaniv Iarovici, Marketing Director, IoT and Edge, Western Digital
Undoubtedly, connected technology is playing a key role in allowing employees to continue working, in spite of the current coronavirus pandemic. Consequentially, the pandemic has also accelerated the development of new technologies across various industries and professions. Businesses and their IT systems will have to keep up with this new demand for online working, as data volumes increase. Their data storage capabilities will need to evolve too, to service this fast-tracked evolution.
As the trends in remote life are set to continue beyond the pandemic, it is worth examining what these changes will look like for different industries and sectors and how that impacts storage needs.
A globally connected workforce
Millions of people around the globe have been encouraged to work from home, and the number of telecommuting workforces has skyrocketed in a very small period of time. In April 2020, statistics released by the UK’s Office for National showed nearly half (47 percent) of people in employment conducted some of their work from home, with the vast majority (86 percent) of these homeworkers stating that this was because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. IT teams have rolled out virtual workstations for employees to access critical enterprise applications and remote employees are using video conferencing and team collaboration tools – such as in DevOps automation and project management – to facilitate barrier-free virtual connections.
As we look into the future of video conferencing, artificial intelligence (AI) is coming into play. With the help of AI, user experience and team meeting efficiencies are improving. AI-powered video conferencing can identify the best time for all attendees, cut out background noise in meetings, generate an automatic transcription of the discussion, and even share action lists and notes.
The rise of remote learning
During the pandemic, whilst the school campuses were closed, administrators and teachers were asked by governments to shift quickly to remote instruction. Multiple educational non-profits and technology companies partnered with public schools to provide resources, tools, and training for instructors to stay connected with and teach their students. More students than ever before accessed productivity software and applications through virtual desktops. As a result, the need for personal data storage through internal HDDs and SSDs or desktop drives to backup learning assignments, documents and projects became critical.
Looking ahead, distance learning might also look to utilise augmented and virtual reality to create immersive learning experiences for students.
Smart, automated supply chains
Automation was already top of mind for businesses looking to streamline processes for better efficiencies, control, precision and safety. COVID-19 has made the case for automation clear, and undoubtedly sparked a new wave of adoption. When global supply chains are bottlenecked, autonomous technology helps to ease the burden. When social distancing is required, robots can take over tasks that put workers in danger.
The pandemic has also created an interesting opportunity for pavement robots, drones and self-driving cars that make last-mile delivery more efficient and contactless. In fact, a leading e-commerce platform recently bought an autonomous vehicle startup to expedite self-driving car development. Further to this, an experimental branch of the world’s largest search engine has been conducting drone delivery tests since October 2019 and has expanded the items customers can order — from baked goods and coffee to toilet paper, medicine and toothpaste.
eSports and virtual events
The outbreak of the coronavirus has caused numerous organisations to postpone or cancel public events. Event organisers have been forced to rethink their strategy for such gatherings by going either fully virtual, or offering a hybrid of in-person and online sessions to connect and engage their audiences.
The lockdown has also changed our stay-at-home entertainment options. People are spending more time indoors and are using video streaming services at higher rates. With existing platforms, one can visit the Louvre, save the world from zombies, or rock climb in Spain when sitting at home in your pyjamas. Online gaming and esports have also continued to grow in popularity.
By 2023, the world’s 2.7 billion gamers are projected to spend over £154 billion on video games — particularly mobile gaming, and potentially, on wearable gaming devices.
Furthermore, thanks to the power of the cloud we can now stream video straight onto our devices. However, a shift to a cloud DVR is presenting challenges for service providers. The content libraries for streaming services are continuing to grow at a staggering rate, and as a result, Cisco projects that global IP traffic will reach 4ZBs in 2022, with 82% of that being video. By the same year, busy hour traffic will grow at a 37% compound annual growth rate, up to 5 times what it was just in 2018, according to the report.
Why companies are scaling up capacity data storage
In closing, the current situation has prompted companies, schools and municipal services to keep up with the digital transformation happening around them. They have had to ensure they have the adequate data storage capabilities to service and manage the connected technologies they are now responsible for. It is a brave new digital world, and one led by increased enterprise demands in cloud data centres. From schooling to delivering vital public services to streaming entertainment, companies are scaling up data capacity, accelerating cloud computing and sharing disaggregated flash storage resources. The remote life model with new IT systems in place to support it has largely proven itself across the globe, and that could bode well for companies even after the pandemic.