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How industries are transforming to get digital ready for post-pandemic recovery

Fiona Lam, Vice President, Marketing Asia Pacific at Equinix, tells Intelligent CIO how key industries are likely to be impacted by businesses reassessing their operating environments to navigate volatile and uncertain times.

Before the outbreak of Coronavirus, it was almost impossible for people to imagine how a pandemic could fundamentally change the world and our daily lives. Now due to COVID-19, the global economy could suffer up to US$8.8 trillion in losses, equivalent to 6.4% to 9.7% of GDP according to the Asian Development Bank.


Faced with unexpected disruptions and changing customer behaviors, enterprises across all industries are reassessing their operating environments and retooling their businesses to navigate volatile and uncertain times. In this article, we outline how some key industries are likely to be impacted.


Healthcare: leveraging technology to transform patient experience

Undoubtedly, the effects of COVID-19 on healthcare go beyond the disease itself. The global spread of the pandemic has created increasing pressure to predict surges of patients and their impact on individual care facilities.


To deliver targeted and effective medical care, organizations rely on remote monitoring and Internet of Things (IoT) platforms, along with Big Data analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) more than ever before. These technologies enable healthcare service providers to effectively and cost-efficiently process and analyze massive amounts of data and gain a wealth of insights.


However, traditional IT infrastructures cannot integrate the digital services, vast data sources, and real-time analytics needed to support remote monitoring and deliver personalized patient experiences. With private connectivity, healthcare service providers are able to achieve real-time, secure communications and data exchange with patients, partner ecosystems, and network and cloud providers to ensure uninterrupted services and improve outcomes.


The huge volumes of patient data generated during the pandemic have also created challenges for the industry. By leveraging SD-WAN, healthcare service providers can meet fast-changing capacity demands in minutes, with no additional equipment or physical access needed. They can increase or decrease bandwidth globally on all virtual connections to clouds to deliver timely solutions to patients. This on-demand service provides the industry with the scalability and availability required to process and analyze massive amounts of data.


Workspace: delivering Business Continuity during a pandemic

All industries are facing the same problem of delivering remote operations, especially SMEs who were not digitally prepared to deal with unexpected situations. In view of this, workspace solution providers like ServCorp have stepped up to support their customers in responding to these challenges and still deliver on Digital Transformation, helping them transition to remote operations and ensure Business Continuity.


We have seen an emergence of flexible virtual office services designed to help businesses improve their operational efficiency, for example, aggregating, answering and directing business calls to the appropriate person to make sure they never miss a single important call, even when working remotely. Moreover, the use of Smartphone VoIP applications allows companies to make and receive calls on their business phone numbers remotely, avoiding the need to share personal mobile numbers which can cause data privacy issues.


Deploying in data centers with global footprints gives workspace service providers access to best-of-breed solutions for network services, cloud services, managed services and compliance in each region, ensuring consistent performance for customers across the globe. Through network-dense data centers, latency is significantly reduced, and quality of service is enhanced as hops are reduced during VoIP routing. Private interconnection enables workspace solution providers to bypass the public Internet and enjoy secure, high-bandwidth and low-latency connectivity to ensure services are uninterrupted.


Retail: driving digital sales and interactions

Even before the pandemic, the retail industry was undergoing transformation. Increases in online shopping, along with consumer expectations for personalized shopping experiences and offers, were compelling retailers to integrate capabilities to ensure a consistent and seamless shopping experience, both online and offline.


The global pandemic is further reshaping interactions between retailers and consumers. One of the most significant behavioral changes in retail is the shift to digital. Based on a survey conducted by Nielsen, 37% of Singaporeans have increased online shopping activities since the outbreak and 76% have indicated that they will not return to pre-outbreak online shopping levels.


Increased data traffic needs to be managed effectively to be efficiently transferred and processed so that retailers can ensure a seamless and convenient customer experience. This is driving demand for interconnection, the direct and private exchange of traffic between key business partners. By hosting their data in close proximity to partners and suppliers, retailers can increase the speed of data transfer and make it easier to scale-up during spike periods for digital transactions, as well as transforming customer experiences.


Manufacturing: building an ecosystem for collaboration

COVID-19 has posed new challenges to the manufacturing sector. According to ResearchAndMarkets.com, post COVID-19, the Global Smart Manufacturing Market is expected to be worth US$181.3 billion by 2020 and US$220.4 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 4% though the estimation for 2020 was down by approximately 16% when it was compared to pre-COVID-19 evaluations.


Supply chain disruptions and the limited mobility have become key barriers that the industry needs to overcome. Manufacturers have to innovate at speeds they never had to before in order to gain a competitive edge, particularly as markets once again pick up.


Therefore, more and more manufacturers, including Sennheiser, are leveraging automation, cloud and Edge Computing to maximize their data, operations and productivity during this difficult time. They need to capture new data sources and apply local analytics for actionable insights, which makes it essential to re-architect IT infrastructure on globally distributed interconnection platforms.


By directly and securely connecting people, locations, clouds, data and things, private interconnection enables more streamlined multi-party/multi-machine information exchange for greater collaboration.


A robust data center platform gives manufacturers agility, flexibility and scalability to meet evolving demands. With new manufacturing ecosystems developing at the Edge, as manufacturers and their supply chain partners move physically closer, they can more cost-effectively bring products to market faster in ways that best meet their customers’ needs.


For all of the uniqueness of today’s business climate, the impact to enterprise is unlikely to only be short term. With surging demand for interconnection bandwidth, it is undeniable that companies are pushing deeper into Digital Transformation and those who are digital ready can mitigate the impact of future global events, build resilience into their operations and gain competitive advantages.


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Originally published: https://www.intelligentcio.com

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