More Data, More IT Demands – What to Expect in the Data Era

By John Roese, President and CTO, Dell EMC, and Glen Robson, Senior Vice President of Client Innovation, Dell

Chief Technology Officers may arguably have the coolest job in their organizations – while we ultimately wear many hats, one of those is the role of anticipating how the next big breakthroughs in technology will reveal new opportunities for our customers. There’s been no shortage of technology innovation over the course of the last year, with AI and Machine Learning, 5G, Cloud, Augmented and Virtual Reality, and Blockchain at the forefront of a lot of the conversations within our own teams and with our customers. It’s an exciting time for technology enthusiasts but the real question is – what does this mean for us and our customers and how do we prepare them to be able to take advantage? The short answer…it means digital transformation is critical to take advantage of all the data capital available during the Data Era.

With the arrival of 2019, we’re incredibly excited about what the next 12 months will bring, as we plan for what’s to come even farther in the future… think 2030. Dell Technologies has released its 2019 predictions for the year. Here we’ll dissect the implications of this latest technology innovation a bit further as it relates to the year ahead.

The data forecast is calling for a multi-tiered approach to cloud, changing the face of the modern data center

With data growing at the edge and the need for real-time powerful compute at scale to support AI and Machine Learning workloads, the data center is officially becoming distributed. Multi and hybrid cloud adoption models will further evolve and place cloud computing capabilities at every layer of the data journey to address the unique needs inherent at each layer. This shift closer to the edge will support analytics and data management outside of the core as an extension of on-premise cloud. Look for a combination of public, private and hybrid to become the new normal that will make multi-tier clouds a reality but now being distributed widely from huge public data centers to dedicated optimized enterprise data centers to real time edge clouds all the way to more intelligent end devices integrated into this multi-tier multi cloud IT model.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will lead to the largest productivity increases we’ve seen in years, not just for people, but for machines

AI and ML applications will enhance and transform the user experience by reducing both technology and human complexity. The line between human and machine tasks will change and more of the thinking tasks of every business and system will be driven by machine intelligence. AI and ML will continue to leverage the influx of data to drive greater efficiencies and insights that will optimize both the apps and devices we use every day. PCs will be able to predict power consumption needs based on usage patterns while apps will continue to learn from user preferences and behaviors to deliver more personalized experiences. Even large-scale enterprise systems will use AI and ML to drive greater automation and intelligence, making it easier for humans to gather insights or make strategic decisions based on data as we move from peta-scale to exa-scale to zeta-scale. Gartner estimates that in 2021, AI augmentation will generate $2.9 trillion in business value and recover 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity.

5G will speed up data, web apps and the shift to software-defined IT

5G is undoubtedly being covered in many predictions for 2019, but what may not be obvious is how it’s driving the need for software-defined IT strategies more than ever before. 5G requires a software-defined network and new distributed compute models. These will ultimately need to be supported by a full software-defined data center stack to ensure all that data can move at speed and scale, while being managed, analyzed, stored and protected. Organizations will need the ability to manage 5G infrastructures with ease and with the dexterity to quickly apply new software code and APIs as needed. Automation and intelligence will be critical, and this is where software-defined shines with scalable NVMe fabrics and SD-WAN.

5G’s low-latency, high-bandwidth data will bring more powerful visual experiences to bear across AR, VR, gaming and mobile apps for IoT…driving an increased demand for content at the edge.

We’ll see a migration to progressive Web apps that are OS and device-agnostic to bring all those high-def experiences to more people in more places.

AR/VR will bring more on-site learning and creativity to the workplace

Leaps in Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) have been made over the course of 2018 to create more immersive, enhanced visual experiences – and as a result, we’ll see increased adoption in the workplace during 2019. On-site training opportunities and the ability to access data in real-time at the edge will not only fill a skills gap across certain trades and industries, but also give the workforce even more freedom to do their best work untethered from the workplace. Further, employees will be able to collaborate and create in real-time through AR and VR experiences – bringing everyone into one virtual environment as if they’re all physically working together.

The biggest enabling trend for AR/VR will not be the user interface, but the advances in data center and cloud infrastructures to provide the data fuel, processing capacity and performance needed to make AR/VR a fully immersive experience. This will signal a shift in thinking from AR/VR as a standalone experience but rather it will now be seen as a presentation interface of the advanced capabilities of the modern data center’s AI driven insight and expanding data pools.

Collaboration will break out from the meeting invite

While the notion of working from 9-5 has long evaporated in a world where connectivity and productivity are possible from even the most remote locations, the calendar invite still rules where and when we get together. But that’s all changing as we have the ability to quickly grab a colleague based overseas through new collaboration tools that allow us to make video calls and share files in real time. 2019 will advance collaboration as more enterprises adopt web-based collaboration tools, and device technologies takes advantage of advances in wi-fi connectivity and compute power to get more done, better, faster – together.

Blockchain will create a chain-reaction

Blockchain continues to create buzz across the technology sector as organizations continue to look at how it can benefit their business — many will continue to evaluate whether it’s valuable to adopt today, and whether it will add security and trust in their supply chain or across financial transactions. 2019 will be a formative year for practical implementation of blockchain, as organizations work to understand if it’s right for them right now, and if they have the right infrastructure, systems and services to support it. We are now maturing to understand that distributed ledgers are a useful tool where issues of distributed trust and data immutability are critical. This will result in more targeted and useful applications of this new technology.

There is no doubt 2019 will be an exciting year for technology enthusiasts and consumers alike as we lean into the Data Era. Be sure to follow our Luminaries in Innovation blog series as we continue explore where technology will take us in 2019 and beyond.