5G marks a new era for the Internet of Things and presents organizations with a significant opportunity to improve their operations. 5G is an innovative radio technology that provides an extended frequency spectrum.
In the consumer market, 5G is positioned around faster connectivity and more bandwidth for consumer-based entertainment, media, and gaming services. In the professional arena, 5G networks combined with IoT or artificial intelligence help deliver new technologies and services in a broad range of industries, such as manufacturing, automotive, logistics, smart cities, utilities, and healthcare, that are not feasible with traditional Wi-Fi and wired networks.
The level of digitization needed for a wide range of facilities is asserting pressure on organizations from a connectivity perspective. 5G can be considered the backbone for various use cases by providing consistent, fast, and scalable data connectivity services. It is expected to have a significant impact on direct and indirect customer service functions, as well as on supply chain, logistics, and distribution operating processes.
Depending on requirements, a 5G network can be self-operated as a separate campus network, used via a public mobile network operator’s network, or in hybrid scenarios.
Typical 5G use cases are as manifold as the IoT. For example, in industrial IoT, cyber-physical production systems rely on stable and high-performing digital infrastructure. This infrastructure must meet demanding communication requirements to enable people, machines, devices, and products to interact flexibly, securely, and reliably. Similarly, autonomously operated forklift trucks and other autonomous vehicles in intralogistics centers. Or doctors, patients, and medical equipment in digital health scenarios. In contrast to Wi-Fi, 5G provides more users with information simultaneously, which benefits smart sports, entertainment, events, media, etc.
Low-code and no-code development platforms
Low-code/no-code platforms are software development environments. They allow users to ‚drag and drop‘ existing pre-built application components and connect them to create applications without requiring comprehensive coding. Such platforms give businesses the ability to develop software quicker and at lower costs, and not least, to meet the challenges of the omnipresent skill shortage in IT.
Analytics and data management
Analytics and data management directly address our survey participants' most-stated goal of digital innovation: better use of data. Data is at the heart of any digital transformation and, at the same time, an essential basis for a range of other important technologies, including artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning
AI combines algorithms, knowledge bases (big data sets), and neural networks/ deep learning techniques to mimic and complement human abilities in various domains. These include perception and understanding, reasoning and problem-solving, learning and training, and interacting with surroundings and people. AI techniques can enhance and augment multiple solutions, such as robotic process automation (RPA) ) and robotic desktop automation (RDA), expert systems designed to perform specific tasks, chatbots, assistants helping consumers and employees with various tasks, and autonomous systems such as industrial robots and cars.
Cyber security and zero trust
The importance of cyber security remains consistently high. The premise behind Zero Trust is simple: companies should not automatically trust devices or users inside or outside their perimeters. Instead, they should verify every access request to their systems before granting it. It is a way of thinking rather than a technical concept. It comprises a comprehensive consideration of an organization’s environment, including identities, applications, networks, data, and devices. Zero Trust approaches are becoming more popular, but - so far, the final stage is rarely achieved.
Blockchain technology is another investment topic for many industries. At its core, a blockchain is a distributed database. The broad distribution of information is the most important feature of blockchain solutions, as it promises maximum transparency, immutability and protection against manipulation, and security. So-called smart contracts can ease collaboration between partners and can be used to create workflows and business process automation. Payment services and traceability were the most-mentioned use cases of the survey participants, but there were many others.
Augmented and virtual reality and the metaverse
Augmented and virtual reality have risen significantly in popularity in the past decade. While virtual reality (VR) refers to a digital image of reality created on a computer, augmented reality (AR) is the interaction of digital and analog life.
A digital twin is a virtual representation of a physical product, space (e.g., building, factory), or process (e.g., production). Organizations can use it for simulations before touching its real-life twin. The ultimate goal of the metaverse is to create a seamless world without interruption, similar to the real world. It includes elements of both AR and VR. While the B2C metaverse focuses very much on consumption, the enterprise metaverse addresses virtual collaboration, immersive learning, virtual collaborative design, and AI training.
One of the reasons for the excitement around quantum computers is how they can scale for complex tasks like modeling. Real quantum computing is still a long way off. But the development of these computers is a process of evolution, and annealer technology is here already. It can shift tasks currently done as batches, such as scheduling and fleet movements, in real-time. The survey participants mentioned various interesting use cases grouped around route optimization, real-time matching of supply and demand, forecasting, and simulation.
In future dedicated blog posts, we will cover analytics and data management, IoT, AI/ML, blockchain, AR/VR, and quantum computing in more depth.
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