Artificial Intelligence Seen as Key Technology Game-Changer but Implementation Challenges Remain, Finds Frost & Sullivan
2020 is shaping up as a watershed year Frost & Sullivan for industries as the next wave of cognitive, automated, and immersive technologies change the way we do business. Never have we reached a stage of digital evolution where the focus on technology is at its sharpest. It is no longer just about technology disrupting the marketplace or digital transformation providing better products and services to customers. Instead, it is about the digital revolution and how we can exploit digital assets to ensure the long-term sustainability of our business as it evolves with these technologies.
As the impact of AI, 5G, Autonomous X, cognitive devices, and the virtualization of things advances across all sectors, businesses are at a crucial turning point on how to optimize the returns from their existing resources while embracing new business models to create greater value for customers.
Frost & Sullivan presented its annual Asia-Pacific ICT Outlook in Singapore on 14 January. Attended by over 60 senior management and C-suite executives, the event marks the start of an exciting year ahead for the industry.
Key analysts from Frost & Sullivan’s Digital Transformation practice presented their top predictions for the industry in 2020, covering areas such as cybersecurity, AI, digital payments, IoT, and 5G.
Cybersecurity as a Business Enabler
Mr. Jarad Carleton, Cybersecurity Global Program Leader, Frost & Sullivan, spoke on the continued relevance of cyber resilience in the technology space.
From a global perspective, cyber attacks have been increasing in severity and frequency over the past two years. In the long term, this can result in negative business impact and erosion of customer trust.
With numerous data breaches occurring in private enterprises and public institutions, customers are becoming increasingly aware of data privacy and demanding better protection. Enterprises must protect customers and their data, or face real consequences from customer churn in today’s hyper-competitive environment and government scrutiny as regulatory standards become more stringent.
Enterprises today are either underprepared or in a transition phase when it comes to cybersecurity. Budget is not always the determining factor in achieving security maturity. Understanding where security gaps are and how to invest a limited budget strategically is a critical factor in moving upwards in the security maturity continuum.
There is a need for enterprises to adopt a holistic cybersecurity approach, encompassing organization culture, technology tools and control, security operations, people, and cloud adoption.
Carlton said, “In summary, security maturity is not solely about technology, and we must look at organizational culture, processes, individual behaviors as well as our journey to the cloud to understand how to properly secure enterprises today.”
The Convergence of AI across Industries
Richard Wong, Vice President at Frost & Sullivan’s ICT Asia-Pacific Practice, expects AI to be the game-changing technology over the next decade. The exponential growth of big data is anticipated to contribute to the development of advanced AI applications. He noted that there is already pervasive adoption of AI across industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, retail, and the public sector. These early successes and AI implementations will further influence enterprises to examine how AI can enhance their competitiveness in today’s digital age.
Going forward, the journey and roadmap for AI are evolving, but numerous challenges remain. AI is one of the few technologies that require a multi-disciplinary approach, addressing areas such as sociology and philosophy to ensure success. The current state of AI is heavily reliant on data and hence, issues such as privacy, ethics, and governance are vital challenges that need to be addressed.
“Value creation from AI will remain a priority. It is important to note that any AI implementation should be outcome focused, leveraging the right data sets to create value,” noted Wong.
Growth Opportunities in Digital Payments
Ms. Quah Mei Lee, Associate Director, Telecoms and Payments Strategy, ICT at Frost & Sullivan, spoke on how the payments landscape is undergoing massive global-scale changes, driven by the evolution toward cashless societies.
From an enterprise perspective, integration of needs-based digital payments across industries will be a key catalyst for the conversion and adoption of payment solutions. For example, there are increasing efforts by companies in different industries to include digital payment methods as part of their portfolio.
She noted that the use of technology in payments would continue to increase moving forward as more data becomes available for analysis in real-time using the latest technologies such as AI.
“There is still an opportunity for enterprises to capitalize on gaps in the market when it comes to payment solutions for SMEs, seniors, and adoption of technologies within rural areas. Furthermore, the potential of B2B payments remains relatively untapped,” noted Quah.
IoT, Data Centers and Cloud – 2020: New Market Opportunities
Mr. Nishchal Khorana, Director, Emerging Technologies, Cloud & Data Center, ICT at Frost & Sullivan, discussed how building a connected enterprise is a key strategic focus area for organizations in the region as they aim to achieve sustainable growth and create differentiation.
While leveraging IoT to create new business models and revenue streams and driving operational efficiencies is becoming the pivot of digital transformation initiatives, maturing cloud ecosystems is enabling easier adoption of technology.
“In addition, enterprises will witness a significant transformation over the next few years in the technology landscape with convergence amongst cloud deployments and IoT technologies, creating new opportunities for ICT and data center providers. However, the monetization of these opportunities will also demand providers to invest in innovation, redefine their value proposition, and go-to-market strategies,” he added.
Leveraging Opportunities in 5G Enterprise Market for Growth
Amid the discussion on digital transformation, 5G is still at a nascent stage and focused on the consumer segment, although enterprise industry players are making an effort to identify industry use cases and monetization strategies for 5G.
Ms. Quah Mei Lee explained that due to its versatility, there are multiple possibilities for 5G to address selected needs within the industry. Players must relook at how innovation is driving value creation within use cases that leverage 5G, with the ultimate goal of boosting service performance and business efficiency.
However, it is imperative for relevant stakeholders to continuously reassess how they meet industry needs to tap into 5G’s potential. Sectors that have successful use cases driven by core requirements include healthcare, financial services, and manufacturing, she noted.