February 14, 2019

Q&A: Dell Technologies 2019 predictions

Publisher: Digital Journal

We've all heard of the important 'emerging technologies': Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Internet of Things (IoT) and advances in cloud computing, and may have implemented some of them. But what is the real impact of these technological innovations? What are the drivers for change? And how will these technologies alter the way businesses operate and affect our day-to-day lives?

To find out, Digital Journal spoke with Kevin Connolly, President of Dell EMC, Commercial. Dell EMC is a part of Dell Technologies. The division enables organizations to modernize, automate and transform their data center using industry-leading converged infrastructure, servers, storage and data protection technologies.

Digital Journal: How fast is the pace of technological innovation now compared to a year ago?

Kevin Connolly: We've worked with machines for centuries, but these partnerships will be more interwoven into our day-to-day lives and more immersive than ever before. As technology's power multiplies 10 times every five years, our reliance on machines will increase. Emerging technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Internet of Things (IoT) and advances in cloud computing, to name a few, will accelerate and augment this digital direction. In this 'transform or die' landscape, the decisions that businesses make today will become the basis for tomorrow. In fact, these partnerships are already in motion, and quickly proliferating in our connected cars, business and banking transactions.

DJ: What will the world in 2030 look like?

Connolly: To help organizations better prepare, Dell has released their 2019 predictions, bringing us one step closer to 2030, the next era of human-machine partnerships and a society where we will be immersed in smart living, intelligent work, and a frictionless economy. Dell predicts that by 2030, human-machine partnerships will become deeper, richer and more immersive than ever before, helping us surpass our own limitations. These machines, fueled by exponential increases in data, processing power and connectivity will open-up new possibilities, beyond our grasp today. Given the prospect of unprecedented human progress, the pace of change today and the risk of falling behind, Dell recently surveyed 3,800 business leaders from around the world to gauge their predictions and preparedness for the future. The research findings show that businesses are split by divergent views of the future. For instance, 50 percent of business leaders agree that automated systems will free-up their time, and more than two in five believe they'll have more job satisfaction by offloading the tasks that they don't want to do to intelligent machines. In some respects, you can understand why the business community is so polarized. There seems to be two extreme perspectives about the future: the anxiety-driven issue of human obsolescence or the optimistic view that technology will solve our greatest social problems.

DJ: What are the major stepping stones towards the 2030 model?

Connolly: Dell teamed up with the Institute for the Future (IFTF) to forecast 10-15 years into the future and explore how emerging technologies such as VR, AR and cloud computing will transform our world. Along with 20 luminaries, IFTF forecasted that we're entering the next era of human-machine partnerships. Business leaders agree - we're entering the next era of human-machine partnerships, but they're torn by what this means for them, their business and the world at large. We can see this division in the way that leaders forecast the future. Leaders are struggling with the pace of change. They're not moving fast enough or going deep enough to overcome common barriers to operating as a successful digital business.

DJ: Looking at businesses, how big is virtual assistance set to become?

Connolly: We believe virtual assistance will become a pervasive technology that will move beyond consumer technology and follow us to the workplace. Our PCs and devices we use every day will continue to learn from our habits and proactively boot up with the right apps and services at the right time. Advances in natural language processing and voice technologies will create a more productive dialogue with machines, while automation and robotics will create faster, more fluid collaboration with technology to get more done. And with augmented and virtual reality applications creating on- and off-site immersive experiences, people will have access to the data they need to do work whenever, wherever they are.

DJ: What will be the impact of 5G on companies?

Connolly: The first 5G devices are slated to hit the market sometime next year with the much-anticipated next-generation network that promises to completely change the data game in terms of speed and accessibility. Low-latency, high-bandwidth networks mean more connected things, cars and systems - and a boat load of AI, Machine Learning and Compute happening at the edge, because that's where all the data will be generated. It won't be long before we begin to see micro-hubs lining our streets - mini data centers if you will - that will also give rise to new "smart" opportunities for real-time insights happening on the corner of your street. Cities and towns will become more connected than ever, paving the way for smart cities and digital infrastructure that we predict will be thriving in 2030. And it'll be a game changer for industries like healthcare or manufacturing, where data and information being generated out in the field can be quickly processed and analyzed in real time - versus having to travel back and forth to a cloud - and then readily shared with those who need it. The reality is that 5G will have a significant impact on companies.

DJ: How will data analytics advance?

Connolly: Organizations have been stockpiling big data for years. In fact, it's predicted that by 2020, the data volume will reach 44 Trillion gigabytes, or 44 Zettabytes. That's a lot of data. Soon they'll finally put it to work as Digital transformation takes shape. As they derive more value from that data - with insights driving new innovations and more efficient business processes - more investments will be born out of the technology sector. New startups will emerge to tackle the bigger challenges that make AI a reality: data management and federated analytics where insights can be driven from virtually everywhere, and data compliance solutions for a safer, smarter way to deliver amazing outcomes.

DJ: How will multi-cloud environments affect business operations?

Connolly: Last year we predicted the arrival of the Mega Cloud - a variety of clouds that make up a powerhouse operating model as IT strategies require both public and private clouds. So far that's holding true. The public vs. private cloud debate will continue to wane as organizations realize that they need to effectively manage all the different types of data they'll be processing. A recent IDC survey pointed to more than 80% of respondents repatriating data back to on-premise private clouds - and we can expect that trend to continue, even with projections for public cloud growth. Multi-cloud environments will drive automation, AI and ML processing into high gear because they give organizations the ability to manage, move and process data where and when they need to. In fact, we'll see more clouds pop up as data becomes increasingly distributed - at the edge in autonomous car environments or in smart factories, in cloud-native apps, in protected on-prem centers to meet a host of new compliance and privacy standards and of course, the public cloud for a variety of apps and services that we use every day.

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