More and more enterprises are looking towards new technologies such as Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence, Edge Computing, Software Defined in their push towards digital transformation. However, technological challenges such as cybersecurity, disparate configurations, and application centricity still remain.
Frost & Sullivan presented its annual Asia-Pacific Industry Outlook at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore on 29 January. The event was attended by over 100 senior management and C-suite executives, marking the start of an exciting year ahead for the industry.
Key analysts from Frost & Sullivan Digital Transformation, Transformational Healthcare and Energy & Environment practice presented the top predictions for the industry in 2019.
Is digital transformation at the end of the beginning?
Ajay Sunder, VP at Frost & Sullivan’s ICT Asia-Pacific practice discussed data-driven technologies as the new catalyst as enterprises today move towards digital transformation. These include leveraging cloud, looking at Analytics as new revenue drivers while ensuring security remains relevant.
The strong mobile telecoms market in Asia-Pacific is also expected to boost this growth, with 4.16 billion subscribers in 2018, and is expected to grow to reach 4.58 billion by 2021, with CAGR (2017–2021) estimated at 3.1%. With this, 5G networks will be an enabler for smart city infrastructure as well as industries ranging from industrial, automotive and healthcare.
Sunder noted, “Digital Transformation is the value extraction for business functions using the digital ecosystem, leveraging new business models to impact the top line growth and bottom line efficiency of companies.”
Also, competition in the public cloud landscape is set to intensify with giants such as AliCloud and Azure becoming more aggressive in 2019. As decision-making evolves and most enterprises seek out hybrid cloud strategy, system integrators will emerge as key influencers in Asia-Pacific. New use cases for edge computing are also increasing, offering data processing advantages near the source.
IoT investments remain relevant in the digital transformation journey
Spike Choo, Director, ICT, Asia-Pacific spoke on the 4 most common myths surrounding the Internet of Things (IoT) and discusses how the ground has shifted using research from a recent enterprise study conducted in Singapore, Australia, and Hong Kong.
The results showed that IoT adoption and maturity is reaching mainstream status as adopters reported better-than-projected business outcomes across multiple business performance metrics.
Enterprises today will increasingly focus on IoT applications and cyber security which are high on importance but also harder to implement. However, the more digitally mature and IT-savvy an enterprise is, the greater the impact of IoT and digital transformation.
He added, “As enterprises adopt IoT, it is important to note that IoT should be outcome focuses and a data-driven approach is key to ensuring successful IoT outcomes. From the results of the study, enterprises surveyed have experienced improvement in overall business metrics of 12.1% after implementing IoT initiatives.”
New security reality is leading to heightened concern over privacy and security
With numerous data breaches occurring both to private enterprises and public institutions, customers are becoming increasingly aware of data privacy and are demanding for 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.
In spite of the frequent publicity of cyber attacks in the news, traditional attack methods such as phishing emails are still remarkably effective today. Beyond adopting new technology in an enterprise to bolster cybersecurity, organizations must remember not to neglect what is often the weakest link in the chain – the employee.
Enterprises are increasingly adopting cloud to help meet the needs of today’s digitally integrated customer. However many have misconceptions about the security responsibilities they hold as data owners. Enterprises need to be proactive and properly secure their data on the cloud.
Kenny Yeo, Industry Principal, Cyber Security, ICT noted that “Enterprises today need to adopt a holistic cybersecurity approach, with a focus on keeping their customer’s data safe. Customers today have high expectations of the services they use and will choose providers which best protect their data.”
Increased use of digital technologies to make the energy industry more competitive in 2019
While the oil price is expected to hover between US$60-70/barrel during 2019, the oil & gas majors are striving to make exploration and production viable well below this range, by increased adoption of digital technologies. The oil & gas industry is also taking head on two other megatrends namely transportation electrification and sustainability, by investing in distributed energy assets and also tapping into emerging opportunities in the mobility sector.
According to Ravi Krishnaswamy, Senior Vice President, Energy & Industrial, despite the drop in oil prices, overall investments in the oil & gas industry is likely to increase by over 8% in 2019, due to a strong growth of LNG sector and also urgent need to discover new reserves.
India and resurgent Australia are likely to lead Asia’s solar growth in 2019, with annual capacity additions forecast to double in these two markets. Vietnam and Bangladesh are two other countries to watch. Offshore wind and Energy Storage are two other areas where China is building significant domestic capacity, despite a late start.
“The transformation of the power industry will further accelerate in 2019, with the powerful combination of intermittent renewable, behind the meter storage and digitization of end-user assets including higher penetration of smart meters. Availability of real-time data and predictive analytics will bring several new business models like microgrid-as-service and virtual power plants, into the mainstream. In several countries regulators, will be forced to keep pace by developing or modifying their current policies, due to customer demand,” he explained.
Digitization and innovation the new drivers for healthcare in APAC in 2019
2019 is expected to be the year when Asia-Pacific truly transforms the healthcare industry with technology and innovation; presenting growth opportunities for vendors and healthcare providers with an innovative culture, noted SR Dinesh, VP, Transformational Health, Asia-Pacific.
The healthcare market in APAC is expected to grow at 7.2% in 2019 owing to the growth of smart hospitals, home care segment and medical tourism that increases the demand for technology, innovative healthcare programmes as well as drugs and high technology medical devices. The conventional growth drivers such as supportive government regulation and policies are also a major boost for projected market growth in APAC healthcare industry.
Emerging markets such as China, India, and ASEAN are expected to offer high growth opportunities across all segments. The Asia Pacific healthcare market is expected to grow to US$486.72 billion in 2019. For the region, healthcare challenges remain the same; access and affordability of new technology demand complex and innovative solutions from all industry stakeholders.
“We believe emerging trends in healthcare such as policy innovation, support for new business models and development of secure interoperable technology platforms will create growth opportunities for industry participants including pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, medical technology manufacturers, digital health vendors, and healthcare service providers,” he added.
Separately, topics such as the benefits, drawbacks and use cases of successful digital transformation journeys were also discussed as part of a panel discussion featuring industry leaders such as Vish Iyer, Vice President, Cisco Architectures, APJC, Bryan Spear, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Trilliant Holdings Inc. and Francis Prince Thangasamy, Vice President, Product Management, CenturyLink Singapore Pte Ltd.