Over the years, technology has been a major force in evolving our world. As each major technological advancement happens (e.g., cars, elevators, movies, TV, the Internet, the smart phone, etc.), we see society change to adopt technology. Whether this is increasing mobility, building up instead of out, or increased transmission of information, humans quickly adopt new technologies and use them to their advantage.
But, is the opposite true? Are our current needs driving the innovation we require to support our increasingly virtual world?
What Societal Shifts are Pushing the Virtual World?
With the introduction of social distancing, our society has been forced to move a tremendous amount of educational, professional and social activities to a complete or mostly online model. Classes, work, performances, parties, meetings and meet-ups—these activities are more often than not done from the comfort of home. And, while these activities keep us connected through the Internet using tools such as Zoom and Slack, they are also consuming vast amounts of streaming resources. BBC News reported that 2020 streaming was up 71% over 2019 with 12 Million people subscribing to new streaming services during lockdown.
While we all hope that this will be a temporary situation, we know it may last longer than we would like, with experts predicting impacts well through 2021 and beyond. And for some, while they don’t like the cause, they do like the effect and many are actually thriving in the virtual world. So, there is reason to believe that many will continue to embrace the lifestyle changes that 2020 has imposed.
How Must Businesses Adapt to Support the Shift to Virtual?
To succeed and keep the world economy from collapsing, businesses must adapt to the ever-changing situation we live in—and to a large extent, that means bringing everything online and ensuring business continuity and disaster recovery planning is up to date. For most organizations, information and content is the lifeblood of our business—whether that be information about customers or content that customers need or want. Around the world, vast numbers of employees have gone to a remote work model, and business infrastructures must accommodate collaboration throughout the organization, making sure data is accessible to those who need it. To compound that, those valuable employees now often have children at home to manage during the work day who are competing for bandwidth both for school and entertainment. So, how must technology evolve to keep up with society?
3 Ways Technology Must Evolve to Keep Up in 2020
Technology must continue evolving to support society, and, from my perspective, the three areas where technology providers must step up are bandwidth, rapid application customization and storage infrastructure.
With double-digit usage increases, we often see Zoom meetings glitch or the spinning wheel of death take over when trying to stream a video or view a site. While providers claim that they can handle the extra load on bandwidth, would that be true if every household had the technology they actually need to keep connected? About 10% of American households still lack an Internet connection, and according to UNESCO, just over half of households worldwide have an internet connection. Realistically, if you have to tell your family to stop their work or school so you can ensure your webinar goes smoothly, is your Internet service provider really “keeping up?”
Rapid Application Customization
Applications developed primarily for use in the corporate world have now been adopted by educational institutions. I spent a couple of evenings recently helping a friend learn the ins and outs of Zoom so he can teach music to college students. It became apparent to both of us quickly that the tool was not designed for classroom use. Imagine if you are using it to teach a class of 5-year olds, and have simultaneous demands to instruct both in-person and online students? We must have rapid application customization to modify existing tools so that they can help us educate our youth when social distance is mandated or preferred.
Data, data, and more data! Where is all that data we are generating going to live, and then how will we find it when we need it? And, how will we protect it in case of a disaster (natural or manmade)?
Luckily, the storage that is needed to keep up with data growth in this decade was pioneered 15 years ago with two companies at the forefront. One of those companies was Amazon, with the contribution of S3 cloud storage. The other was Caringo, which released its first content-addressable storage (CAS) solution in 2006. The Caringo Swarm Object Storage Solution is now market-hardened at release 11.3, and it is used by some of the largest government, high-performance computing (HPC) and media & entertainment companies in the world for S3-compatible on-prem, off-prem and hybrid storage solutions. You can read those success stories or learn more by watching our webinars. And, if you have questions, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.