The implications of 5G for the technology landscape in Hong Kong

November 26, 2020 09:27
A modern data experience, whereby data is easily accessible, commutable, and delivered where it is needed instantly, is only possible without technical silos. Photo: Pure Storage

2020 is a year of changes, especially from a technology perspective. The lockdowns around the world have created the world’s largest remote work experiment. According to a recent research by recruitment and HR services provider Randstad Hong Kong, 89% of employees in Hong Kong have experienced flexible working arrangements, like work-from-home, in response to the pandemic. Companies are expanding their investment in technologies, such as virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), web conferencing, and network security to accelerate their digital transformation plans as the world comes to terms with employees working remotely and supporting customers virtually.

Given the obvious shift in demand for online applications and the acceleration of digital transformation, a number of service providers in Hong Kong launched 5G services, the fifth generation of broadband cellular technology, earlier this year. Every technological change in history is led by a big innovation, the implications of 5G change our means of communications and enable the new technologies and use cases with a ten times performance boost of the Internet. This opens up a whole realm of possibilities for applications, such as AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality). The Hong Kong SAR Government encourages businesses to deploy 5G technology to foster innovation and smart city applications, and various mobile phone giants also start featuring their product by including support for 5G cellular networks.

This will also result in a disruption in how the software will be built. Software development takes a quantum leap, and enterprises transit their architectures from mainframe to client-server and then to cloud. Software developers are building applications, such as cloud computing, containers, and microservices, faster than ever. This velocity is set to accelerate as hardware development kicks into a new gear, and we may take GPUs as one of the examples. Traditional hardware, like central processing unit (CPU) architectures, is no longer applicable, and industries moved forward to graphics processing units (GPUs) to cope with more performance demanding applications.

Beyond spurring development in software and hardware, 5G accelerates innovation in a host of use cases, such as Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous vehicles, drones, industrial automation, and healthcare. According to a study commissioned by Qualcomm, IHS Markit, by 2035, 5G technology will enable more than $13.2 trillion of global economic output. For example, IoT, where billions of physical devices around the world are connected to the Internet, will see another round of exponential growth as connecting these devices to 5G becomes a lot easier, and autonomous vehicles’ sensors will transmit information more reliably to cars and grid through the robust network. The implications create a snowball effect to the economy and industry.

With the advanced systems and technologies, the Big Data world is going to inject volumes of data that the human mind will not be able to fathom. IDC predicts that the world’s data will grow to 175 zettabytes in 2025, which IT infrastructure and Chief Information Officers (CIOs) need to take a fresh look at their strategies to cooperate with this tremendous change. Keeping legacy silos of data that are not readily accessible is like bringing a knife to a gunfight. A modern data experience, whereby data is easily accessible, commutable, and delivered where it is needed instantly, is only possible without technical silos.

Every cloud has its silver lining. Although the world struggles to overcome the pandemic, it is the time to innovate and unleash opportunities. 5G service in Hong Kong will definitely become an enabler of even greater innovation across all aspects of our lives.

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Country Manager, Hong Kong & Macau, Pure Storage