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After 15 years of steady growth, public attention on cloud computing exploded during 2020’s Coronavirus outbreaks. Companies that had already adopted flexible, cloud-based processes during recent years faced these harsh times with more confidence. Others raced to adopt cloud technologies to enable remote working.
During the last and present year, the use of cloud computing technologies has exploded. Across the world, millions of users started to use cloud-based platforms to collaborate, shop online, and entertain themselves. From its outlook on international ICT markets, Reply observed that cloud-related technologies are the key to moving boldly on reacting and restarting activities.
Source: teknowlogy Group (2020)
Looking at Italian, German, French, Dutch and Belgian markets as a ‘Europe-5’ cluster investment in public cloud technologies is forecast to grow, the estimations by the end of 2021 are for growth of at least 50% vs. 2019.
In the ‘Big-5’ cluster of US, UK, Brazilian, Chinese and Indian markets, total IT services are expected to recover by the end of 2021 and for cloud computing Markets a strong growth is forecasted, up to +55% vs. 2019.
Despite Coronavirus pandemics shrunk the general ICT budgets, investments and consumption of Cloud Computing services confirmed their growing trend, and they’ll expand furthermore in next years. Expenditure for cloud computing services will keep growing even in a troubled global economy.
Reply used its proprietary platform SONAR Trend Platform to spot relevant trends on the cloud market, based on their occurrence within expert media articles, mass media, patents, scientific publications, and worldwide websites.
Emerging technologies like AI, augmented reality and virtual reality, the Internet of Things, and quantum computing are increasingly becoming part of the cloud providers’ repertoire.
As adoption of cloud-native development and infrastructure increases, a strong trend from businesses towards hybrid multi-cloud strategies can be recognized, connecting public clouds to other public clouds and on-site workloads.
Automation tools and cloud management platforms incorporating AI will be tackling the challenge of managing complex multi-cloud environments.
Cloud technology is democratising artificial intelligence such as deep learning, machine learning, robotic process automation, language and vision recognition through more and more AI as a Service applications.
Cloud AI platforms are making intelligence applications usable for smaller businesses on a larger scale, optimising business processes or advancing customer experiences.
After the hype surrounding IBM unveiling the first quantum computer for business usage last year, companies including Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Intel have been demonstrating progress in quantum research and attempts to commercialise quantum services through the cloud.
As big data volumes explode and business use cases for fast and high processing power are constantly increasing, cloud providers are adding high-performance computing (HPC) to their cloud services.
Seeing cloud as a critical component of digital transformation, cloud-native computing – deploying applications as microservices packaged in containers and dynamically orchestrating them across platforms – is the strongest wave of digital disruption in the cloud environment.
Cloud automation & orchestration is mainly driven by the rising popularity of Kubernetes, as well as cloud providers introducing these services to achieve compatibility across hybrid environments.
Edge computing as a relevant part of the OT (Operational Technology) market will grow fast in the next five years. Within the infrastructure market, it’s evident that cloud computing will rule both the Europe-5 and Big-5 cluster, while edge computing will be a fast-growing area in the next 5 years. Germany will be the biggest European market for both cloud computing and edge computing with a growth of 28% (2025 vs 2020). Looking at the Big-5 cluster, figures are forecast to grow for both the public/private hosted cloud and OT infrastructure & edge markets, with an impressive increase up to 60% (2025 vs 2020) in the USA.
Edge computing offers clear advantages if low latency, connectivity, security, privacy and the transmitted data volumes are an issue. The trade-offs are relatively high initial costs and maintenance overheads. On the other side of the scale is cloud computing, where initial costs and maintenance overheads are moderate, but latency, connectivity, and the transmitted data volumes with associated costs can be an issue.
Edge cloud, distributed cloud, and mobile edge computing are hybrid service models that are obtaining relevant investments from hyperscalers and Telco, to answer to a growing interest from the market. Edge cloud sees compute units on-site and dedicated for low latency and high bandwidth, matched with the advantages of a managed environment public cloud-like. Distributed cloud and mobile edge computing are promoted by Telcos in order to offer to customers low latency and new services based on optic fibre and forthcoming 5G networks.
We collected the most interesting experiences from our Customers and from Reply Partners about designing and adopting architectures that involve edge computing, cloud edge and distributed cloud, often combined with cloud computing.
Deutsche Telekom is working with Reply to develop the Access 4.0 programme, which takes advantage of open source to create a scalable solution making the control, management, and operation of networks more scalable, flexible and economically sustainable. It promises to eliminate the dependence on ‘closed’ hardware and software vendors, thus contributing to significant savings.
GKN and Reply are working on a digital twin that will provide interfaces capable of ‘communicating’ with all phases of a production process and pave the way for an effective industrial automation system. This innovation, which has the potential to radically change the design, production, sales and maintenance of complex products in multiple sectors, is being made possible by edge computing.
E-commerce continues to grow at a rapid pace and to keep up with it, leading Italian delivery company Nexive has used new technology solutions to evolve their service, including swapping manual sorting in their warehouses for robot sorters, working on an edge computing solution. Thanks to these innovations, Nexive will be able to save up to 30% of sorting costs.
International voice, data and multimedia services specialist Sparkle is developing an intelligent and distributed infrastructure based on their network of fibre-optic cables and data centres across 34 countries. Aiming to improve the customer experience and be closer to its customer base physically, the Sparkle team are pursuing a model they call ‘pay as you grow’: an economic scalability model capable of adapting to real business needs.
Today, being cloud-native is the new norm. Even in traditionalist industries like banking and insurance, the design of architectures not involving cloud technologies is now strongly challenged. In addition, a wide range of use cases can be drawn from edge computing applications across different industries.
IoT technologies enable manufacturing companies to monitor and analyse equipment. However, different systems use different ‘languages’, making data hard to process. Cluster Reply’s unique solution to this challenge, Factor Control Tower, uses a brand-agnostic operating model. It enables companies to remotely monitor and manage their equipment and use the generated data to make informed production and efficiency decisions.
Brick Reply, specialising in advanced solutions for manufacturing operation management, has launched a new app based on its proprietary cloud-based suite. Using simulation and artificial intelligence technologies, Shop-floor Digital Twin enables factory staff to take proactive action to correct abnormal situations before they lead to production problems or stoppages.
By offering a new way to identify use cases and scale IIoT solutions, customers are able to stay ahead of the technological innovation cycle, generating substantial added value for their business and helping to gain competitive advantage.
The Internet of Things and edge computing are key to enabling utilities providers to manage the complex, heterogeneous systems that generate, distribute and store our energy. Sense Reply is helping utilities customers revolutionise their business models and create new business capabilities by implementing edge components, IoT and big data platforms.
With 30 different photovoltaic plants to manage, located in eight different Italian regions, one of the European leading renewable energy groups decided to implement an IoT and edge computing-based solution. Working with Concept Reply, the group has developed an intelligent system that provides detailed information on production and reliability, enabling them to optimise service from the plants and avoid possible disruptions.
While cloud computing will keep growing up to becoming the ultimate standard in ICT architectures, edge computing is the new area where Cloud providers, Telco, and service providers are focusing their innovation investments. At Reply, we believe that edge computing in all its flavours will be an amazing enabler for companies interested in operational efficiency.