These are the crucial trends for 2021 and into the future
2020 was the year that put us all in our homes, forced everything from business boards to governments to change its business model and citizen care overnight. Digital transformation became not a “nice to have”, but a necessity to survive.
Governments had to soften legislation to operate in virtual mode. They learned to legislate and follow legal proceedings. Hospitals adopted telemedicine by modifying existing offerings to adapt to the experience of patients not accustomed to dealing with technology. Schools changed their curriculums to be effective in confinement.
Logistics companies had to move from B2B to B2C models. Businesses, in general, had to enable e-commerce, digital marketing, omnichannel, among other digital strategies. The user experience became THE success factor.
In short, digital transformation in Latin America and the technologies that enable it accelerated. Here I share six trends that we see crucial for 2021 and into the future.
1 Closing the digital divide
Secure connectivity allowed them to continue thousands of businesses, bring education to the homes of students, remote experts advising manufacturing sites with augmented reality. Perhaps the most relevant, from Sao Paulo to Guayaquil to Mexico City, telemedicine services and mobile hospitals were created to address the emergency.
Well, if you had connectivity, although more than 70% of the population in urban areas has Internet access, the World Bank estimates that only 37% of the population in rural Latin America has it. This caused the digital divide to widen, leaving out the digital economy the people who need it most.
That’s why technologies like 5G and WiFi 6 become more relevant, being able to bring broadband to sites where implementing fiber optics has prohibitive costs. PwC estimates that bringing the internet to people who are not yet connected could add $6.7 million to the global economy and pull 500 million out of poverty.
5G and WiFi 6 are complementary technologies; the first is better positioned for open areas and fixed wide broadband. The second is best suited for factories, stadiums, convention centers, hot spots, etc. Although you already have some 5G pilots in the region, we still have to finish taking advantage of 4G, and the evolution to 5G will be progressive and will take some time. On the other hand, WiFi 6 side is already available on the market, and to expand its coverage. It is only enough to open the 6 GHz band. On the continent, the United States and Chile have already released the spectrum, while Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru are in the process of being consulted and hopefully will take their resolutions in the coming months.
- If you want to delve into how technology can achieve an inclusive future for everyone, I recommend our latest report. Cisco Inclusive Future Report 2020
2 Promoting experience (and safety) with sensors
Although digital sensors have long been used in manufacturing and other industries, the proliferation of sensors closer to the user in cell phones, computers, wearables, cameras, etc., is undeniable. We will see how health sensors for consumers rise to a medical degree thus helping the disaggregation of health services. The world of sport will use sensors both for the protection of athletes and to give more drama to the show, fatigue sensors will make cities like Santiago and Mexico safer.
For people returning to their workplace, data-driven sensor analysis will help us have safer, healthier and more productive environments. Cameras with analytics will allow to put sanitary filters, combining it with wireless location services and collaboration platforms can ensure that the capacity of common areas is not saturated or underutilized and at the same time monitor temperature, humidity, air quality, light and send proactive recommendations.
- 96% of companies can provide a better working environment using technology for Cisco Global Workforce Survey smart workspaces
3 Keys to the future: Applications enabled with agility and resilience
Restrictions during the early months of the pandemic forced organizations to adapt quickly. Using cloud technologies helped create this business agility, although we see an increase in encrypted web traffic; speed created security gaps. For medium and small enterprises, it represented access to technologies generally reserved for large business budgets.
After a few months, business applications crucial to the business had become disaggregated and highly distributed monsters, difficult to maintain and fix. An excess of information that made it difficult for them to connect technology with their business implications. Both employees and customers, more mobile and remote.
This creates a need to make sense of data and business. We will then see an adoption of AI technologies that support moving from traditional monitoring to data correlation assistance and business metrics in order to maintain agile applications.
- 75% of CIOs want to have better analysis of their business, Latin America shows greater need with 82% in the 6 largest countries. Cisco 2020 Global Networking Trends Report
4 From customer experience to brand enthusiasm
The explosive growth of cell phones and smart devices has transformed the way we interact with the world. Mobile apps are available for shopping, banking, learning, and personal health. They have recently been used as sensors to detect infection outbreaks and the evolution of the pandemic. Both the public and private sectors have found in mobile applications a way to connect with their users that we could not have imagined a few years ago. Today also many business processes are also running on these applications.
In a world where your competition’s app is just a click away, you want your technology to be unimpeachable. More advanced apps enable a more personal relationship with better attention spans. This requires the ability to turn mountains of real-time information from the network into actionable revelations in record time. Companies that achieve these capabilities will even move from automation to proactive actions that surprise their customers with solutions before problems happen. It’s this combination of intelligent and immersive personalization that will transform the customer satisfaction experience into a deep, active, exciting and above all, loyal relationship.
Last year they were formed from the north to the south, several groups of entrepreneurs seeking to share knowledge and best practices to achieve the digital transformation of their companies. One of the strategies mentioned as the most desirable and difficult to implement correctly is omnichannel, even for those who already have digital marketing. The use of contact centers born with omnichannel and native digital technologies, machine learning and analytics, will make a big difference versus those that simply added the digital part to the traditional voice contact center.
- “Delighting the customer is more important than their simple satisfaction” is what 80% of CIOs think in the 6 largest countries in Latin America. Cisco 2021 CIO and ITDM Trends Pulse Localized Data
5 Identity and a future without passwords
Mobility, distributed work, the use of cloud solutions have effectively brought great benefits to scale. But with this it is also true that the attack zone has grown; we have seen a 600% increase in cyberattacks with never-before-seen sophistication. If anything good has brought this to Latin America, it’s that it’s finally caught the attention of CEOs, financiers, risk managers, and security is being discussed on the board, not the IT department.
Recent attacks like Astaroth designed to attack Brazilian citizens and avoid detection by both public and private cyber intelligence teams, share a home network with your family and be alone at home, away from the IT department, brings with it great security challenges. Lost or stolen credentials remain a common cause of success in attacks.
There is no longer a castle to defend with a bridge and a moat (the firewall or fire-cutting), the perimeter of the company has been lost, the new perimeter is identity. To counter this, zero-trust emerged from trusting nothing, or anyone else, as well as SASE, an architecture where the network (SD-WAN) converges with cloud and security.
Platforms, industry groups, and security vendors are working towards a password-free future, where biometric technologies play a key role. Companies will have to work for this paradigm shift and do so securely, safeguarding not only security but the privacy of biometric data; that these are kept on the relevant devices, without transmitting sensitive information over the network, even if it is encrypted.
- 80% of mobile devices used for working have biometrics configured, an increase of 12% in the last five years. 2020 Duo Trusted Access Report
- 39% of respondents said they were “on board” with zero-trust, while another 38% say “to be working in that direction” Cisco 2021 Security Outcomes Study
6 Consumption models for the technologies you need
For a long time, there was only one way to consume “the full enchilada” technology, you bought the full set of SW features regardless of whether you used 90 or 2%. This model has evolved, especially with software as a service that enables organizations to pay for the capabilities and capabilities they need today, with the ability to easily scale to more complete packages with great agility and demand.
Whether you’re using a model on your premises or in the cloud, there are more flexible service licensing options, pay-as-you-consume business contracts every day, and you’re not stuck in perpetual licenses in a Capex model.
- Switching to pay-as-you-consume makes it easier to predict costs and better manage information technology spending. 95% of Brazilian CIOs and 94% of Mexicans agreed that it is important for their companies. -Cisco 2021 CIO and IT Decision Makers Trends Pulse