How Digital Businesses Can Capitalize on New Transformative Technologies 

30 August 2019 |  Matt Gutierrez, Senior Managing Director, CenturyLink Asia Pacific 

Explore how enterprises can tap on the rise of transformative technologies such as AI, IoT and 5G and turn them into strategic advantages to build their digital business. 

Across industries, change is afoot. In Asia Pacific (APAC), leading banking and financial services institutions (BFSIs) are pivoting to the latest artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain solutions to transform business processes. Smart city infrastructure, powered by data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT), can help to improve road traffic and public safety management. And soon, the rollout of 5G networks promises to ramp up digital transformation initiatives.

This momentum is already gathering pace among Asia’s largest economies. China's AI sector has attracted the most funding worldwide, accounting for 60% of all global investment over the past five years1. Japan and South Korea are expected to leapfrog global counterparts in 5G deployments2.

Discover how connectivity, cloud and security solutions are empowering digital businesses to innovate faster 

Rewriting the rules of digital engagement 

As the latest AI, IoT and 5G technologies converge, they unleash transformative capabilities for digital businesses to foster innovation and accelerate the rollout of new digital services. For instance, the combination of AI capabilities with the massive capacity and low-latency connectivity of 5G networks would enhance the real-time analysis of data collected from IoT sensor networks.

Now let us take a closer look at how these transformative technologies—underpinned by intelligent, secure and adaptive networks—can empower enterprises to unlock new digital capabilities and meet evolving customer expectations. 

Unleashing the transformative impact of AI

AI and machine learning are seeing increased enterprise adoption to transform legacy processes and enhance customer engagement.  A survey conducted by consulting firm Protiviti found that businesses in APAC are leveraging advanced AI faster than companies in the rest of the world; 43% of APAC firms said AI is important to their business future3.

The greatest advantage of AI lies in its ability to process and analyze vast amounts of data in real time, enabling businesses to make faster and more-informed decisions. By deploying the right AI solutions, companies can also automate routine processes to boost productivity and operational efficiencies. 

Retail companies, banking and financial services firms and healthcare providers are spearheading AI adoption.

In the BFSI sector, early adopters include banks which have deployed AI-augmented chatbots—technologies that use natural language to mirror human service—to improve customer experiences and even launch new digital services.

For example, Singapore-based DBS Bank successfully ventured into developing Southeast Asia's first bank-led retail chatbot for food and beverage (F&B) merchants, leveraging machine learning capabilities that allow the chatbot to become 'smarter' with each transaction4.

Unlocking business value via IoT 

To realize their digital business ambitions, companies need to acquire, analyze and act on their data-and a competitive advantage is the speed at which they are achieving this. IoT-enabled technologies are key to empowering enterprises with unprecedented visibility and insights into their business to drive operational excellence and achieve significant cost savings.
In ASEAN, McKinsey estimates that IoT in the manufacturing sector can generate savings of up to US$3.7 trillion5 per year by 2025.

Consider some of the Industry 4.0 developments that are taking shape in the manufacturing sector. Manufacturing enterprises worldwide are using advanced data analytics and IoT to make their facilities smarter, safer and more efficient. Real business value from IoT depends on the integration, management and analytics of IoT sensor data required to distill game-changing insights.

A trailblazer in this field is the iconic motorcycle brand Harley Davidson. Having invested in a fully IoT-enabled plant—and connecting key processes and devices across its complex manufacturing operations on a single network—the manufacturer was able to minimize production downtime and reduce operating costs by $200 million6.

Embracing 5G to keep pace with changing requirements

Looking ahead, future 5G deployments will further pave the way for enterprises to support even more applications and industry use cases. 
With its faster speed and lower latency, 5G networks will provide the foundations for enterprises to run their businesses more efficiently and launch new applications.

Take the future of autonomous vehicles as a case-in-point. According to Intel7, an autonomous vehicle will produce around 40 TBs of data per day—each requiring instant data processing and response to maintain vehicle safety and communicate with other vehicles. Self-driving cars also need to gather insights from numerous IoT sensors that track everything from digital street signs to traffic lights.

Coupled with the advanced decision-making capabilities of AI at the network edge, 5G networks will enable cars to process these massive amounts of data in real-time. As a result, passengers in self-driving vehicles will be able to navigate the roads more effectively than ever thought possible.

3 critical success factors for digital businesses

In a future environment defined by AI, IoT and 5G, data workloads and applications are the currency that will drive your digital business forward. And the evolution of your network is critical to how you turn these emerging technologies into strategic advantages.

Here are 3 success factors to consider for your network strategy: 

1. Intelligent, adaptive network capabilities

5G networks and the IoT are poised to create large amounts of data through sensors and connected devices embedded in a variety of settings: from vast industrial environments to smart cities. Having a robust, scalable network infrastructure that can adapt to your evolving needs and seamlessly move data securely between billions of IoT devices and edge locations is critical to support your business ambitions.

2. Agile IT infrastructure 

When your business needs to deliver new applications or services at speed, you need the IT agility to make it happen. Most digital businesses have started to embrace the flexibility of multiple hybrid cloud environments to unlock greater agility. But as new architectures are being introduced to support emerging technologies, you need to craft and implement a well-defined multicloud strategy to manage increased complexities.
See how CenturyLink’s cloud solutions helped auto company Visteon become more responsive

3. Connected security

With the IoT momentum driving smart city developments across APAC, security threats will only grow in term of scale and sophistication. Traditional approaches to cybersecurity will no longer be sufficient. A key attribute of every successful digital business is the ability to proactively monitor, detect and address new threats. This can be achieved by using the network as a threat sensor and combining it with security intelligence that is constantly evolving and in step with your expanding network perimeter. 
Ready to take the next leap to achieve your digital business vision? Get in touch with us for a deeper conversation on how CenturyLink can support you on the next wave of transformative technologies today.  

1 China's AI industry gets the most funding, but lags the US in key talent, Jul 2018
2 Japanese and South Korean Operators Global Leaders in 5G Readiness, says Juniper Research, Nov 2018 
3 Protiviti, Competing in the Cognitive Age, Feb 2019
4 DBS makes foray into chat commerce with "Foodster", Southeast Asia's first bank-led retail chatbot, Oct 2018 
5 Mckinsey&Company, Industry 4.0: Reinvigorating ASEAN Manufacturing for the Future, Feb 2018
6 Capgemini, Unlocking the business value of IoT in operations, Jun 2019
7 Intel, Just one autonomous car will use 4,000 GB of data/day, Dec 2016

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