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We see three key digitalisation trends as we head into 2023: increased awareness of the environmental impact of digital experience design; a more holistic approach to sustainability; and stronger data security for API-connected architectures underpinning digital experiences.
Does online activity cost the earth?
In January, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists reported that global carbon dioxide emissions hit a record high in 2022. It has been calculated that the IT industry already adds 3-4% of global CO2 emissions. This is predicted to increase to 14% by 2040.
The energy consumed to power and cool servers and byproducts including electronic waste, heat and CO2 from datacentres are now under greater scrutiny.
Every click consumes energy. Online video streaming alone is estimated to account for 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions. As people become aware of the need to reduce the environmental impact of online activities, organisations are being driven to adopt greener solutions and behaviours. This will affect the way that future digital experiences are designed.
Andy Eva-Dale, Technical Director at digital agency, Tangent, comments: “Every http request uses energy. The good news is that digital experience designers can help to reduce this impact. In 2023 we’ll see more organisations adopting sustainable digital design practices such as asset bundling and optimising images to reduce their size, improve load speeds and lower energy consumption.”
We are seeing organisations take a holistic approach to sustainability that avoids waste and creates profitability without this being to the detriment of society, employees and the planet.
Anders Holt, CEO of digital agency, Novicell, predicts that this sustainable approach will change how digital experiences are designed and delivered, “Instead of trying to serve customers from a single solution that’s expensive and slow to update, in 2023 we’ll see more organisations using a combination of specialised component solutions that directly meet current business needs and which can be more quickly and economically replaced as customer requirements change.”
Andy Eva-Dale agrees, commenting, “Sustainability also extends to considering how we might reuse common code and reference architectures, rather than duplicating developers’ efforts and squandering scarce resources. Adopting a composable approach to digital experience development allows API-connected technologies to be swapped in and out, rather than ripping and replacing an entire platform. Extending the life of digital experience platforms by adding in lighter-weight technologies that precisely meet business needs and avoid the organisation paying expensive license fees for unnecessary features, is more likely to win over the C-suite too.”
Data protection is a key priority as more information is processed and transferred within these API-connected architectures. This has spurred migration to public cloud-services that provide enterprise-grade security, 24/7 monitoring and automated upgrades.
With increased adoption of cloud-based platforms, we anticipate further demand for data sovereignty to provide customers with reassurance that data is stored within their own borders and protected by their local jurisdiction.
We saw this when we added a US regional hosting option in September 2022 to support companies that are developing projects on Umbraco Cloud. A growing number of digital agency partners told us that they also need to ensure that UK citizens’ data is stored on servers located in the UK. The UK regional hosting option was added in February 2023.
Steve Gale, chief commercial officer at full-service digital agency, CTI Digital, believes that data sovereignty also contributes to sustainability, stating, “UK regional hosting will make it possible for organisations to choose Umbraco Cloud for scenarios where using a UK datacentre is an absolute requirement. From a commercial perspective, UK regional hosting will also make projects more efficient, easier to manage, and more profitable for agencies.”
Composable Architecture Adoption
Mark Lusted, CEO of digital experience agency, MagiClick, predicts that recent legislation will shape the way that digital experiences are designed and delivered: “The EU Digital Market Act looks to be a game-changing piece of legislation which will force the major players in technology to break open their “walled gardens” in 2023. This has major implications for all companies designing and building digital experiences.
CMS vendors will need to adapt the privacy and interoperability features of their platforms and I believe these changes further strengthen the case to move in the direction of composable digital experience platforms, as composable architecture affords much more flexibility to adapt and choose components which best fit the new legislative requirements.”
As an open-source company, we are constantly seeking better ways to solve the world’s problems together. Regional hosting in Europe, US and UK and the launch of Umbraco Marketplace, where partners can find technologies that easily integrate with and extend our CMS, are just some of the ways that we’ve enhanced efficiency in recent months. Heading into 2023, we will continue to support organisations as they seek to design secure digital experiences in a more sustainable way.