Wednesday, 12th August 2020

The fourth industrial revolution is gathering pace

“Industry is precisely at that tipping point where the physical environment of computing gives way to the virtual world of cloud and its associated enabling technologies”, Apay Obang-Oyway, Director of Cloud & Software, UK&I at Ingram Micro comments.

He continued: “This is not just in bold initiatives here, and ingenious transitions there, not just from pioneers within certain verticals, and visionary disruptors – but for every organisation, everywhere, in every industry”.

Research that Ingram Micro conducted in mid-2017 showed that 71% of organisations believed they would be embarking on a conversion of being digitally transformed within the organisations’ DNA by 2018. According to Apay, underpinning this entire revolution is the cloud, and it is without doubt the single most transformative element in this radical rethinking of the way we work, live and play every day. “I suggest that cloud is no longer a journey – a view that implies new departures and sometimes extended good-byes to all that went before – it’s where we are, where we have arrived,” he commented.

“We have reached our destination. We can consider ourselves in a place where agility, scalability and speed are no longer qualities we discuss with awe, expectation, and anticipation. They are just part of the fabric of what we are, the infrastructure of what we do, the platform from which we spring off and up into achievements that not many years ago were no more than dreams and aspirations,” Apay added.

He believes that humankind will look back on 2017 in particular as a year that “brought such acceleration to change, that we’ll very soon be looking back on it like one of those epoch-defining moments where we all remember exactly what we were doing when they happened.”

Apay continued: “There are four key elements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution that fuse together to ignite infinite possibilities we can view as a cohesive change in how we do things. I for one do not believe that the word ‘revolution’ is in any way an overclaim for this period we’re embarking upon. The exciting and fundamental factor in this revolution is being driven by the channel, and Ingram Micro continues to play an essential role in enabling partners to realise these opportunities.”

According to Apay, the four elements are:

  • The Internet of Things

There is an overwhelming amount of data being produced by a world that has over 8.3 billion connected devices, and the average UK household has an average of 8.3 connected devices.

We can do two things with the resultant data: we can ignore it, or just store it to satisfy regulators, or we can interact with it to get smarter at what we do, how we do it, and how well we deliver on our customers’ expectations and needs. Also, none of this can be done without artificial intelligence.

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Many organisations still have little understanding and those that do have inherent fears around AI, relating primarily around the security issues of AI-dependent networks. Yet AI is critical to the new world of the fourth revolution, especially in making sense of the vast volumes of data any organisation can take advantage of if it has the right tools to make sense of it securely.

These are ‘legacy fears’. They date back to before we knew how robust and secure the cloud can be. Such fears fail to embrace solutions which leverage the “shared security model” as well as understanding the value of Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service.

  • Automation

Far from reducing the demand for skilled labour, it will increase it. Automation is not about the invasion of the droids, the assumption of human characteristics by robots who we get to know and love.

It’s about making tedious processes faster and removing the human element to drive cost-effectiveness and to serve customers better. It’s a tool to embrace, not an entity to distrust.

  • Cloud Native verticals

We’ve been accustomed to seeing agile start-ups disrupting all types of businesses, while bigger players contend with legacy investments. An essential step in any digital transformation strategy has always been to migrate to the cloud or to deploy hybrid strategies, moving partly to the cloud and retaining critical operations down here in the physical sphere. Once again this is legacy thinking. There is value in “Cloud First” strategies in defining and empowering successful organisations.

The role of the myriad constituents of the channel is to augment Cloud, AI, IoT and BigData to create and accelerate organisational value in this fourth industrial revolution. These themes and content will be further explored at this year’s Ingram Micro UK Cloud Summit.

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