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Mobility, cloud key to development

Quick adaptation to new trend could mean opportunity for Thai IT firms

Mobility is the fundamental factor changing change the paradigm of information technology, experts say. Enterprises have to shift from client-server architecture to the client-cloud concept, meaning major changes in both the software industry and business models.

This year, critical transformations in the IT environment will include applications, infrastructure and backup capabilities.

Mobility a game changer

Manoo Ordeedolchest, honorary president of the Association of Thai ICT Industry (ATCI), said changes towards heightened mobility and the cloud opened opportunities for Thailand's software industry. Mobility is the key factor changing the way people use technology, which in turn affects the way IT is designed and developed as well as the way business provides services.

Software applications will need to be redesigned to accommodate the client-cloud concept. This will lead to the new ways of doing business and open new windows of opportunity for Thailand's software industry.

"Behind the client-cloud concept, mobility and connectivity are the key fundamental factors that connect people, anywhere at any time on any device. It changes people into active consumers who require better service and better prices along with variety," Manoo said.

Such businesses as banking, telecommunications, healthcare and insurance have started to adopt the client-cloud business model by offering services based on cloud technology. Therefore, the software industry needs to change the way it designs and produces what it provides to customers.

Software needs to be designed and developed under the software-oriented-architecture (SOA) concept rather than client-server architecture. Security and service-level agreements (SLAs) will become the main concerns.

Manoo predicted that the software industry's existing model, mainly based on client-server architecture, would disappear eventually. A new chapter is beginning. This can be either a threat or an opportunity for the Thai software industry - it depends how quickly software developers recognise this trend and prepare themselves to catch up with it.

"This new chapter of technology provides a huge opportunity for software business since it requires low investment costs, it can be quickly developed and, importantly, it is in huge demand in the market, not [just] locally but globally," Manoo said.

Cloud and BYOD

Thanachart Numnonda, president of the IMC Institute, which specialises in ICT market research and training, said the cloud and big data were the two main technologies that would transform the business of information and communications technology. This year, IT businesses in Thailand will move to the public cloud, requiring a change in IT skill sets, which are in highly demand for security, networking, and SLAs.

"More IT providers in Thailand this year will move to offering services under the cloud model rather than the licensing model. IT people will not lost their jobs but will have to adjust their mindsets to align with the cloud model. It needs a cloud-ready skill set," Thanachart said.

Thanachart added that "bring your own device" (BYOD) would also play an important role in the enterprise IT landscape this year. The massive growth of smartphone and tablet use in Thailand will add to the BYOD phenomenon and affect organisations' security.

"We will see a lot more enterprises issue policies on the use of mobile devices, since BYOD is becoming a threat to organisations' data security," he said.

According to International Data Corporation (IDC) Thailand, last year 1.25 million units of BYOD were allowed with no formal policy in place.

Similarly, Adrian De Luca, chief technology officer of Hitachi Data Systems Asia-Pacific, said organisations would transform their IT departments from technology implementers to business innovators. Enterprises with high-demand IT infrastructure and application services will start exploring the cloud model.

When it comes time to refresh technology, the focus will be on applications and business outcomes rather than the infrastructure itself. Enterprises will start turning to their system integrators, internal IT organisations, or third-party service providers to play the role of cloud-service broker.

Moreover, business organisations will use cloud deployments as an opportunity to transform their legacy IT to new consumption-based IT models. Many will start with the deployment of on-premise private clouds. Other organisations that are more advanced in their cloud journey will begin to move their enterprise applications off premises to cloud service providers, together with on-premise converged platforms.

Therefore, the data-centre industry will continue to grow as countries in the region compete to become the digital hub of Asia. Service providers will invest in state-of-the-art facilities and advanced infrastructure to differentiate their services.

The Internet is expanding beyond personal computers and mobile devices into enterprise assets such as field equipment, and consumer items such as cars and televisions. Virtualisation and cloud-based services form a large part of this transformational journey.

Big data on track

According to Intel, there could be about 15 billion Internet-connected devices operating in the next few years. The biggest questions are where the data will go when these devices connect and the best way to make use of that information. This will prompt a whole industry to grow around predictive analysis and raw data. Big data will help make companies smarter and more progressive and give them a business advantage. Governments will soon follow.

Meanwhile, De Luca also predicted that big data was one of the key technology trends emerging in the Asia-Pacific region this year that will affect the use of technology among organisations.

"Big data, cloud, and data encryption are some of the hottest global IT trends. As a region, Asia-Pacific has its own unique economic and infrastructure conditions. We believe these wider technology trends will combine with local business drivers to shape the IT and storage landscape in this region in 2014," he said.

US data-storage specialist EMC recently conducted a survey that also confirmed big data as a business priority. Big data is being seen as giving rise to markedly improved decision-making and is having a significant impact on companies' competitive differentiation and ability to avert risk across the Asia-Pacific region.

In the survey, 83 per cent of businesses in this region said better uses of big data would lead to better decision-making and 68 per cent believed that big data would be a key factor in determining winners and losers in their industry.

This year will also see rapid increases in emerging technologies such as human augmentation, speech-to-speech translation, augmented reality, gesture control and wearable user interfaces. It will also see the emergence of a whole new sector for home entertainment. As more and more TV shows, movies and content are created for mobile devices, the media industry is undergoing a massive change across the globe.


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