"Customers prioritize new AI, security, wireless tech for productivity and operational efficiency"

By Debika Bhattacharya

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The COVID-19 pandemic taught us invaluable lessons about what we can accomplish remotely and digitally at work. Now, gladly a few years removed from lockdown, we’re seeing many of those lessons manifest as operational-improvement opportunities for businesses of all sizes.

Consider the technology used for most hybrid-work models: The core technologies enabling hybrid work – cloud, video conferencing, etc. – were in place long before lockdown. It was the lockdown that compelled companies to invest in them like never before and build operational models that leverage these tools to support remote work en masse, as part of a full digital transformation. COVID-19 both accelerated the transformation timeline and expanded its scope, going beyond teleconference tech into security, AI and advanced wireless networking.

In 2024, the time is perfect for businesses to follow through on the digital transformation they were thrust into during the pandemic, using their recent technological growth to take advantage of new data solutions and improve their operations. I predict that wireless, cloud-based, and other advanced networking tools will help give rise to new disruptive technologies like Generative AI, creating space for new growth opportunities.This combination of pandemic-era adaptation and new network and data innovations will shape how businesses serve their various stakeholders in the coming years.

Technology trends to keep an eye on in 2024

Coming out of a transitional year that saw everything from the proliferation of AI to a surge in widespread cybersecurity hacks, business leaders can expect to see three major trends come to the forefront in 2024 in driving innovation across industries:

  1. Increased development of embedded security products: Security-first products are more important than ever as cybercriminals are using more and newer types of attacks to steal data. While the most effective cybersecurity plans comprise both employee training and embedded security technology, the growing sophistication and volume of hacking attempts puts more pressure on product developers to improve the resiliency, intelligence, and coverage of embedded security products.

  2. Greater adoption of wireless technology: Wireless is poised to become a true full-scale alternative for broadband as a successful hybrid work model requires fast, reliable internet service with high bandwidth and large capacity from nearly anywhere. Increasingly, fixed wireless access, IoT, 5G mobility, and purpose-built 5G device sets will solve for this, providing broadband level service without the placement restrictions associated with traditional wireline. Plus, with inflationary pressures posing a greater challenge, businesses will need to make extra careful decisions around optimizing cash flow and capital expenses. These decisions are made easier with affordable product solutions that are easy to deploy, like 5G Business Internet for example.

  3. Enhanced use of AI: As AI continues to evolve, we’ll see greater adoption in big and small ways, such as more intelligent virtual assistants, improved omnichannel experiences, and accelerated content creation. Both Traditional AI and Generative AI tools will proliferate, becoming increasingly embedded into businesses’ data networks. Traditional AI tools will parse and operationalize data troves more efficiently and effectively than ever before, and Generative AI will help take these data processes a step further, helping build next-step action plans and, in some cases, even executing against those actions. Enterprise-grade data networks will be instrumental in these processes.

Hybrid work remains a priority.

Further to the trends above, the hybrid work paradigm will continue to evolve, with flexible-work demands continuing to drive the adoption and evolution of hybrid work solutions for businesses of all sizes. According to the State of Small Business Survey, more than a quarter (27%) of small to midsize business owners and decision makers have implemented new systems to allow for remote collaboration in the past year. Meanwhile, enterprise IT decision makers that have already been leveraging such systems point to the benefits of hybrid work, including reduced costs, increased productivity, and greater employee choice and happiness. These benefits were cited in a 2022 global Frost & Sullivan survey which found that more than 72% of IT/telecom decision makers report that more than one-fourth of their employees will work remotely, part or full time, in two years.

In 2024, the impacts of these shifts in workplace habits will be more prominent than ever. Organizations that once could operate off of a simple cloud solution will soon need a multi cloud network to properly manage a widely distributed workforce leveraging extremely powerful new data tools to handle operations across multiple locations.

New year, new growth

Businesses that pay attention to emerging digital transformation trends will continue to unlock use cases, revenue streams and market opportunities in the new year. From Generative AI to embedded security, customers will find the most new and exciting opportunities when they go outside of their comfort zone to explore what the latest innovative technologies have to offer. How businesses balance adaptation and innovation will help drive operational success in the years to come.

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