Mobile devices are a critical part of modern society, playing a role in how people communicate with each other personally and professionally, how they accomplish tasks personally and professionally, and how they remain productive on the go. Remote work is now a bigger part of the picture thanks to COVID-19, and mobile-device security should be a focus for both individuals and enterprises that rely on mobile devices, which are consumer devices at their core, for productivity.
For the second year, Cisco’s annual event, Cisco Live!, was virtual. The event wrapped up last week, leaving a lot on the table for the industry to digest. Chuck Robbins, Cisco’s chairman and CEO, pointed to it being a unique moment in history—a moment that’s shaping the future. Robbins says technology is foundational to this future. With the innovations announced at Cisco’s event, Robbins said, “Our customers around the world will not only be able to connect, secure, and automate the future of IT, but also leverage technology to truly power an inclusive future for all.”
The semiconductor space is experiencing upheaval. Demand for chips is high, and the industry is recovering from supply chain issues that plagued it during 2020. Internationally, China’s efforts to become a leader in the semiconductor space are putting pressure on other firms, but not in a good way. In the U.S., things are changing too. In July 2020, after former Intel CEO Bob Swan announced a product delay, Nvidia surpassed Intel as the largest chipmaker in the U.S. (according to market cap values) for the first time. Intel has spent a lot of time in the top spot, jockeying at times for the position with chipmakers like Qualcomm, which announced in January it would acquire chip startup Nuvia. Also in January, Intel replaced Bob Swan with Pat Gelsinger as CEO, supposedly after being pressured to do so.
Increasingly, the need to offer products and services based on up-to-date, or, in some cases, even realtime data is imperative in industries like manufacturing, retail, healthcare, and insurance. Analytics and AI (artificial intelligence) technologies offer a much more accurate and granular look at various metrics that help businesses make decisions about their products, services, and customers. In the insurance space, there’s a drive to adopt predictive analytics and data analytics that can enable more accurate customer experiences and reduce fraud. This is due not only to the big-picture trend toward digital transformation but also to the specific need to compete with insurtech startup firms. In many cases, these startups were founded on the premise of using these technologies to differentiate themselves from the “big dogs” in the space.
As our world becomes more connected, businesses are also becoming more reliant on IoT (Internet of Things) connectivity. This is especially the case where the applications to be connected are business critical. The challenge is it can be difficult to manage IoT connectivity in the field.
While much of the world is still talking about the deadly COVID-19 virus and all the effects of a global pandemic, the ITIF (Information Technology and Innovation Foundation) is persistently committed to spreading the word about a different kind of threat—not a health threat, but one that could stifle innovation in the U.S. technology sector and beyond. The ITIF’s latest report examines the impact of China’s mercantilist strategies on the global semiconductor industry. How worried should the tech space be about China’s efforts to, as the CSIS (Center for Strategic and Intl. Studies) puts it, “pursue semiconductor independence”? How are China’s state-directed efforts to vault into a leadership position in the semiconductor industry affecting Moore’s Law?
The COVID-19 pandemic and global health crisis that began in 2020 shed light on several supply-chain issues, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities. Ideally, during a crisis, the U.S. would be able to rise to the occasion, shifting gears quickly and efficiently to ensure that whatever resources are in short supply—whether it’s toilet paper, food, medicine, or something else—make their way into the hands of those in need. Unfortunately, at the beginning of the pandemic, this wasn’t the case. It became clear that, in general, supply chains in the U.S. weren’t quite as flexible and agile as they needed to be. And now, the White House is looking to create systemic change that could strengthen U.S. supply chains and prevent similar situations from happening again.
We can all agree 2020 left the market with many questions for 5G. One question is how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the progress of 5G, if at all. A recent Verizon report demonstrates that business technology decisionmakers are more confident in 5G and poised to take advantage of it than ever before. Another new report, this one from Spirent Communications, suggests 5G’s future has “never been brighter.” Are these invested companies contributing to the 5G hype cycle, or are they just calling it like it is?
Like it or not, VoIP—voice over internet protocol—may soon be the only business phone choice. Connectivity is paramount in today’s business environment—especially as many workers in a variety of industries continue to work under unique circumstances. But connectivity doesn’t always come just in sensors and smartphones.
It’s been said repeatedly that 5G is one of the biggest market opportunities in the next decade, but an unclear roadmap has been a hurdle up to this point. Is this still the case going into 2021? At CES, 2021 was heralded as the year of transition from readiness and availability of 5G. But, then again, 2020 was predicted by many to be the year of 5G, but now that the year is over, it’s safe to say 2020 will be known for other things. New research provides a glimpse into how business technology decisionmakers and their companies are positioned toward 5G in the wake of all that happened in 2020.