Shoaib Yousuf, Partner at Boston Consulting Group, says serverless cloud computing will have a big part to play in the broader trend across cloud
What trends do you foresee for Cloud Computing in 2022?
Cloudification is happening with the public as well as private cloud and is both a technology and a business transformation strategy. The trends that will define the space in 2022 include:
- The demand and adoption of the cloud are forecast to increase, with global spending on cloud services expected to reach over $482 billion in 2022, up from $313 billion in 2020 as the effects of COVID-19 linger and businesses look to lay a foundation for increased agility and resilience.
- Companies are increasingly thinking about advancing their sustainability initiatives using technology as a major accelerant. There is a growing understanding of the need to reduce energy needs and costs associated with running cloud storage 24/7. Many organizations will spend 2022 implementing measures and innovations aimed at helping them achieve their net-zero carbon aspirations.
- Cloud is happening in the hybrid arena. A hybrid cloud is a combination of public and private, which
normally sees an organization use infrastructure on their premises, a private cloud, combined with a public cloud. Under a hybrid cloud setup, data and applications are able to move between the two environments. A hybrid cloud approach can streamline the user experience and allow them to use just one cloud provider, rather than using multiple providers.
- Cloud computing plays a key role in the deliverance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) services. Strong trends in AI will see “creative” algorithms – generative machine learning that can create anything from art to synthetic data to train more AIs – as well as language modeling – increasing the accuracy with machines can understand human languages. Machine learning platforms require huge processing power and data bandwidth for training and processing data, and cloud datacentres make this available for all.
What sort of benefits does cloud computing bring to eCommerce stores and e-tailers?
Done effectively, moving to the cloud can unlock significant benefits in business agility and deliver more productive, high-performing, and cost-effective technology assets. E-Commerce has allowed businesses to spread across cities, countries and even continents – a cloud-based e-commerce platform allows entrepreneurs to manage an extensive network of clients, customers, and business partners.
Cloud computing allows instant and simple access to greater capacity and stronger computer power, as well as increased storage, making it a good solution for both customers and e-retailers. Cloud-based e-commerce applications not only offer all-time accessibility but also significantly cut down the costs, allowing new innovations easy entry into the tech space. Additionally, the scalability allowed by cloud computing applications allows for relative elasticity, allowing you to control how much you can use up, depending on seasonality, growth projections, and so on.
Development and deployment of services and functionality also speed up dramatically on the cloud. In addition, the cloud can reduce risk by improving data resilience, security monitoring, and user access. In fact, having high-quality, built-in redundancy within the cloud platform helps you guard your data from loss while staying backed up and often times can be updated in real-time.
Is edge computing helping shape up the cloud computing industry as a whole?
Edge computing accelerates the ability of companies to become bionic by giving them access to massive data sets, many of them related to human activity, and the means to understand this information in new ways through AI. The evolution of edge technology is seen as a way to cover the shortcomings of cloud technology, especially in environments where real-time, split-second data is imperative.
The overall IoT market is expected to continue its strong growth, doubling from 2019 to 2024 and driving significant growth in the edge IoT market. As more uses cases and new technologies emerge, we expect the edge to grow by 35% annually and the top edge use cases to represent over 20% of the IoT market in 2024, compared with less than 10% in 2019.
Most current use cases depend on computation and storage capabilities in or close to the device that increases speed or reduces dependency on connectivity. Accordingly, the device edge and the premise edge currently make up about 75% of the market. Beyond 2024, as 5G and other advanced networks roll out, we expect growth in the access edge and the metro edge to accelerate.
Do you believe serverless functions have a big part to play in creating new user experiences?
Serverless computing is also known as “functions as a service” (FaaS), and serverless cloud computing will have a big part to play in the broader trend across the cloud and the entire tech landscape of creating new user experiences that make innovation more accessible. Compared to a physical on-premise infrastructure where the server is close to you, a serverless ecosystem will ensure that the application is delivered globally anywhere depending on the service provider’s presence.
This allows you to serve customers who can be in any corner of the globe easily, with a consistent customer experience where response time is negligible, as user action will be transacted on the nearest serverless node. Serverless computing ensures time-saving in terms of planning and deploying compute, storage, and network resources, which can allow companies to improve their application features, wholly improving the customer experience and ensuring repeat visits from the customer.
It also allows cost-savings as the running costs of streaming on serverless clouds represent a fraction of those running a data center. Finally, IT hardware becomes redundant with serverless computing, allowing organizations to become greener because it is consuming less energy – further enabling companies to achieve their carbon-neutral targets.
Will combining AI with cloud services enable organizations to get the most out of both applications in a cost-effective way?
Businesses worldwide are striving to boost their performance by extracting valuable insights from data, crafting the right competitive strategies, and maximizing efficiency in their mission-critical processes. To achieve this, they must become bionic companies by combining Artificial Intelligence with human intelligence to strengthen their decision-making prowess. That will empower informed decision-making and produce measurable business outcomes.
The application of AI software based on machine learning (ML) algorithms in cloud environments deliver intuitive and connected experiences for customers and users. The cloud can provide a massive amount of computational power to allow the processing of large sets of data used to train the algorithm.
Chatbots are AI-powered solutions that carry out conversations with customers. Cloud platforms store and process the data captured by chatbots and cloud services connect them to the appropriate applications for further processing. Customer data is also fed back into the chatbot application that resides in the cloud. Further, generic services based on AI but not necessarily requiring an ML model – such as speech to text, analytics, and visualization – can be improved by running them from the cloud using first-party data generated by the organization.
Business Intelligence is another mainstream application where AI is used to gather data on the market, target audience, and competitors of customers. The cloud facilitates the storage and transfer of data while the AI runs it through predictive analytics models.
With Metaverse becoming the “keyword” for 2022, do you believe the cloud has a major role to play here? What opportunities exist for both vendors and channel partners?
Also known as Extended Reality (XR) — the metaverse combines cloud technology and other Web 3.0 technologies to blend augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality to create a host of digital and physical experiences. The technology is already in use by real estate and architecture firms, who offered virtual views during the pandemic. It also has exciting applications in the world of gaming, shopping, entertainment and even performing surgery. On the other hand, governments are also leveraging XR technologies to create smarter and more resilient cities.