AI for value creation, Edge computing and ‘greening’ of networks expected to top enterprise tech leaders’ agendas over next 12 months
Colt Technology Services, the digital infrastructure company, today shared key enterprise technology trends and forecasts for 2024. Based on proprietary research and industry intelligence, Colt expects practical applications of AI; network ‘greening’ and edge computing to top global enterprise tech leaders’ agendas over the next 12 months.
Mirko Voltolini, VP – Innovation, Colt Technology Services said, “AI will spread its wings in 2024: creating deeper value across the organisation; driving Edge and transforming business operations. We expect to see digital sovereignty talked about more widely as organisations stay on top of local regulatory requirements and look for deeper levels of security to protect their data against risk.” He continued, “2024 will bring us exciting new digital services, platforms and applications, supported by smart technologies and flexible digital infrastructure; and it will see us accelerate the march towards sustainable, responsible network infrastructure”.
1: AI for value creation
Businesses will explore the wider application of AI for value creation over the next 12 months, according to research Colt carried out for its Digital Infrastructure Report. Almost one in two (46%) plan to use AI to improve the Customer Experience; the same percentage (46%) for staff training; 45% to drive Sales, and the same for Risk Management; and 44% for Marketing, for Operations and to boost their digital infrastructure. PWC’s Global Digital Trust Insights study found almost seven in ten (69%) plan to use AI for cyber defence. Colt anticipates that the use of enterprise-sensitive datasets for AI models training will drive the adoption of dedicated, private enterprise AI deployments.
2: Application-driven edge: the rise of the smart, data driven Enterprise
Vast amounts of data are already processed at the edge, with use cases generally across industrial, medical and commercial sectors as it integrates with cloud and reduces latency. In 2024, Colt expects to see growth in the number of Edge-located applications. This growth will be exponential, accelerated by the adoption of AI in combination with smart technologies such as IoT and immersive Extended Reality (XR).
3: Network as a Service
Network as a Service, consumption-based infrastructure, On Demand connectivity – whatever your preferred nomenclature, the ability to use digital infrastructure as and when you need it is the perfect fit for 2024 and beyond, saving costs, reducing unnecessary energy emissions and supporting businesses’ need to flex with ever-changing market dynamics. Colt’s research found that one in five (20%) say it’s absolutely essential to their business, and almost 9 in 10 (89%) of survey respondents who have aspects of intelligent digital infrastructure are already using – or plan to use – On Demand connectivity.
4: Growth in SD WAN and SASE
SD WAN and SASE will continue to generate growth into 2024 and beyond. Global SD WAN connected sites are expected to reach around 7.5 million by the end of 2028 (roughly double site numbers in 2023), according to the Global SD WAN and SASE forecast from Matt Small and Catherine Hammond at Analysys Mason. The same report anticipates SASE will account for 17% of combined SD WAN and cloud security spending, generating US$21 billion by 2028 (up from USD$4.5 billion in 2023).
5: Private Wireless Networking
With enterprises aiming to develop a closer integration between their IT stack and their Operational Technologies (OT) environment, Colt anticipates that indoor network communication requirements will become more demanding in terms of throughput, latency and quality of service at application level. The adoption of AI and smart technologies such as IoT and immersive XR will drive the deployment of private wireless 5G networking solution in enterprise business and operational facilities.
6: Infrastructure Sovereignty
With the current geopolitical challenges; stringent data regulatory compliance requirements; the increase in security threats; and the expected future needs for enterprise to manage large amount of private sensitive data, driven by the adoption of AI technology, Colt anticipates that the need for a sovereign infrastructure capability will emerge. This will apply to both data at rest and in motion, driving cloud infrastructure as well as network sovereignty requirements.
7: Security – particularly Zero Trust
Security remains the highest priority for more than one in two (53%) of the IT leaders Colt spoke to in its study of 1100 across 12 countries. PWC’s study found the number of businesses experiencing a data breach costing them more than US$1m increased by a third, year over year, rising from 27% in 2022 to 36% in 2023. As businesses look to reduce their attack surfaces, more are looking to zero trust, and Colt expects this to continue over the next 12 months.
8: ‘Greening’ networks
2024 will see the tech enterprise held accountable for its targets around ESG, driven partly by new rules from the European Parliament to crack down on ‘greenwashing’. With carbon emissions from the ICT industry expected to exceed emissions generated by the travel industry, telcos have a responsibility to build powerful, next-generation digital networks with minimal environmental impact through reducing scope 3 emissions to using sustainable energy resources, refurbished hardware components and incorporating end-of-life processes which promote circular economy principles.
Colt expects to see regulatory consultation and reform across different markets to boost the circular economy in 2024: the legislation on waste from electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) was adopted in 2002 and its last major update was over 11 years ago, in 2012. The tech industry must address this at the buying stage, with more information about the repairability, recyclability and embedded component emissions of the equipment purchased.
9: A rise in M&A activity in the telecoms industry
After a slowdown influenced by the uncertain geopolitical landscape in 2023, M&A activity is expected to pick up in 2024 fuelled by rapid growth in AI, continued cloud migration and the evolution of organisations’ digital transformation programmes. Tech firms must scale to support customers’ diverse requirements, and expanding their portfolios with new capabilities will help them compete and grow.
10: The CEO as Chief Culture Officer
As tech looks for new ways to solve the talent shortage in 2024, culture will move up the agenda to a critical success factor and differentiator. Businesses will look to the CEO as Chief Culture Officer: The CEO must be invested in role modelling culture and businesses will look to the CEO as Chief Culture Officer.
About Colt Technology Services
Colt Technology Services (Colt) is a global digital infrastructure company which creates extraordinary connections to help businesses succeed. Powered by amazing people and like-minded partners, Colt is driven by its purpose: to put the power of the digital universe in the hands of its customers, wherever, whenever and however they choose.
Since 1992, Colt has set itself apart through its deep commitment to its customers, growing from its heritage in the City of London to a global business spanning 38 countries, with over 6,000 employees and more than 80 offices around the world. Colt’s customers benefit from expansive digital infrastructure connecting 32,000 buildings across 230 cities, more than 50 Metropolitan Area Networks and 230 Points of Presence across Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and North America’s largest business hubs.
Privately owned, Colt is one of the most financially sound companies in the sector. Obsessed with delivering industry-leading customer experience, Colt is guided by its dedication to customer innovation, by its values and its responsibility to its customers, partners, people and the planet.