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IT Infrastructure directions in 2022

Vivek Sharma, Managing Director – India, Lenovo Infrastructure Solutions Group suggests that IT infrastructure solutions in 2022, will be driven by their increasing impact on businesses.
 January 16 2022: The business and consumer landscapes have majorly evolved over the last two years, especially from the way consumers interacted with businesses to how organizations manage operations and deliver value in today’s remote environment. The acceleration in the adoption of digital technologies is a result of increased demand by businesses prioritizing streamlined operations, better speed to market, and seamless digital experiences for customers. According to Gartner estimates, worldwide IT spending is projected to grow to $4.5 Trillion in 2022, which is a 5.5% increase from 2021 - which is also said to be the highest YoY growth in the last decade. Moving forward in 2022, we will continue to see an accelerated rate of digitization and virtualization of business and society; and as digital continues to gain momentum, here are some top trends that we expect will  transform how businesses and consumers look at IT.  
Hybrid will lead in 2022
According to the LinkedIn Future of Work Survey1, 86% of Indian professionals believe that the hybrid work model will provide them with an opportunity to strike a perfect balance between their professional and personal life. Such flexibility in working, innovating, and collaborating from anywhere and on your own appropriate time is on the horizon of digital transformation. A unified experience in a hybrid work model commands an infrastructure that can seamlessly manage data, applications, and workloads between connected computing environments – hybrid cloud will provide businesses with this opportunity. A hybrid cloud approach enables businesses to combine several strengths and reduce complexities such as legacy system modernization, limited IT management support, capital expenditure implications, etc., to further deliver an optimum experience. 
How will the hybrid cloud help businesses in 2022?  
• Flexibility - Deployment of hybrid cloud will only accelerate workflows, strengthen workforce collaboration, and improve budget flexibility for further infrastructural investments. Such flexibility is known to improve efficiency, lower costs, and enhance business agility. 
• Interoperability – Hybrid cloud strategy offers interoperability across on-site and cloud infrastructures making work environments more reliable through multiple deployments and backups that will continue providing accessibility in case of obstacles.  
• Resource Optimization – A hybrid cloud strategy can help businesses continue leveraging their existing legacy systems by making their system and data accessible in the cloud through hybrid integration.  
• Security – According to a new report, 99% of Indian moved to use varied combinations of hybrid cloud amid the rise of cyberattacks in the country2. With hybrid cloud, organizations will be able to enhance data protection and security to de-risk businesses by helping mitigate security-related challenges attributed to cybercriminal activities. 
• Scalability – Moreover, with all the above benefits, hybrid cloud adoption will also ensure business scalability by opening doors to access unlimited resources to grow operations and infrastructure while capitalizing on, and integrating with  existing infrastructure, thereby also enabling cost-effectiveness. 
Understanding unified strength of IoT, Edge, and AI  
Data as we say is the new currency and ITDMs are the new bankers. With the number of IoT devices expected to reach 2 billion by the end of 20213, the multiplying volume of datasets becomes limitless which makes it critical for businesses to have real time insights and take accurate decisions. What continues to be an added challenge for many enterprises is that the data generated at remote locations has to travel to the core data center or the cloud for processing. Data latency affects business operations and thus performance. Having an edge server eliminates the need for data to travel and aided by AI ensures faster and real-time intelligence. 
How will businesses benefit from IoT Edge processing? 
Improved Performance - Besides collecting and transmitting to the cloud, processing data at the edge will bring better analytics capabilities allowing businesses to receive technical data that is already optimized for better consumption, and as per the business requirements. 
Reduced OpEx - As processing at the edge would help businesses acquire limited volumes of useful datasets, enhanced computing power at the edge will significantly improve delivery time, further reducing the cost implications of additional bandwidth and latency-related investments that are otherwise essential. 
Add Value to Data – Despite having access to a large volume of datasets, only a few businesses can draw true value from it. Valuable data can be extracted only when businesses can bring datasets together and understand patterns that help draw intelligent insights – and AI at the Edge can help businesses achieve that. Enhanced computing power at the edge will allow businesses to use AI capabilities to process data smartly, thereby allowing intelligent data to flow into the system. In fact, from Lenovo’s ThinkEdge portfolio, the GPU -rich server is designed to accelerate business-critical insights. The SE450 server delivers performance and scalability at the edge while enabling edge AI solutions for retail, manufacturing, smart city, and telecom through a vast partner ecosystem  
How will these technologies impact industry verticals? 
Impact on Banking & Financial Services – Many organizations in the industry are actively transforming their businesses, going beyond just selling services to creating a better experience for their customers. There are two major factors of good experiences – seamless financial transactions and enhanced information delivery and access capabilities. With technological advancements in customer service, FinTech companies can combine IoT and AI to offer new and improved services such as on-premise assistance, enabling smart gadgets and wearables to settle transactions within accounts and at vendors, use smart-devices for authentication, etc. Moreover, traditional banks that are competing with Fintech companies can make use of smart solutions to optimize the customer experience. The deluge of data being collected from IoT devices can be processed at the Edge using AI to leverage real-time insights, offering an opportunity to personalize experiences for any type of customer. For instance, using AI to enable chatbots to provide banking services.  Banks can also use AI to personalize banking over apps and also offer products and services based upon user app behavior.  
Impact on Retail & E-commerce –Better online shopping experience is largely driving business continuity these days, and again, at the core of understanding how to bridge any gaps between a retail business and its customer is to understand their shopping journey. With IoT, Edge, and AI working together, and retailers will be able to enhance operational efficiency and several other touchpoints of the shopping experience, enabling retailers to provide better shopping experiences and build loyalty. Take on-floor management, for instance, retailers can move from traditional store layouts to efficient product placement to pair different types of products that are often bought together, making shopping quicker. On the other hand, besides using real-time insights to monitor and replenish on-shelve stock, retailers can identify foot traffic and strategically promote the specific products in that in-store hotspot.  
Impact on Manufacturing & Production – Industry 4.0 introduced concepts such as predictive maintenance, condition based/precision monitoring, and control, which have become necessities for all manufacturers. Now with ongoing discussions around Industry 5.0 that induces closer collaboration amongst machines & humans, it can only be possible with smarter infrastructure solutions. IoT, Edge and AI will help businesses with real-time fault predictions, build breakdown strategies, reduce capital expenditures, enable real-time precision decision making that enables smart factories.