Internet and 5G will be the common factor for all disruptions
India’s retail sector, according to a NASSCOM report, has emerged as one of the most dynamically evolving, rapidly digitizing sectors, with the second-largest consumer base in the world. In 2020, the sector emerged as the world’s 5th largest market undergoing rapid digital transformation. The report also estimates that India’s retail sector is likely to become the second-largest consumer base in the world and touch up to USD1.5 trillion by FY2030.
This reflects the power of digital adaptability of the industry while overcoming the economic slowdown and pandemic. In the days to come, the internet and 5G will be the common factor for all technological disruptions — from offering ultra-low latency, low power internet of things (loT) features, and broad device connectivity, to delivering an integrated and personalized omnichannel and immersive experience, digital signage, video, and pattern recognition. Edge computing is another trend to look out for. The shift towards phygital world (the convergence of physical and digital space) through AR/VR unification supported by loT will provide an enriched experience to the customers. Intent-based networking will deploy artificial intelligence (Al) and machine learning (ML) to run workflows rendering superior intelligence for a faster and more agile network with error reduction.
Digital advancements coupled with the integration of emerging technologies such as Edge Al, ML, mixed reality have transformed the dynamics of the retail industry.
Reality have transformed the dynamics of the retail industry. Brands have moved to omnichannel retail with customer experience being the utmost priority. The face of e-commerce has been elevated with enhanced experiences such as smart fitting rooms, in-store navigations, and chatbots being introduced to the customers. Such features require high connectivity and ultra-low latency to provide a seamless experience. Here, the adoption of 5G will allow integration of next generation technology innovations with low to zero latency and bring in key enhancements to cloud computing.
With increased traffic and tonnes of privileged data on the cloud, ensuring a resilient and secured network across geographies is critical to defending the organization from any potential security breach. Data thefts being at an all time high since the onset of the pandemic, cybersecurity and reliability have become an important sector to be focused on for any cloud solutions provider. To ensure data protection standards are met, expert committees consisting of representatives of all applications integrated with a cloud hosted application can be formed by ClOs. Utility ClOs have robust security teams to confirm adhering to Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) reliability standards.
Managing the complexities
With technology disruption in the retail sector, businesses have been exposed to a wide pool of opportunities to tap and explore. The potential opportunity for technology providers lies in enabling a framework that can be customized and brings an abstraction layer for the enterprise to manage the complex network environment.
Application programming interfaces or APIs connect “things” and enable enterprises to collaborate and share information with other enterprises at a large scale with the help of digitization and the increased usage of software in our lives. APIs allow the abstraction of functionality between two systems and play an integral role in digital transformation.
APIs are growing in popularity and being adopted across sectors — retail, financial services, manufacturing, and healthcare. The need for data-driven, real-time, and seamless customer interaction is important to accelerate growth in the retail sector. APIs also offer vast opportunities to foster new business through ecosystems and newer ways to restructure an organization’s framework with the help of microservices. It can be used to build middle layers from multiple vendors and create customized solutions to enable seamless customer communication. This new capability introduces a potential business model and revenue stream which can be utilized by vendors and customers.
Log on to intent-based networking
Intent-based networking (IBN) is a form of network administration that incorporates Al, network orchestration, and ML to automate administrative tasks across a network. The goal of IBN is to reduce the complexity of creating, managing, and enforcing network policies and reduce the manual effort associated with traditional configuration management. For example, an IBN command may look like this: “Allow accounting applications to access server ABC, but do not allow manufacturing applications to access” (see IBN solution workflow).
IBN enables converged network infrastructure where all the distributed environments can be managed at the central location. Key pillars of the system include an end to end topological view, intent-based orchestration, root cause analysis for service assurance, self-remediation, and closed loop configuration.
This enables the infrastructure team to automate all their standard operating procedures for L1 And L2 tickets, as and out of box feature or customized change config approval workflow, henceforth reduces the operation overhead, scalability and enhances the end user experience. In fact, IBN is essential for loT systems, the environment that uses AR/ VR where ultra resiliency and reliability are the essential components. Retail and e-commerce companies should focus on private 5G with intent based networking to bring infrastructure stability and improve the productivity of the engineering team.
5G to drive the future
With the advent of next generation satellites, which will be built and integrated from 5G architecture, satellite communication will no longer work in silos. In the future, on-ground 5G infrastructure will be boosted and supported by satellites to offer seamless and wireless customer experience not only connecting big cities but tier 3 towns as well.
The retail and e-commerce segment has seen a significant transformation in customer demands and experiences over the last year. Shifting bases online has pushed 5G and the internet at the forefront of the technology disruption. According to recent reports, during the lockdown citizens spent 39% more time on their phones, and India is expected to have 966 million mobile users by 2023.
It may be apt to state that mobile and the internet have evolved to become left and right arms of an individual. With this, retailers are now looking at offering a personalized immersive experience while making inventory management and warehouse operations more efficient with the use of the internet and 5G connection. Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites ensure seamless, wide-scale coverage over a pre-defined geographical area due to low orbit that allows reducing latency. Companies are now moving towards replacing traditional fiber networks with all the satellites to deliver high-speed 5G network connections globally.