By Paul Routledge, Country Manager, D-Link UK&I
1. A new meaning of professional and more permanent WFH solutions
After so long working from home and following government guidelines, workers across Europe are now realising that a ‘short stint’ working from home has become more long-term. Into 2021 and beyond, we will, of course, see increased business investment in implementing more robust solutions that allow IT departments to have greater oversight of a company’s network either on-premise or in employee homes, enabling more control and visibility.
According to Gartner, more than one-third of European professionals will remain remote full-time. Working from home and hybrid working will therefore require a more formalised structure, which in turn, will require better connectivity and increased security. Instead of relying on standard home Wi-Fi or 4G dongles, for example, businesses should consider providing employees with a business-grade router, for a secure VPN connection to the office. This will allow employees to enjoy better connectivity, adding to a new meaning to what it means to be professional.
2. More investment in infrastructure and less in real estate
The significance of the workplace has changed over the last year; and as we move into 2021 businesses will need to decide what kind of workplace they want to create, as new and existing businesses emerge from the pandemic. It is likely that many businesses will reduce their physical office size, requiring only a handful of employees to gather onsite at one time, while others will connect virtually. This will require investment in updated infrastructure and better remote management. A key way in which this will be made possible is through remote management systems, such as Nuclias Cloud, which enable simple set up as well as remote management and oversight of any network issues.
3. Bringing security back to the agenda
At the beginning of the pandemic, in an effort to ensure business continuity, network security was forced to take somewhat of a back seat. Yet, in the coming year, as many employees will continue to be required or choose to work flexibly between home and the office, businesses will have to evaluate their security vulnerabilities to protect themselves from existing and evolving threats. The cost of a cyber-attack in the current climate would prove detrimental to business.
Where IT managers were previously required to manage one office network, they now effectively have to manage hundreds of home offices and thousands of devices. Relying on home Wi-Fi moving forward will only increase the risk of a cyber-attack; as such, businesses will benefit from investing in cloud infrastructure as a service as well as and making the most of edge computing and VPN services to ensure a secure and reliable connection.
4. 5G and Wi-Fi 6
We will see significant uptake in Wi-Fi 6, which provides unprecedented capacity and speeds to power smart homes. However, this will also bring in to focus the need for consumers to update existing systems so that they can benefit from new technology. With 5G kicking in, people will have the freedom to connect from anywhere, providing more flexibility when it comes to work but also more connectivity options between traditional wired and new cellular services.
5G will make connecting to the internet simpler as it doesn’t require a physical connection to central infrastructure as well as line rental costs. The adoption of these technologies will also result in more of a converged market place for service providers and telecommunications companies, which in the long run should drive prices down, making quality internet connection cheaper and more accessible.
5. Supply-chains will recover with the help of technology
The pandemic has created a number of supply-chain issues across a number of business functions, particularly manufacturing. These businesses will be under more pressure to catch-up and regain capacity as paid-for projects will need to see completion.
Despite news of a vaccine being rolled out, businesses will need to invest in technology and facilities to ensure employee safety, whether through track and trace technology, or the introduction of thermal cameras. Not only to ensure operations continue but also to ensure better protection and reduced liability for their employees, many of which are essential workers who deliver the necessary manpower.
6. Smart cities will keep developing
The building of Smart Cities will continue into the New Year, with the implementation of new technologies taking place subtly over time. These changes will focus on allowing local governments more control to centrally manage facilities. For example, plans to replace ageing sodium powered lampposts with new ones capable of using new digital LED lights, will result in lower energy consumption, a better quality of light, less light pollution as well as the ability to leverage the infrastructure for other purposes such as air quality monitoring or public Wi-Fi points. This type of minor change will not only save money but will pave the way towards a more connected society.
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