The pandemic has been a technology accelerator for businesses, municipalities, schools, healthcare and homes. Internet service providers, such as Cox, experienced the equivalent of two years of traffic growth in the first few months of the pandemic, and it has remained constant at these new levels.
As we work with our clients in Northwest Arkansas and the Fort Smith Metro, we’ve seen global trends change the way we live, work and learn here at home.
The cloud is approaching the edge. Increased demands on bandwidth and latency have put more emphasis on edge computing – or, as Gartner defines it, where information processing is located close to the edge, where things and people produce or consume this information.
Last year, analysts predicted that edge computing would experience significant growth, especially as cloud providers deployed more edge servers in local markets while telecom providers moved forward with deployments. 5G.
Prior to COVID-19, Forrester predicted that the edge cloud services market would grow by at least 50%. IDC’s global IT forecast for this year includes the impact of the pandemic on workforce and operational practices will be the driving force behind most edge-driven investments and business model changes. , well beyond 2021.
School and work will continue to stay at home… somewhat. Remote work and school aren’t going away anytime soon, making broadband connectivity essential. Many employees who were forced to work from home last year may continue to do so on a permanent basis.
On the educational front, researchers at Rand Corp. found that about 20% of public school superintendents and chartered principals said they plan to continue optional online schooling after the pandemic is over – or are considering the online option for families and students who want choice.
Whether teaching or learning at home or in the classroom, data-driven insight enhances the classroom experience. The apps allow teachers to digitally administer homework, quizzes, tests, and spend one-on-one time with students and parents. And through artificial intelligence and machine learning, automated technology enables teachers to monitor and evaluate student progress and better understand their strengths and weaknesses.
Supplier adoption and investment in telehealth is increasing. Finding ways to virtually connect with your healthcare provider just got easier. According to a Cox Business survey, only 28% of respondents said their health service provider offered telehealth before COVID. Today, 68% can access telehealth services through their health care providers.
McKinsey reports that more than three-quarters (76%) of patients said they were likely or very likely to continue to rely on telehealth. Providers also approved of telehealth, with 57% seeing it more favorably than before the pandemic and 64% feeling more comfortable with the technology.
What’s more, the same report shows that up to $ 250 billion in current health spending in the United States could go virtual, up from $ 3 billion before COVID.
Smart communities are getting smarter. Smart communities are increasingly becoming a priority nationally and globally. Getting smart enables municipalities to make more efficient, data-driven decisions, reduce inefficiencies, and streamline and automate processes. It also strengthens citizen and government engagement, improves infrastructure and provides new opportunities for economic development.
And the trend towards just about everything-smart is also taking place inside the home. According to Statista, in 2023, North America is expected to hold 40% of the global consumer spending market for smart home systems such as smart assistants, smart speakers, and smart locks and switches.
One thing I’m sure of, these tech trends that have come to the fore are here to stay, and tech companies will continue to invest to better connect people and bring critical technologies to life.
Mat Mozzoni is the Director of Sales for Cox Business Arkansas. Cox Business provides voice, video, data and cloud services to commercial enterprises. The opinions expressed are those of the author.