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2018 will be Asean’s Year of the Cloud

Ron Goh is President, Southeast Asia and Korea at VMware

Based on the Chinese Zodiac, 2018 will be the year of the dog. The dog is typically viewed as a symbol of intelligence. Futurologists say that, for technology specifically, projects next year will roll out at an incredible speed on a scale like never before. I will like to go one step further and posit that cloud will be the main driver of accelerating this technology evolution in Asean and anchoring each nation’s drive in becoming a smarter city.

As Asean countries ramp up on their smart nation push and aspire to embed hyper-connectivity, hyper-efficiency and multi-functionality into their infrastructure, we are going to see a huge uptick in IoT investment. Spending on IoT implementations in Southeast Asia is expected to grow 35% from an estimated US$1.68bn in 2015 to reach US$7.35 in 2020 according to Frost & Sullivan.

What this means for the cloud is that it will need to make a significant shift to the edge as more and more things get connected and generate copious amounts of data. In order to leverage this data and turn them into precious actionable insights, cloud services need the freedom to run nearly anywhere. Data analytics will need to be carried out at the physical locations where data is created (e.g., factories, airplanes, distribution centers, branch offices) because it is not feasible to move data to a cloud for processing and analytics. Furthermore, the rise of augmented reality applications requires data and application services to be extremely close to the point of application consumption.

This means businesses will need cloud services to be faster, more flexible in order to meet business requirements. Cloud is no longer a physical place where applications run, but rather an operational mindset that can be applied practically anywhere.
Asean businesses need this mindset now more than ever. The markets that they used to have a firm hold on are up for grabs as global giants from U.S and China arrive at local shores, competing for a slice of the pie. Every sector, from retail and healthcare to financial services and education, are all affected. No one is spared the onslaught of disruption. To thrive in such an economy and deliver a superior user experience, businesses need to move cloud to the edge. This move ensures that they have at their fingertips the correct tools and services at the point where data is created and applications are consumed.

At VMware, I am always awed and humbled at the same time to witness how Asean markets are leapfrogging the cycle when it comes to modern technologies. In fact, they are moving at a faster pace than their more mature counterparts in other economies! Our customers in Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand for example can go for a software-defined datacenter from day one, enabling them to overcome barriers to innovation such as network provisioning.

We do not need a crystal ball to tell us that we are at a tipping point in Asean for the cloud. The parts are in place to innovate and create incredible new solutions that will disrupt the way we live and work. 2018 is only the beginning and will set the stage for the decade to come. Watch this space!

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