While most of the roundtable conversation ran to business and leadership lines, attendees did have an opportunity to discuss emerging technology trends. All agreed a raft of transformative changes were occurring through the proliferation of the Internet. This was triggering new convergence, cloud computing and software-as-a-service opportunities.
In the education sector, ASI Solutions’ Maree Lowe saw major emphasis being placed on achieving solutions.
“There’s this push to foster more interaction between student, parents and teachers. There’s an enormous focus on connecting to the Web, which is bringing some interesting solutions to the table,” she said. “For example, Facebook for education, which is pulling in selling software over the Web and through the cloud.
“I think we will see more software solutions coming into schools. Behind that will be huge storage requirements, global connections, and everyone sharing and working on projects. The major organisations selling telecommunications are looking at selling space and applications as well. I just think what’s driving everything is Web.”
In the public sector, Lowe predicted cloud computing would be a transformative trend and said government departments were already re-adjusting their thinking around storing data outside their own location.
PacNet’s Deborah Homewood said bandwidth demand and datacentre capacity was accelerating, and with it, power and cooling concerns. She attributed it to more mobile devices accessing the Web for personal and professional use.
“Data and mobility drivers are the key, and it’s in education as well as home and business,” she said. “There’s a lot of talk about cloud, and I think customers are mostly happy to store their data somewhere else, but do they want to lose access to that? Not so much, so there is a lot of talk but not a lot of action.
“I think we’ll see a lot cloud take-up in the SMB market.”
Insight has built its business on providing software licensing and professional consulting services. Asia-Pacific vice-president, Andrea Della-Mattea, agreed cloud was influencing its business, but argued it was a positive rather than negative force.
“For us, our go-to-market is helping clients from a licensing perspective, so we’re going down the path of signing with the leading software players to provide software in this new way,” she said. “It’s not necessarily the top discussion point with customers now, but it’s certainly up there and I do think it will transform our businesses.
“I’m one of those that believe transforming business is the best way forward.”
FITT and ICT HR consultant, Maggie Alexander, meanwhile, highlighted collaboration tools as a key technology moving forward.
“So much information is being put on the intranet, and that’s becoming a mission-critical issue,” she said. “It’s not just email anymore; it’s those technologies that are pervasive throughout the organisation. There is much less focus on email contact, and much more on teleconferencing, collaborative tools and putting everything on the Internet as self-serve.”