Cloud adoption, especially in the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector is expected to continue to rise. The Ecosystm Business Pulse Study shows that only 16% of Australian organisations had not increased their cloud investments after the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on the economy.
Ecosystm Principal Advisor, Tim Sheedy says, “The current pandemic has highlighted the digital ‘haves and have nots’ in Australia. The NBN has helped to narrow the gap, but too many in rural and regional Australia continue to suffer the tyranny of distance. Businesses and government departments have been reluctant to relocate outside of the major cities due to the lack of internet and data centre infrastructure. Investing in data centres in rural and regional locations will not only help to close the digital divide but also remove a significant barrier that stops businesses from investing in and relocating to locations out of cities.”
Growing Australia’s Data Centre Footprint
This week, Australia’s Leading Edge Data Centres and Schneider Electric announced a AU$30 million project where Schneider Electric will provide Tier-3-designed prefabricated data centre modules for Leading Edge’s six locations in Australia. Each site will host 75 racks with 5kW power density to support computing operations and minimise data exchange delays. Ecosystm Principal Advisor, Darian Bird says, “The inaccessible nature of some sites makes them suitable for prefabricated data centres, which are plug-and-play containers that can be set up and maintained by a relatively small IT team. Standardisation in edge data centres and automation are key to remote management for anyone deploying distributed infrastructure.”
This announcement follows the news that Leading Edge has secured an investment of AU$20 million from Washington H. Soul Pattinson to construct 20 Tier-3 data centres across Australia. They have also received funding from the SparkLabs Cultiv8 2020 accelerator group. The funding will be used to build more than 20 Tier 3 data centres across regional Australia to provide faster internet speeds and direct cloud connectivity.
This will impact businesses that host mission-critical applications, and stricter uptime requirements, and is expected to benefit IoT, AgriTech and telecom industry applications.
Impact on Industry
Edge connectivity will create a seamless experience for the users to take advantage of faster computing with a local host, lower latency by taking connectivity to where operations reside, and data sovereignty by keeping data within the region, aiding in the development of Australia’s Digital Economy.
Sheedy sees this as an opportunity for primary industries. “One of the real challenges for farms and other agribusinesses investing in IoT and other tech-based solutions has been the lack of local or nearby computing infrastructure that will support applications that require low latency. Leading Edge’s investments in providing data centres in rural and regional Australia will mean these businesses can accelerate their digital transformations.”
With the simultaneous rollout of 5G, Smart City initiatives will also benefit from edge data centres. “Investment in edge infrastructure is likely to take off and follow the 5G coverage map across Australia. We will see operators take advantage of their vast network footprint and combine micro data centres with some 5G antenna locations,” says Bird. “Smart City initiatives will be made possible by 5G connected IoT devices but computing at the edge will be needed to keep, for example, public safety systems, operating in real-time. Many monitoring systems will require local data analysis to be effective.”
Bird also sees potential impacts on the Entertainment industry. “The COVID-19 restrictions and the launch of new services such as Disney+ and Binge in Australia will ensure streaming video continues its impressive growth trajectory. Even facilities such as sports stadiums are beginning to deliver in-person digital experiences to grab back attention from their online competitors. Positive user experience is crucial here and low latency is a must. We’ll see a shift towards edge computing delivered on-site as part of a distributed network. Regional data centres and local caching have always been vital for content delivery to ensure the quality of service and reduce bandwidth costs but the scale is unprecedented.”
Bird talks about potential retail opportunities in the future. “We may see anchor tenants at malls offering their excess capacity to smaller, nearby stores that need the benefits of edge but can’t justify the investment, similar to the way Amazon launched AWS.”
These are two examples of why now is the time for implementing a mobile AR app solution.
Invest Now in AR
At this moment you have a captive audience with more time on their hands than normal, and eager to consume. And many are building home offices or making medium-term travel plans and need more than what a flat website experience offers them.
So now is the time for investment in augmented reality mobile apps. How many firms are seeing this and what has been their experience?
Only about 1% of organisations have a mobile AR app, with another 5% evaluating it in 2020
Average current implementations tend to look at a CapEx spend of about 45% – however, those who are planning to implement a mobile AR app expect to pay about 53% CapEx
7 out of 10 organisations say that implementation cost was less than US$10,000
8 out of 10 organisations say the implementation took more than 3 months (with 4 out of 10 saying it took 6 months to a year)
Extending to digital experience
Traditional print publications already understand the need to extend the digital experience for readers. The New York Times has been rethinking how it can connect the print and digital reading experiences. In partnership with Google Lens, smartphone users can access additional information online that corresponds to the print version of their New York Times Magazine. In the next three months, all New York Times Magazines will have some features that are Google Lens-enabled.
It is a great moment for both product and experiential marketers to be taking advantage of time at home by using an augmented reality mobile apps to bring the product into the home or home office, and the experience to life in your own kitchen or living room. And in return, getting great real-time feedback on what customers are looking for.
We’ve all seen the demo of the IKEA mobile app on where to place your couch. But product location placement is missing from any number of key categories. This is including computer monitors and TVs, as well as office furniture and professional lighting equipment for that better quality of video con-call.
What other kinds of market engagement uses are there?
Packaging links to AR
Create custom “trackers”, either printed or on-screen icons, when scanned with a white labeled app to trigger a video or a 3D model overlaid on the real world. Design a scannable package with customer experience in mind and include tracking engagement and sharing links. Set up an AR trigger based on a packaging feature and invite the customer to scan the same with their phones. Note that you can also add AR as a feature into your existing Android or IOS app. Dependency on dedicated app or app plug-ins is gone. Brands can now leverage the potential offered by augmented reality using just a URL. Users can open the URL in any mobile-based browser and augment interactive digital content on their camera view.
Reverse product placement
As the opposite of how locations tried to link to Pokemon Go, your product could be an element in a popular Augmented Reality game. It could attract new customers who would link to more AR provided information on the product.
Weather as a factor
These types of apps can show what the weather may be like at a location. Possible app usage for showing residential real estate. It could show impact in a flood zone as to how much water may enter the area. Or it can warn people on urgent physical issues.
Practical advice before consumption
Too much time on your hands and hate your hair? See what the color will look like before you make a hair color mistake. Perhaps more AI than AR. Note that right now you may be able to buy hair dye. But you will likely not have access to the person who can repair any mistakes you make at this point. Think carefully.
Now is this time to engage bored consumers and eager potential users. Take advantage of what this uncertain time can bring to your firm. Use Augmented Reality as a benefit to create value and content stickiness for your customers.