By Azrin Abd Shukor, Country Manager, NetApp Malaysia
It’s 2019, and it’s safe to say that almost everyone knows what an ‘app’ is. This is in no small part due to the arrival of sophisticated smartphones and tablets over the last decade. Given the ubiquity of apps that circle around us, however, how many of us know what an enterprise application is?
Enterprise application is the phrase used to describe applications (or software) that a business would use to support organizational operations or solve enterprise problems. It is different to conventional consumer apps like WhatsApp, Facebook or Candy Crush, which focus on user interface and experience. Instead, enterprise apps are built for mission critical use cases with precision engineering. These can include apps that are widely used amongst business professionals such as Google’s GSuite, Microsoft’s Office 365 and SAP’s Concur.
These apps will grow in speed, capacity and functionality over the next few years, especially as every country and business move towards 5G. We are already starting to see this in Malaysia as well. In fact, 5G trial runs are already being carried out by some of the country’s biggest telco providers over the past year.
As 5G promises high speed and low latency, it will be interesting to see its impact on the development and deployment of enterprise apps in the country.
The Need for Speed
5G is expected to be 10 times faster than the current 4G. At peak speed, 5G operates at 10Gbps (4G networks currently top at about 1Gbps). Enterprise apps are built for scale. These apps will also need to take into consideration the dynamic data flows it will have to shoulder in its post-operationalized state. Therefore, network speed and latency are essential in ensuring successful deployment.
5G’s promise of greater speed and lower latency will have a number of significant impacts on enterprise apps. These include improving the performance of collaborative tools such as multi-person video calling and making unified communications apps and peer-to-peer file sharing ubiquitous.
The use cases for ultralow latency apps can also be vertical-specific, such as high frequency trading in the financial services industry. Another factor impacting user experience is the clarity of an app’s user interface. With 5G, users will see a marked increase in the quality and clarity of video and graphic in-app content over previous network generations.
No doubt, both, the 5G rollout and enterprise app development in Malaysia are niche and nascent. However, we believe that this the best time for businesses to evaluate their enterprise mobility strategies in order to enjoy the ‘first mover advantage’ of 5G.
The Reason for Innovation
5G will transform the underlying architecture in core internet networks through edge computing and network slicing. This is where data collected from mobile and other devices are processed by the device or by a local computer or server, rather than being transmitted to a data centre.
Beyond that, 5G provides more extensive connectivity while alleviating network strain, enabling more people to transmit data at the same time.
This makes it easier to introduce artificial intelligence, automation and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to a wide range of services and industries. From an enterprise app development standpoint, it will enable developers to innovate faster, shorten the app development lifecycle, and integrate the latest technologies into their apps. These can include seamlessly incorporating machine learning or augmented and virtual reality technology as standard features for business-critical apps soon.
This can be transformative to businesses in various ways. Salespeople for example, can log client and product information in the sales pipeline through their enterprise app. This can then generate quick real time analytics that will inform them of which products are successful, what customers prefer and whether they are on track to reach their sales target for the year.
Likewise, engineers can evaluate the health and performance of oil rigs remotely through VR simulation, while deploying telemetry and preventive maintenance to equipment and hardware that require them. These can be done without even having to step onto the facilities.
The Facts to Act
As 5G enables the deployment of more complex, heavily customized enterprise apps, enterprise applications will demand the full attention of IT. Any disruption is unpleasant, including disruptions for periodic reconfiguration of storage systems due to requests for higher performance or capacity expansion.
NetApp believes that, since business operations can be negatively affected whenever enterprise applications require infrastructure changes, the infrastructure must be designed to operate dynamically, without interruption. As a result, we have staked our position as the data authority in hybrid cloud and developed the capabilities to support businesses achieve this.
We do this by creating the right IT infrastructure to accelerate enterprise app development projects with faster software refreshes. This also includes simplifying operations with data integration, automation and near-instant backup. Beyond that we also help businesses
future-proof their environments by providing the most options to leverage the cloud for better business results
No doubt, the shift to 5G will change everything about connectivity as we know it. The possibilities are endless and organizations that are quick to jump on this digital revolution will experience the biggest gains, not just today but for years to come.