Channel Manager's Playbook - Volume 5: International Agent Opportunities

The Equations Driving Asia-Pacific ICT By Stephen McClelland I t may be heady times in the ICT (information and communication technologies) world with more infrastructure, applications and devices appearing in the Asia-Pacific region than ever before. International Agents But, below the surface, the outlook remains a complex and highly nu- anced one. Demand is burgeoning for datacen- ters and fibre optic connectivity across the region. But changing demand pat- terns and the arrival of new players – particularly in the OTT space – have disrupted traditional business models and foreseeable market behaviours. Set to enter the picture are emerging tech- nologies such as 5G that some predict will cause enormous changes in the mo- bile landscape. Alongside this, some see a plethora of new applications based on IoT finally gaining traction. 5G: future glue? Asia-Pacific ICT futures clearly see many possibilities intertwined. Meta- phorically, several business and tech- nology equations need to be addressed at the same time. The IoT space, for example, may be exciting, but it is also the most problematic to forecast. At PTC’17, Dr Minoru Etoh, senior vice president at Japan’s NTT DoCoMo, predicted an upsurge in intelligent systems, particularly driven by 5G de- ployment, a “glue” technology bringing together many different applications and services. He continues to suggest a suc- cessful IoT equation can be built from combining ICT and what he terms operational technology. “Existing op- erational technologies, such as con- struction technology, manufacturing technology and transportation tech- nology,” he indicates, “to date don’t require significant communication capabilities…in the long run, however, those systems may need massively diverse sensor communication.” In turn, he suggests, this will drive ad- vanced networks as major B2B sys- tems take shape. Driving a new vision? Within this, he suggests 5G will power major capabilities in a new generation of autonomous vehicles. Perhaps with this future in mind, some players are already mak- ing their bets. Intel’s USD15 billion purchase of technology specialist Mobileye in March 2017 had many reaching for their calculators: smart vehicles could individually generate a predicted 4000Gb of data every day, with Intel predicting a million cars will produce as much data as half of the world’s population currently does. As a result, datacentre players are also said to be taking these possibilities seriously. Driverless vehicles may be a stand- out IoT application, potentially generat- ing high data throughput at low latency, but these services will clearly impose specific network and service demand, and standardization is also important. “We will see the development of regional interconnectivity requirements as a consequence of the roll out of IoT and the inevitable applications that this will require,” suggests Eric Handa, CEO of APTelecom. However, in intercontinental terms, there may be less impact. “I can’t imagine driverless cars would lead to demand for intercontinental bandwidth just for practical reasons,” says Stephan Beckert, vice president of strategy at TeleGeography. “It is going to require connectivity that is very much localized.” More generally, Bill Barney, CEO of Global Cloud Exchange (GCX), likewise suggests the weight in these kind of ap- plications will fall on data processing: “The interesting thing is that IoT [will 16 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK