Malaysia: Look Ahead to 2013 - Part 2


Throughout the year, we have also been observing the increasing adoption of cloud-based and collaborative solutions among businesses in Malaysia and South East Asia. More businesses are starting to use videoconferencing tools and collaborative solutions across various platforms to expedite decision making time, increase accessibility to executives and experts, as well as improving employee performance while reducing operational expenses. This trend will continue in the following years as the Asia Pacific internet video traffic is expected to be on a steady rise, representing 51 percent of all consumer Internet traffic in the region by 2016, up from 49 percent in 2011 according to Cisco Visual Networking Index. Furthermore, the second quarter of 2011 saw videoconferencing and telepresence equipment market revenues reach RM754 million (US$246 million) in the APAC region, having grown at an annual rate of 40 percent.  South East Asia represents 17 percent of this growth.

I believe that the Malaysian and South East Asian ICT sector have had its fair share of challenges in the past year as well. The pervasive adoption of smartphones and tablets for example has spurred BYOD further and this has presented greater challenges to businesses in safeguarding company data and securing the corporate network against threats. To overcome this, businesses need to ensure that their network security feature is scalable to accommodate the transaction requirements of devices and applications, provide consistent policy enforcement across hybrid environments and enable business agility through the unification of business and technology policies.

 Opportunity for Malaysian SMEs

An opportunity for Malaysia is for SMEs to embrace new ways of collaborating and working. While ICT spending is on the rise, we have also observed that the adoption and utilisation of digital technology by SMEs are still relatively low. It was reported that only one out of seven SMEs in Malaysia are doing their business online and only 20 percent uses ICT extensively in their business operations. The arrival of the post-PC era, where smart devices and cloud are getting more pervasive in the workplace, reiterates the need for SMEs to effectively connect and communicate their business, products and solutions to the world, in a secure and productive manner. The continued challenge is to change the mindset of SMEs that technology investment is expensive and unnecessary for their businesses. Thus, it is imperative for the IT community to work with government organisations and relevant partners to engage SMEs and improve their awareness on the need to adopt ICT to improve their business productivity and efficiency. 

We believe that the positive growth in the ICT sector that Malaysia is experiencing, coupled with the rapid developments in technology, businesses will face a greater need to balance innovation aspirations with business realities. At the core of this development is the enterprise network, as businesses need to provide for a dynamic and robust network infrastructure to support new devices, platforms and equipments while ensuring that security is still of paramount importance.

Cloud-as-a-Service (CaaS)
One of the most significant areas of growth for 2013 would be the next evolution in Cloud-as-a-Service (CaaS). According to the Cisco Global Cloud Index 2012, globally, cloud data centre traffic will reach 4.3 Zettabytes per year (355 Exabytes per month) in 2016, up from 683 Exabytes per year (57 Exabytes per month) in 2011.

Given the large amount of data that will travel be placed in the cloud in the next few years, it will be more feasible and cost effective for businesses to move away from investing into the conventional private and hybrid cloud infrastructure to deploying and adopting solutions on a Cloud-as-a-Service model. This will provide for a more cost effective current and future business IT expenditure while improving operational efficiency. Cisco will continue to emphasise on a flexible cloud deployment model. This will enable organisations to deliver consistent services across multiple devices, ensure access to up-to-date applications and enable rapid deployment of needed services and solutions at scale. Our vision is to move to an interconnected "world of many clouds" that will enable people to access to cloud services anytime on any device, anywhere in the world.

Software-Defined Network (SDN)
The role and management of the physical network is changing, with SDN becoming the buzzword of the IT industry this year. SDN provides a new combined platform for hardware and software, resulting in reduced cost in the administration of the network and an increase in the speed and flexibility of implementation. Moving into 2013, as more organisations get on board with SDN, there is a need to address some of the gaps in the platform, which include a lack of industry accepted open standards as well as clear definitions and guidelines on how SDN will be implemented. Furthermore, if SDN is to become the replacement of the physical switches and routers in the future, it has to be able to operate seamlessly and efficiently at volume. This is something that industry players and providers need to be mindful of as they introduce new SDN models and parameters in the coming year. Cisco's strategic roadmap around SDN will look at educating the industry to come up to speed on these emerging concepts. We will also continue to bring synergy across hardware and software, drive consistency between physical and virtual and blur the boundaries across network and computer.

Long Term Evolution Network (LTE)
Changes in mobile communications have always been evolutionary and the deployment of LTE will be the same. Next year, Malaysian mobile users will be able to enjoy faster internet connection on their mobile devices with the introduction of the 4G LTE. Due to the anticipation and build up towards LTE in the past few years, mobile operators can expect a surge in demands on their services with the introduction of the 4G LTE and this may ultimately affect their network performance. Therefore, mobile operators must look for strategies and solutions that will enhance their existing 3G networks, while addressing their 4G deployment requirements without involving a 'forklift' upgrade. This include focusing on the gradual transition from 3G to 4G by supporting 3G and 4G functionality on a single platform, meeting LTE requirements for increased data capacity and improved spectral efficiency while providing transparent roaming between High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) and LTE.

At the same time, mobile users will expect a uniform service experience across both 3G and 4G networks.  In line with this, Cisco will be placing greater emphasis on supporting mobile operators to realise the full potential of LTE. Cisco enables mobile operators to deploy core solutions and expand rapidly while making critical applications and services available when and where needed, without compromising on quality of experience, the timeliness of delivery and comprehensiveness of security.

We believe the ICT sector in Malaysia will continue to improve in the upcoming year, in light of the strengthening economy and domestic consumption in the country. This is especially complemented by an increase in ICT contribution to GDP (Gross Domestic Product), on the back of various governmental efforts and initiatives such as the Communications and Content Infrastructure focus of the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) and the recently launched Digital Malaysia.

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