With 2022 in the rear-view mirror, we asked leaders from across the Hughes North American Enterprise division to share their takeaways from 2022, and not only to divine the future but give us their boldest predictions for what lies ahead for enterprises and industry when it comes to networking and digital transformation.
Mike Tippets, Vice President
According to Mike “Tip” Tippets, vice president, Enterprise Marketing, “The customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX)―and how different networking technologies like digital signage support them―rocketed onto the radar for businesses this past year. They recognize the role of CX/EX in building loyalty and in gaining a competitive edge for recruiting and retaining talent. Digital signage offers them the ability to communicate with a variety of audiences using video and high-impact visuals.”
Looking ahead, Mr. Tippets predicts enterprises will continue full force in their digital transformation efforts, which will include increased cloud connectivity and a pressing need for secure, reliable connections.
“The rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) will further drive use of cloud connections and the demand for edge computing resources. More and more data centers will be migrated to the cloud, heightening the need for security solutions that consider the user, the device, the location and the connection.”
Providing access to information from any place and any device will also be an imperative, he explained, with enterprises demanding security that does not impede efficiency.
“At the same time, businesses may struggle to find and retain skilled talent and may need to seek outside help,” he said, due to the current labor shortage.
And, when it comes to game-changing technologies, Mr. Tippets anticipates voice interactivity with devices and services will usher in a new era of interactivity, with next-generation solutions enabling businesses to say “Hello” to a world of operational and sales possibilities.
Tim Tang, Director, Enterprise Solutions
Tim Tang reflected on how market conditions affected enterprises this past year, including post-pandemic recovery, and the labor shortage.
“These market forces have prompted multiple industries, including retail, restaurant, banking and finance, to accelerate the execution of their digital transformation initiatives. This trend will continue into 2023 and beyond,” he said. “The increased economic dependency on digital technologies has elevated the need for industry to provide high-performing, secure and reliable networks. Consumer-grade internet connections are no longer enough to address enterprise-grade requirements.”
Given the complexity of enterprise network topologies and technologies, he said enterprise customers will seek to expand the scope of their managed services dramatically and to reduce the cost associated with receiving these services.
“Consequently, the industry must grow in its artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) competencies and recognize the need to manage complex, multi-vendor, multi-technology networks at scale cost-effectively. Applying AI/ML to network operations, as Hughes does with AIOps, is how we boost network immune systems and their ability to anticipate and resolve problems before they happen,” Mr. Tang said.
Mr. Tang also predicts that 5G networking will reduce the cost and complexity of primary network infrastructure. 2023 will see early adopters move from traditional 802.11 Wi-Fi based networks to Private 5G based networks, with this move driven by automations and autonomous tech that requires high speed, uninterrupted connectivity with no dead zones.
Carl Udler, Senior Marketing Director
For Carl Udler, the year was notable in that conversations with franchise customers began to focus on how they can fully integrate digital signage into other store systems, like their Point of Sale (POS).
“It can be a game changer, when all systems work together,” he said. “However, it’s important to weigh using ‘best in breed’ solutions vs. those from a single vendor. A best-in-breed approach requires more integration, and that can be challenging and expensive. On the other hand, an ‘All in 1’ comes already integrated, but may not offer the best features or meet business needs adequately.” Settling on an approach matters because digital signage is a valuable tool for engaging customers (and employees) and drawing their attention to product offerings, promotions and important information.
For 2023, Mr. Udler said, as more apps move to the cloud, connectivity will become even more important. Since there are more and more revenue-based apps supporting store operations―including online ordering/pickup, loyalty rewards, and Guest Wi-Fi―businesses need reliable connectivity.
“Think backup!” he stressed, to ensure store operations can keep running. “That’s particularly important, because capabilities like online ordering and store pickup will continue to expand and become the new norm.”
He also anticipates that new innovations, such as using computer vision to improve operations, will trend up.
“Younger generations have different expectations compared to what may be available today,” he explained. As an example, he cited subscription services (such as a monthly taco membership) or being able to order from multiple restaurants for a single meal and having it cooked and fulfilled at a single ghost kitchen facility and then delivered.
Those expectations will further shape app development, consumer behaviors and buying habits.
To illustrate, he said, “We may see car telematics―a vehicle’s onboard communication services and applications―connected to retailers, C-stores and Quick Serve Restaurants.”
And all three Hughes leaders agreed that as the network has more demands placed upon it, it will become even more essential to every business, of every size and sector―and that the Hughes team is committed to delivering the innovation, technologies and services that will be required today and well beyond tomorrow. Not a bold prediction, just a bold fact.