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2023 Tech and Industry Predictions from Teradata Experts

By: Teradata experts

From advances in AI/ML tied to digital twins & simulations to the expansion of satellite/cellular partnerships to expand coverage to remote or under-served areas, our tech & industry experts weigh in on what they think are the game-changing predictions for 2023.

Technology & Business

Dan Spurling, SVP, Product Engineering

Trusted Social Connectedness: While Twitter is imploding, and social media is generally seen as a negative, I believe that humans still crave connectedness in this space – especially when it is intentionally curated to ensure dependence – but that we will require both 1) greater transparency into who is stating the information that we consume, while 2) ensuring some form of security and privacy only with those whom we select (obvious potential conflict)

Digital Twins: I believe there will be advances in the ML/AI evolution tied to digital twins or simulations; moving beyond just sensors that predict machine failure or buying propensities, and moving into predictions of economic markets, food production, population health, etc.

Data Reduction: There is an exponentially increasing amount of data, but I believe we will see rise of solutions that deduce the meaningful bits of data from the overall mass of data collected, or even reduce the footprint of data using new technologies beyond current classic data storage techniques

Personal Security: (Unfortunately) Driven by greater government destabilisation and associated erosion of trust in government, I believe we will see increasing tech advances in the areas of personnel security and security monitoring

Risk Aversion: I predict that there will be reduced willingness to take large risks or make investments into risky ideas, thereby increasing the success of entrenched incumbents and decreasing the broad proliferation of new tech adoption across the large enterprises, resulting in reduced startup growth and flat to growing revenue for large software or service providers.

Michael Hay, VP, Product Management

Consolidation, Concurrency and Currency: With the looming recession, there is a natural tendency to figure out how to do more with less. How to focus on profit overgrowth. As a result, customers will shrink their footprints and seek to do the same or more work. This speaks to deploying Data and Analytics systems that can incrementally scale, but return a benefit significantly larger than a nominal incremental investment. Another way to look at this is platforms that have the virtues of being cheaper to perform queries, experiment, and avoid the data copy tax will win.

More, not less, Cloud providers:

Two global patterns, increased protectionism and a strong shift towards profitability to weather the looming recession, point to the genesis of more, not less, cloud providers. These new providers can be one of:
• General providers focused on meeting country or region-specific protectionist policies and avoiding laws and regulations with global reach, like the USA Cloud Act.
• Cloud provider plays that emphasise a special focus on unique industry requirements. For example, Energy or Healthcare companies could shift their business towards providing cloud and analytics services with acute emphasis on their respective industries and regulatory regimes.
• SaaS companies who have reached sufficient scale and must become profitable to survive.
These providers will be looking for software and services that enable them to be successful as cloud providers, and companies who are capable of supplying them, will win.

Retail

Mike Skypala, Industry Lead, EMEA

Hybrid is here to stay: People are now using both online and offline formats to shop, with in-store experiences seen as a chance to touch, feel and see the products. Many retailers are following IKEA’s lead by showing consumers what a full “at-home room” could look like in their retail spaces, making it a more visually led interaction. This blended approach to shopping is likely to stick around, which adds a certain element of complexity for retailers looking to track and interact with customers on their purchase journey and understanding the profitability of each, with analytics helping to comprehend these shifts and changes in behaviour.

Cost conscious shopping will intensify in 2023: As the cost-of-living crisis continues, there will be a sustained focus on value and cost-effective shopping as we head into a New Year. With the launch of an “Essentials” range in almost every supermarket speaking to this ongoing focus, consumer spending on non-essential goods, including fashion, homeware and beauty is likely to also continue to fall. As a result, retailers should ensure a steady flow of canned foods and cupboard essentials as these remain the priority items for many.

Sustainability remains a priority: Though sustainability has been at the forefront of consumer minds for years now, we’ve yet to see it truly become a systemic part of a retailer’s business and baked into every decision made; instead, it is often a siloed group of ad-hoc initiatives. By collecting and examining data on a range of sustainability-related issues — from energy use and carbon emissions to mobile consumption habits — companies can generate insights that would drive their sustainability initiatives and inform their long-term strategy moving forward. It’s likely that some form of legislative policy will come in either within this coming year or the next, meaning retailers will have to reach a certain level of sustainable practice in order to keep trading.

Convenience shopping is set to get more convenient: It’s likely that automatic, “scan as you go” and self-check-out options will continue to increase around the country as consumers continue to demand more convenient, faster and streamlined shopping experiences. There’s an opportunity for retailers to expand on personalisation elements in real time, based on actions as consumers walk round the shop, moving away from static data and towards contextual data. Additionally, the U.S. is leading the way with computer vision and smart trollies in particular, which pick up both what is being put in a shopper’s trolley, as well as what needs replenishing on the shelves.

Dave Spear & David King, Senior Industry Consultants for the Retail, CPG & Hospitality

Industries at Teradata

Revenge of the CEO: Unlimited free returns? 15-minute delivery? Metaverse? Expect intense scrutiny from Finance on the ROI and NPV of such investments, with a tougher hurdle due to rising interest rates. Expect “sure” cost reduction proposals to win over “wishful” growth projects as investors crave cashflow and profitability.

Healthy Dose of Retail: Health retailing continues to blur the line between traditional healthcare providers and general retailers. We’ll see more small and large acquisitions by companies like Amazon, Walmart, Target, CVS and Walgreens, all trying to deliver new health services at affordable prices.

QR Beyond James Bond: QR-codes make a giant leap forward in retail. These square codes will unlock huge amounts of data for consumers to engage with and fuel new innovation in supply chain analytics.

Techies More Approachable: Silicon Valley layoffs and tougher work policies provide a window for traditionally less sexy retail tech teams to attract strong talent on the rebound.

Telco

Nadine Manjaro, Director, Industry Consultant in Telecommunications and IoT

Fixed Wireless Access: In 2023 US operators will deploy more Fixed Wireless Access solutions.

They will focus on streamlining offers to areas where they have excess network capacity to prevent negative impacts to mobile voice and data services. T-Mobile will continue the lead in the US with over 1.5 million FWA customers through September 2022, followed by Verizon with 1 million FWA customers. Both companies have publicly shared FWA subscribers’ projections. Verizon’s plans to reach 4 to 5 million subscribers by 2025 and T-Mobile’s plans to reach 7 or 8 million within a similar period.

Private 5G: There will also be an expansion of Private 5G services in manufacturing and retail enterprises to optimise manufacturing processes and retail experiences. Large enterprises are seeking end-to-end visibility throughout the manufacturing process as well as the supply chain process. Private 5G will enable more consistent coverage and support more advanced capabilities such as machine vision analytics which enables manufacturers to spot defects earlier and take corrective actions before the produce reached finished goods status.

Cellular/Satellite Partnerships: Expansion of cellular/satellite partnerships to extend coverage to remote and underserved areas. SpaceX and T-Mobile are teaming up to deploy cellular systems on low orbit satellites, this will fill in some coverage gaps in remote areas along some less travelled roads, national parks, and deserts.

Telcos in the cloud: Many Telcos will continue migrating their data to the cloud as a means of reducing costs and enabling wider use of data insights for decision making throughout the different departments. They will encounter cost overruns since some of the providers selected demonstrated value with small, limited workloads. As they move to scale the workloads, they will encounter migration issues, cost over-runs and performance limitations.

Security: Security management will continue to be a major concern in terms of who has access to their environment. This will delay the movement of some workloads to the cloud. The next generation data architecture will be multi-cloud, hybrid with on-prem, multi-vendor ecosystem which enables internal enterprise data marketplaces.

ARPU erosion: In the US, mobile data, and voice ARPU will decrease as operators compete to win subscribers in an oversubscribed market. Customers are more cost conscious because of inflationary pressures and will be more likely to switch providers based on free device offers and lower service charges. This will drive operators to lower the cost of mobile services which will erode ARPU.

C-band deployments: Verizon and AT&T will continue to expand C-band deployments to cover a larger segment of the US population and to gain ground on T-Mobile who has the best spectrum assets in the low and mid bands. They will also need C-band to expand Fixed

Wireless Access services with higher data rates than lower band spectrum.

Consumers win: Consumers will benefit with lower prices and better service. Those who are in remote areas with limited access to broadband will have more options with FWA and satellite to cellular partnerships such as the announced partnership with T-Mobile and SpaceX Starlink satellites. As more devices with both satellite and cellular capabilities proliferate, users can access service from anywhere on earth or even at sea. In addition, businesses will be able to track shipments across the entire route without coverage gaps. Initial coverage with start with test and multi-media but will later expand to voice and data coverage.

Healthcare

John Matthews, Managing Director Healthcare & Life Sciences

Shifts to digital: We will continue to see more shifts to digital settings across industries, but in particular for healthcare as virtual visits and digital consults have made a huge difference in a supply constrained regulated environment. Who wants to actually drive to the doctor when one can video chat just as effectively for many needs?

The politics of healthcare: The politics of healthcare remains so we’ll continue to see big fights over government spending in Medicare and Medicaid, as well as increasing debate over drug pricing. This fight, the lobbying dollars, the election season megaphones will simply not go away as entrenched interests, change agents, and economic realities contend in the public square.

FinTech

Simon Axon, Industry Consulting Director, EMEA

ESG will continue to define banking in 2023: Governments and world leaders are under increasing pressure to implement stronger regulation and legislation that will demonstrate real change and commitment. Ultimately, governments see financial services as a vehicle to implement net zero policies, as well as to accelerate the path to net zero. We will see the cost of money becoming much higher for carbon damaging activity in the coming year, with more favourable rates provided to those implementing sustainable activities. To do so, banks will need granular information on a host of factors that determine the level of environmental impacts over time and risk across all sectors and all kinds of assets and investments.

Disruption as the “New Normal”: The repeated disruptions felt as a result of COVID-19, Brexit, war and political turmoil have, unsurprisingly, had a detrimental impact on the financial industry – as we’re seeing now with the ongoing rise of inflation and the increased cost of living. While ad-hoc crises are nothing new, these back-to-back and sometimes simultaneous crises is not something the industry has ever had to contend with. In 2023, the banking industry will need to further adapt as the definition of who is categorised as a ‘vulnerable’ customer changes. Banks will need smarter analytics in order to identify these vulnerable customers, with new factors calculating these scores, centred around reliability of income, as opposed to income vs. expenditure. The data needed to understand your customer base, therefore, will need to be more nuanced than it previously was.

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Business

How can a payments strategy support business growth?

Source: Finance Derivative

Following the global economic upheaval brought on by the pandemic, businesses are once again prioritising growth on a global scale. While every business recognises the importance of expansion, their methods, obstacles, and risks differ greatly.

In the following article, Sonya Geelon, Chief Commercial Officer at Conferma, explores some of the most common challenges holding businesses back, and how by including innovative payments solutions in your payment strategy, you can successfully position your business to expand into global markets.

Barriers to global expansion

At Conferma, we wanted to know what businesses felt stood between them and their growth ambitions, so we spoke to 400 financial decision makers to find out.

The research, shared in our new Growth Ignition Index report, identified global expansion as a key priority for businesses looking to grow across all regions. Significant drivers included increasing customer demand (46 per cent), maintaining a consistent cashflow (36 per cent) and undertaking digital transformation (34 per cent.) Businesses also highlighted a number of barriers, such as identifying valuable markets to expand into (27 per cent) and navigating complex cross-border payment systems (13 per cent.) The following sheds light on some of the factors that businesses perceive to be hindering their growth.

Operational inefficiencies

It’s a well-known fact that operational efficiency is crucial for giving businesses the competitive edge. If your processes run smoothly and effectively, you’re likely in a good position to grow. However, a third (33 per cent) of businesses identified operational inefficiencies as a significant sticking point, particularly among small-and-medium sized organisations. This perhaps indicates that larger companies have already invested in boosting efficiency to a degree, however, the issue was noted across businesses of all sizes.

Complex cross-border payments

Successful growth relies heavily on being able to make fast, seamless transactions, however, recent research from Rapyd found that 38 per cent of businesses experience delays of five days or more when sending or receiving international payments.[1] Costs and delays in cross-border transactions can have a significant impact on growth, cutting into revenues, restricting cash flow and complicating financial planning. Our own research highlighted this, with 14 per cent of businesses reporting slow and/or complex cross-border payments as a significant barrier to expansion.

So how can businesses overcome these challenges and unlock global growth?

Taking your payments strategy virtual

Amid the array of payment options available in the market, virtual cards have emerged as a versatile solution, valued by users globally. According to Juniper Research, the global value of virtual cards will increase over threefold in just 5 years, climbing from $1.9 trillion in 2021 to a staggering $6.8 trillion by 2026.[2]

So how do they work?

Virtual cards are essentially digital versions of traditional credit cards. The technology generates a 16-digit card  number, allowing an employee to make payments without having to physically hand over a card. Instead, they provide the virtual card number, expiration date, and security code, just like they would with a regular credit or debit card.

Virtual cards come with built-in fraud and security features, enabling restrictions on usage. For instance, users can set a specific date range or limit usage to certain merchants. This ensures that any attempts to exceed the set amount, use the card at unauthorised merchants, or spend beyond the specified date range will result in a declined transaction.

Using a virtual card provider allows access to extensive, pre-existing payments ecosystems. For example, Conferma connects 75+ card issuers and banks across the world. This enables businesses to use virtual cards in 62 different currencies, making international payments frictionless while mitigating costly cross-border fees. Virtual cards can also help boost cashflow and improve operational efficiency, automating reconciliation and cutting lengthy processing times. By removing convoluted payment processes, virtual cards give businesses the freedom to grow in the markets they deem most valuable, not just most accessible.

Of those surveyed, four out of five  respondents (82 per cent) plan on expanding their virtual card usage in the next twelve months, with 64 per cent extending usage to additional payment needs. Businesses already using virtual cards also anticipate a substantial increase in the volume of payments they make virtually, with our data projecting a rise from 45 to 57 per cent of all payments being made using virtual cards in the next 12 months.

Virtual cards offer a compelling solution to the challenges limiting international growth by offering enhanced security, streamlined operational processes, and seamless cross-border transactions. By embracing virtual cards as a strategic tool, organisations can unlock opportunities for growth and innovation, empowering them to navigate the complexities of international commerce with ease.


[1] The 2023 State of Cross-Border Payments, Rapyd, 2023.

[2] Virtual Cards: B2B and B2C Applications, Competitive Analysis & Market Forecasts 2021-2026, Juniper Research

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Business

How can businesses make the cloud optional in their operations?

Max Alexander, Co-founder at Ditto

Modern business apps are built to be cloud-dependent. This is great for accessing limitless compute and data storage capabilities but when connection to the cloud is poor or shuts down, business apps stop working, impacting revenue and service. If real-time data is needed for quick decision-making in fields like healthcare, a stalled app can potentially put people in life-threatening situations.

Organisations in sectors as diverse as airlines, fast food retail, and ecommerce that have deskless staff who need digital tools accessible on smartphones, tablets and other devices to do their jobs. But because of widespread connectivity issues and outages, these organisations are beginning to consider how to ensure these tools can operate reliably when the cloud is not accessible. 

The short answer is that building applications with a local-first architecture can help to ensure that they remain functional when disconnected from the internet. But then, why are not all apps built this way? The simple answer is that building and deploying cloud-only applications is much easier as ready-made tools for developers help expedite a lot of the backend building process. The more complex answer is that a local-first architecture solves the issue of offline data accessibility but does not solve the critical issue of offline data synchronisation. Apps disconnected from the internet still have no way to share data across devices. That is where peer-to-peer data sync and mesh networking come into play.

Combining offline-first architecture with peer-to-peer data sync

In the real world, what does an application like this look like?

  • Apps must prioritise local data sync. Rather than sending data to a remote server, applications must be able to write data using its local database in the first instance, and then listen for changes from other devices, and recombine them as needed. Apps should utilise local transports such as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Peer-to-Peer WiFi (P2P Wi-Fi) to communicate data changes in the event that the internet, local server, or the cloud is not available.
  • Devices are capable of creating real-time mesh networks. Nearby devices should be able to discover, communicate, and maintain constant connections with devices in areas of limited or no connectivity.
  • Seamlessly transition from online to offline (and vice versa). Combining local sync with mesh networking means that devices in the same mesh are constantly updating a local version of the database and opportunistically syncing those changes with the cloud when it is available.
  • Partitioned between large peer and small peer mesh networks to not overwhelm smaller networks if they try to sync every piece of data. In order to do this, smaller networks will only sync the data that it requests, so developers have complete control over bandwidth usage and storage. This is vital when connectivity is erratic or critical data needs prioritising. Whereas, the larger networks sync as much data as they can, which is when there is full access to cloud-based systems.
  • Ad-hoc to enable devices to join and leave the mesh when they need to. This also means that there can be no central server other devices are relying on.
  • Compatible with all data at any time. All devices should account for incoming data with different schemas. In this way, if a device is offline and running an outdated app version, for example, it still must be able to read new data and sync.

Peer-to-peer sync and mesh networking in practice

Let us take a look at a point-of-sale application in the fast-paced environment of a quick-service restaurant. When an order is taken at a kiosk or counter, that data must travel hundreds of miles to a data centre to arrive at a device four metres away in the kitchen. This is an inefficient process and can slow down or even halt operations, especially if there is an internet outage or any issues with the cloud.

A major fast-food restaurant in the US has already modernised its point of sale system using this new architecture and created one that can move order data between store devices independently of an internet connection. As such, this system is much more resilient in the face of outages, ensuring employees can always deliver best-in-class service, regardless of internet connectivity.

The vast power of cloud-optional computing is showcased in healthcare situations in rural areas in developing countries. By using both peer-to-peer data sync and mesh networking, essential healthcare applications can share critical health information without the Internet or a connection to the cloud. This means that healthcare workers in disconnected environments can now quickly process information and share it with relevant colleagues, empowering faster reaction times that can save lives.

Although the shift from cloud-only to cloud-optional is subtle and will not be obvious to end users, it really is a fundamental paradigm shift. This move provides a number of business opportunities for increasing revenue and efficiencies and helps ensure sustained service for customers.

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Business

When something personal fills an important gap in the market 

by Cécile Mazuet-Eller, founder of NameSwitch

There aren’t many business ideas that go from a personal experience to filling an important gap in the market. However, this is certainly the case for NameSwitch, the UK’s pioneering and only name changing support service launched in 2018. But what inspired its inception and what challenges did it face? Here, Cécile Mazuet-Eller, the founder of the company, in its seventh year, explains.

My entrepreneurial journey is a bit unusual in that it started from my own experience of going through a divorce, which became a pivotal turning point for me not only emotionally, but practically too. I wanted to remove my married name, and I had a visceral reason to do so as I really didn’t want to keep it. Feeling extremely frustrated at still receiving letters and official documents featuring my previous name, I was desperate to change it but like for so many people it became a stop-start, arduous task.

Once I started the process, I realised it was taking up far too much time I didn’t have; being a single mum to two young children and working full-time is no mean feat, so when I embarked on the name changing process I realised it wasn’t going to be easy.  Searching for a solution to help, all I came up with was a service covering the US and Canada, but nothing that worked for the UK, so in the end, I spent a whole year to get everything changed that had to be, which proved long and stressful to say the least.

Nurturing the idea

In the early days I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by positive people who had good contacts, and who saw the viability of my idea. Living in a small community filled with intelligent and well-rounded people, I wasn’t short of encouragement from them and friends, who recognised as well as I did there was a definite gap in the market. Working with a web development team in Serbia which was also recommended, I enlisted additional help from a university student on some research.

I always wanted to run my own business, and there were several reasons why I needed to embark on something new. As the only breadwinner in the house, there were mounting bills while balancing the demands of motherhood and other financial responsibilities. Cash was limited but what little I had was used carefully which I put into the business.

In the early stages, which included the development of the unique technology that underpins the service, I carved pockets of time at night and on weekends to create a strong foundation for the business. Creating something completely from scratch was like a form of healing, which is why it was and remains such a personal project.

Mulling over the idea for at least two years following the original lightbulb moment, the business was registered in 2015, with time needed for building the robust platform in order to  create a viable product. Drawing on my previous experience, I investigated overseas equivalents, financials and marketing intelligence ensuring there was a genuine need for the service in the UK. Fortunately enough I was able to share my plans with my employer at the time, who turned out to be my biggest supporters, becoming my first paying customer who purchased a NameSwitch for his ex-wife, who was getting married to someone else!

With a career in telecommunications and a degree in marketing, I was already used to hard work and having the support and encouragement from my telecoms team was extremely helpful.   

Support and coaching

Coaching was an important element of the start-up process, obtained through a wider network and some financial support from family,  with no other funding or investment being available.

The challenges

Presented with certain obstacles like all businesses are, there was a lot to juggle and at times it felt like too much but I managed to navigate the complexities involved. When Covid hit that was a huge set-back, given that our biggest target market was and still is, newly-weds. With all weddings being banned, it hit NameSwitch hard, but our saving grace were the people who used the time to change their name’s in lockdown, by doing something they previously didn’t have time for. Being 100% employed by the business by this stage, it turned into a year of survival and another big challenge.  

In 2022-2023 we concentrated on growth for NameSwitch, when me and my dedicated team were satisfied with the service, it was time to consider investment into PR, advertising and partnerships to increase brand awareness to reach the revenues that were needed.

In 2022-2024, it was forecast that 285,000 – 415,000 weddings will take place resulting from the pandemic, which has reflected well on the business in recent years. And amidst the trials and tribulations it’s proved to be both exhilarating and exhausting in equal measure.

With hindsight, there are certain things I’d have done differently, such as bringing in a partner early on to put us in a stronger position sooner, and adding more resource  to improve growth, but I know that’s all part of the steep learning curve and something to take with me to projects in the future.

Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs

For anyone contemplating their own entrepreneurial endeavours, I’d recommend to ‘one hundred percent go for it’ – but do not bet the house on it and whatever happens, embrace the journey.

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