Informa Tech's Gary Nugent: 5G, E-Learning Vital to Solving Business, Societal Challenges

Innovation is the biggest challenge facing businesses.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

April 12, 2022

4 Min Read
Gary Nugent CP Expo 2022 resized

CHANNEL PARTNERS CONFERENCE & EXPO, LAS VEGAS — 5G and e-learning will address the world’s biggest business and societal challenges in the years ahead.

That’s according to a new Omdia Horizons report, titled “The Decade of Responsible Technology.” Gary Nugent, Informa Tech’s CEO, discussed the findings during his keynote at the start of this week’s Channel Partners Conference & Expo. (Informa Tech is the parent company of Omdia and the Channel Partners Conference & Expo.)

“We went out and surveyed our community and asked them basic questions around what they felt were key business and societal challenges we will face over the next 10 years,” he said. “We also asked which technologies they believe will have the most significant impact in helping us address challenges.”

The overwhelming message was business and societal issues are converging, Nugent said.

Biggest Business Challenges

In terms of major business challenges, two rose to the top based on the feedback, Nugent said. No. 1 was innovation.

“There is no doubt about it, as the world becomes increasingly digital, the barriers to entry are dropping,” he said. “The fierceness of competition is only increasing. And our customers are feeling increasingly under pressure to constantly innovate in an agile, data-driven, intuitive, test-and-learn fashion.”

Those companies that successfully innovate are rising to the top, Nugent said. Those that are not are feeling an existential threat to their businesses.

These businesses are looking for help in how they can become that agile enterprise, he said. In particular they need help with stopping their legacy infrastructure from being a barrier to that agile approach.

And it’s not just innovation around the core product, but also innovation around how the product is discovered, how the service is consumed, the commercial model of how it’s acquired and how it’s serviced post-sale, Nugent said.

“The second issue that came up was the whole subject of customer experience and how customer experience is the key differentiator in the next 10 years,” he said. “B2C companies have recognized that for many years. And their challenge is going to be, how do you create that seamless experience between the online world and their physical world. B2B companies are just beginning to understand the importance of this.”

Societal Challenges

In terms of societal challenges, inclusion and equality is No. 1, followed by the environment.

“What is very clear is the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation at a pace and rate that few experts would have predicted just a few years ago,” Nugent said. “The way in which we now engage with education, governments and health care, and how we buy and sell things online has been a rapid acceleration.”

However, that rapid acceleration has increasingly left members of society behind, he said. That includes those who don’t have access to technology, connectivity and education for the necessary skills and knowledge.

Climate change and its consequences are an obvious challenge, Nugent said. The question is, how do “we grow our economies” in a way that’s carbon neutral and waste free.

“That is obviously raising interest around technologies and technology innovation, and how we address that,” he said.

Respondents overwhelmingly felt a 5G-enabled world as the top technology to address both business and societal challenges, Nugent said.

“And it’s not just about 5G itself, but about the applications that it enables, the use cases that it enables over time,” he said. “Industrial IoT, autonomous vehicles and smart cities are all at the heart of how we address environmental concerns. Also, virtual reality and augmented reality in terms of how we address those education concerns.”

E-Learning Critical

The No. 2 technology to address business and societal problems is e-learning.

“It is formally recognized that even in the world today we have a shortage of skills, knowledge and experience in business to help us deploy the technology that we have and are inventing,” Nugent said. “There are 300,000 open job postings in the United States for security professionals alone. And so the business world recognized that we have to develop the skills and the knowledge, and the experience if we’re going to have the workforce that’s able to bring these technologies to market.”

From a societal perspective, there’s two clear models, he said.

“We must create a more data-driven and digitally savvy society both in terms of having the talent pool from which to draw upon to be able to fill those positions in business, but also they are the customers of our future services, and therefore it’s about growing the marketplace,” Nugent said.

The channel plays a vital role in bringing technology and delivering benefits to enterprises, governments, schools and homes, he said.

“You are a vital link in the value chain that is the technology industry,” Nugent said. “And it’s for that reason that Channel Futures and Channel Partners will always be an essential part of Informa Tech, and an essential part of our ability to deliver our partners.”

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Edward Gately or connect with him on LinkedIn.

About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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