The building sector can address pressing environmental problems by leveraging two major trends: circular economy and digital technologies. Circular building practices emphasize restorative design principles, which can significantly reduce the amount of virgin material used and the environmental footprint of buildings. When combined with digital technologies, circular practices can achieve even higher environmental benefits. Such technologies enable visualization of the environmental impact along the entire value chain, facilitating smart design, production, and use to increase material- and eco-efficiency. However, realizing the full potential of these trends requires more than just technological advancements. Institutional, behavioral, and socio-economic system changes are essential to effect a transition towards a circular and digital economy. To facilitate such a transition, a new form of governance is needed, in which network governance complements conventional public governance. Network governance fosters the formation of coalitions of willing partners that jointly strive towards the goal of system change, creating a fertile ground for a new economic paradigm, behavioral change, government regulation and innovation. The effectiveness of network governance in supporting public governance depends on the specific socio-cultural and political context of a country. However, a thoughtful application of this governance model can facilitate the building sector’s journey towards greater material- and environmental efficiency.
The building sector is confronted with the imperative of accelerating its environmental performance. Currently, building and construction generate 36 percent of global energy consumption, produce 40 percent of waste and account for roughly 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide1. To tackle these environmental challenges, the building sector must capture the opportunity that two major trends provide: digital technologies and the circular economy. This article explains why these trends can be critical for mitigating the environmental impact of the building sector and outlines strategies for how their implementation can be achieved and accelerated.
The application of digital technologies can benefit the building sector by making the building process more material- and eco-efficient2. A broad field of digital technologies are available and continuously scaling, including artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing, cyber physical systems, blockchain and virtual and augmented reality3. However, the building sector has just begun to adopt these emerging technologies. Integrating these technologies into daily work processes would significantly add value to the sector4. For instance, data management tools—such as Building Information Modeling (BIM), material passports, lifecycle analysis and material flow analysis—can enhance transparency about the environmental performance of the entire building chain and provide insight into how the chain can become more eco-efficient5.
The broad field of virtual and augmented reality can provide a 3D understanding of how a building is constructed, with what materials, and how this can be attuned to the needs of the customer. In addition, it can optimize resource use during the construction, maintenance, and end-of-life phases. An example is the use of digital twins6. This is a virtual representation of an object or system that spans its lifecycle, is updated from real-time data, and uses simulation, machine learning and attendant reasoning to help decision-making, also about material-efficiency7. In addition, 3D printing offers a greener building technique that eliminates a great amount of CO2 emitting and energy-consuming processes compared to conventional building techniques8. Thus, digital technologies can help improve the environmental performance of buildings, particularly when combined with the circular economy.
The concept of the circular economy is simple yet urgent. It highlights the fact that we are overconsuming natural resources, some of which are scarce, on a global scale. In 1970, we only needed one earth to provide mankind with the necessary resources; nowadays we need 1.75 earths. If we continue on our current path, we will require 3 earths by 20509. The Circular Gap Report has revealed that our world is still largely linear10, as we only bring 8.6% of what we use back into the cycle, resulting in a Circularity Gap of over 90%. To address this issue and become more prudent with raw materials, energy, and water, pleas are made to move to a circular economy11. There have been various definitions for the term ‘circular economy’12. However, the common denominator is that it is restorative by design and aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value, distinguishing between technical and biological cycles13. This notion is particularly significant important for the building sector because of the high percentage of waste produced. However, this sector is characterized by strong project-based institutionalized practices and market mechanisms, which in many aspects do not facilitate the inclusion of circular economy principles14.
Technically, it is possible to consume far fewer raw materials in the building sector and drastically reduce CO2 emissions. We can extend the lifespan of buildings, redesign them with circularity in mind, reuse parts of them and recycle their materials15. Three Dutch examples serve to illustrate the benefits of building with circular economy principles. For instance, the distribution system operator Alliander—an entity responsible for distributing and managing energy to final consumers—opened its new office in 2015 in Duiven. Although everything about the building exudes style and newness, almost nothing in it is actually new. In fact, 83% of the materials used in the building are recycled. Similarly, in the new Venlo town hall (established in 2016 in the Netherlands) all the raw materials used in the construction can be fully reused with no loss of value. Moreover, the town hall building is entirely energy neutral, thanks to features such as solar panels, thermal energy storage, and solar boilers. The Green House pavilion is the final example, designed to be temporary, as the municipality of Utrecht has plans to redevelop the area in 15 years. The construction used as many recycled materials as possible, which will also be reused when the building is removed. And ultimately, when that happens, there will be no trace left of The Green House in or on the land. The building’s construction is designed to ensure that no pipes, cables, or sewage will remain in the soil under the pavilion, thus minimizing its impact. However, scaling up such iconic projects and making circular building mainstream remains a significant challenge. It requires system innovation, in which technological change goes hand in hand with a socio-economic and behavioral change. The main obstacles to realizing this system change include a focus on short-term goals, complex supply chains, a lack of collaboration between stakeholders, and the absence of a commonly agreed definition of the circular economy within the industry16.
Experiences in circular economy have demonstrated that the aforementioned obstacles can be overcome with effective governance during the transition to a circular system17. This shift requires a fundamental departure from the current linear system in which products are carelessly discarded after use. No single entity, whether it be a company, local government, or NGO, can undertake such a comprehensive system change on their own. Collaboration among partners who are committed to contributing to the change is necessary to establish a robust network. To ensure its efficacy, this network should be orchestrated through a concept known as ‘network governance’. Network governance is not meant to replace conventional public governance, but rather to complement it. It facilitates the attainment of circular objectives and strengthens societal support for more stringent government measures.
A comparative study encompassing 16 countries has illustrated that network governance can offer substantial added value18. However, the extent to which network governance can support public governance is contingent upon specific socio-cultural and political contexts19. For instance, in countries where the government takes a strong leadership role in circular economy and receptivity towards network governance is high, the conditions for initiating and accelerating circular economy are propitious. The Dutch circular building examples mentioned above serve as a case in point. In contrast, where both forms of governance are weak, it is more arduous to launch circular initiatives. Nevertheless, opportunities for developing circular economy can be identified in all 16 countries studied. In Australia, for instance, industry, government, and NGOs exhibit a rather antagonistic attitude towards one another. However, this does not preclude cooperation among these actors in sectors such as building; it simply necessitates additional incentives. For example, when commissioning parties cooperate in restructuring an urban area and implementing circular strategies, they can urge the network of contractors to exchange data and adopt an integrated circular approach. Digital technologies can reinforce such cooperation.
Hence, the building sector worldwide can make substantial strides on the path to circular economy when new forms of network cooperation among pertinent actors are implemented in conjunction with government leadership. Individual actors frequently hesitate to assume leadership roles in system change, as they do not perceive it to be their core business and await others to step forward. To resolve this predicament, independent intermediaries, known as transition brokers, can play a pivotal role in orchestrating the change process. They can align actors with divergent interests around a shared vision and resolve impasses. To be effective, transition brokers must possess a specific set of competencies and acquire the mandate to function as intermediaries. Once accepted, transition brokers can accelerate the process significantly.
Researchers can also contribute to the transition towards a circular building sector. However, to render their research socially relevant, individual projects should be clustered around themes that collectively portray the broader picture of transitioning to a circular economy. In this way, research can be mobilized that centers on fundamental solutions confronting society today. Generalists with sufficient knowledge about the variety of innovations and the specifics of the building sector are certainly equipped to bundle research and highlight the most promising innovations. These knowledge brokers can facilitate the utilization of research in practical applications in the building sector, in the short or long term20. This would enhance the value of the arduous work undertaken by numerous researchers in the field of the built environment.
The programmable world from writing software codes to running machines to computing efficiently would be on the verge of programming the world. It would be a long-drawn effort, the contours and time unknown, but its direction is apparent. The typical elements of software will become a part of our day-to-day life, bringing control, customization and automation to the increasingly entangled world around us. The experiences would be under your control. How different would it be from the world we live in today?
The image above is Credit: Carloscastilla via Alamy Stock
Is Your Business Ready for the Programmable World?
The programmable world will be a turning point for businesses and society. Businesses that prepare first will be best positioned to succeed.
Imagine a world where the environment around you is as programmable as software: a world where control, customization, and automation are enmeshed in our surroundings. In this world, people can command their physical environment to meet their own needs, choosing what they see, interact with and experience. Meanwhile, businesses leverage this enhanced programmability to reinvent their operations, subsequently building and delivering new experiences for their customers.
The Accenture Technology Vision 2022 report explains that, increasingly, this “programmable world” is becoming a reality. It is being built on decades of innovation including cameras, smart speakers and microphones, natural language processing, computer vision, edge computing, programmable matter and 5G — to name just a few. Such technologies are amplifying the capabilities of devices and turning them into an ambient and persistent layer across our built environments.
Already, nearly 80% of executives surveyed believe that programming the physical environment will emerge as a competitive differentiation in their industry. An early example of what’s to come in this space is Amazon’s Sidewalk service. For years, Amazon deployed hundreds of millions of Echo, Ring and Tile products in neighborhoods worldwide. Sidewalk creates a Bluetooth network that can extend connectivity up to half a mile beyond Wi-Fi range and lets anyone with compatible devices connect. If your dog escapes, a Tile tracker on its collar could stay connected thanks to Sidewalk bridges from your neighbors’ homes. This approach of connecting existing IoT devices to create instant smart neighborhoods hints at the power that connecting other, even more sophisticated technologies will soon unleash.
Leading enterprises will be at the forefront of the programmable world, tackling everything from innovating the next generation of customizable products and services, to architecting the hyper-personalized and hyper-automated experiences that shape our future world. Organizations that ignore this trend, fatigued from the promise of IoT, will struggle as the world automates around them. This will delay building the infrastructure and technology necessary to tap into this rich opportunity, and many organizations may find themselves playing catchup in a world that has already taken the next step.
Preparing for the Programmable World
To begin building a new generation of products, services, and experiences in the physical world that meet our new expectations for digital conveniences, enterprises will need a deep understanding of three layers that comprise the programmable world:
1. The connected. The connected devices that enable seamless interaction with our surroundings: IoT and wearables today, ambient computing and low latency 5G-based devices tomorrow.
2. The experiential. Digital twins of the physical world that provide real-time insights into environments and operations and which transform peoples’ experiences within them.
3. The material. A new generation of smart, automated manufacturing alongside innovations like programmable matter and smart materials; programmable matter can — as the phrase suggests — be “programmed” to change its physical properties upon direct command or by sensing a predetermined trigger.
Becoming a leader in the programmable world requires wide-ranging experimentation and continuous development across these three layers. Companies that achieve “full stack” programmability will blaze a trail, so it’s important for this journey to start as soon as possible. We recommend that organizations begin addressing the following as a priority:
Level up the connected layer. 5G will be a game-changer in terms of speed and low latency, but rollouts are still in early days. This presents an opportunity for organizations to pilot new use cases that leverage 5G capabilities, so that they can hit the ground running when it’s more broadly available.
Get involved with industry-wide alliances. Industry alliances will shape the development of new technology standards for the programmable world. Businesses that take part in these alliances will help ensure that the world evolves in a way that benefits their customers. From an interoperability perspective, this could mean participating in ecosystem-wide efforts to set standards for how devices connect and communicate.
Bridge the digital and physical worlds. All businesses should now consider building digital twins. Even without the full maturity of the programmable world, these platforms provide significant operational and competitive advantages to companies today. Over time, digital twins will become the engine for every enterprise’s programmable world strategy, letting them invent products, design experiences, and run their businesses in ways that would once have been unimaginable.
Innovate in the right areas. Start by looking at where purely digital or purely physical experiences have yet to excel. For instance, apparel shopping comes with major pain points both in person and online (e.g., limited selections and wait times in store vs. difficulty finding the right size/style online). Virtual dressing rooms using AR filters and 3D avatars are a perfect solution, enabling online customers can try on items before they buy. Similarly, physical dressing rooms can be enhanced with improved lighting and interactive screens, so shoppers can get more out of trips to the store.
Explore future materials technologies. Partnerships with start-ups and universities are a good way to stay right at the forefront of real-world technology innovation. For instance, a team of researchers at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms published their work around four new material subunits called voxels. Researchers believe voxels could be programmed into certain combinations to create objects that change and respond to the environment around them – like airplane wings that shapeshift in response to different air conditions — and they believe tiny robots could be used to assemble, disassemble, and reassemble the voxels into a nearly limitless variety of objects.
The programmable world promises to be the most disruptive turning point for business and society in decades. Soon, we will live in environments that can physically transform on command and which can be customized and controlled to an unprecedented degree. With these environments, a new arena for innovation and business competition will be born. Businesses that prepare first, will be best positioned to succeed.
Significant changes are occurring in nearly every industry as technology advances and attitudes surrounding work and leadership evolve. Project management is no exception, and the styles and strategies for managing both the technical and human aspects of team projects are being adapted to accommodate the new workplace landscape emerging in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are the 2023 project management trends that we anticipate growing in the year to come.
A Continued Shift Towards Digital and Remote Work
In our post-pandemic world, fully remote and hybrid work options are here to stay. Gallup reports approximately 56% of full-time employees can fulfill job requirements entirely from home. The transition to fully remote work during the pandemic further illustrated productivity and effectiveness in the workplace could be maintained, even when a majority of employees were working from home.
Pros and Cons
From a project management standpoint, this transition has its pros and cons. Working in the same physical location as other team members promotes team-building and spontaneous collaboration that can be otherwise limited in a virtual workspace. Despite the perks of in-person collaboration, however, remote employees enjoy the flexible nature of working from home and report increased satisfaction with their work. When given the choice, many remote employees would prefer to remain remote or partially remote instead of returning full-time to the office.
As we move into 2023, project managers are challenged with navigating team dynamics and productivity in an increasingly digital environment.
Preference for Cloud-Based Operations
The transition to more remote working environments has created reliance on cloud-based computing solutions and communication networks. Cloud-based systems can provide cost-effective alternatives to traditional operations without surrendering performance and function. The ability for employees to access cloud-based networks from any location has made them the new standard for modern companies.
The Changing Responsibilities of a Project Manager
The scope of a project manager’s responsibilities is shifting, with more emphasis placed on flexibility, team dynamics and contributions outside of the project requirements.
Project Management and Change Management
In recent years, companies have enacted increasing numbers of change initiatives to organizations and the structures within. Project managers are learning to integrate the requirements of these change initiatives into project management strategies and plans. It is crucial to create a flexible methodology for integrating change initiatives with specific steps and protocols that your team can follow. These skills will continue to be relevant in coming years as companies grow and conform to the ever-evolving workplace standards.
Project success strategies have traditionally relied upon adherence to a single project management methodology. Recently, an increasing number of companies have merged multiple approaches to project management in an effort to increase flexibility and create a style that’s adapted to the needs of the individual project. Hybrid approaches also work well when faced with the task of integrating the expectations of new change initiatives presented by company leaders.
Increasing Connection Between Projects and Strategy
Project managers increasingly are asked to expand the scope and scale of strategies in growing workplaces. Rather than simply focusing on individual projects in isolation, project managers are being tasked with learning how individual projects relate to one another and how they work together to advance the goals of the company. This type of understanding can promote the strategic use of a project manager’s skills and help them to consistently make decisions that align closely with the company’s vision.
Advanced Project Management Tools, Solutions and Software
Technological advancements and improvements in software and automation have made their way into nearly every industry, project management included. Digital tools can help make the job of a project manager more efficient.
Increased Prevalence of AI and Automation
Artificial intelligence, automation, machine learning and data collection and analysis are rapidly becoming critical elements in project management strategies. According to PwC, 77% of high-performing projects utilize project management software to help streamline their work and meet their goals.
AI has the capacity to evaluate outcomes and provide insights into performance strengths and weaknesses, provide organized data to guide important decisions, predict outcomes, estimate timelines, analyze risk and optimize resource distribution. Project management tools and software can also automate time-consuming administrative tasks normally performed by the project manager, leaving the project manager free to focus time and energy on more critical or more nuanced tasks.
Project managers who take the time to understand how the AI and automation processes in their organization can complement their role will be well-prepared to take advantage of this resource.
Increased Focus on Data
Project management and data go hand in hand. A project manager who successfully uses available data to gain insight into key metrics can craft a targeted strategy to improve existing processes and further the goals of their business. Project management software can assist with both data collection and analysis, and provide concise evaluations and visualization tools for project managers to refer to in team building, productivity and time management efforts.
Emphasis on Soft Skills and Emotional Intelligence
As AI and automation take over aspects of the more technical side of project management, more emphasis is placed on the soft skills a project manager needs to effectively connect with, motivate and manage teams. These skills include emotional intelligence, communication, conflict resolution, mentoring and training, adaptability, time and risk management, leadership, team building and decision making.
Choosing the Best Project Management Software
Project management software can make a tremendous difference in the effectiveness and efficiency of a team and its leaders. With so many options to choose from, it may be challenging to know which software best fits the needs of your team. We’ve reviewed many of the available options and created a list of our picks for the best project management software based on ease of use, cost and fees, features and functionality, customer support and customer reviews.
As of October 2021, 44 countries were reported to have their own national AI strategic plans, showing their willingness to forge ahead in the global AI race. These include emerging economies like China and India, which are leading the way in building national AI plans within the developing world.
Oxford Insights, a consultancy firm that advises organisations and governments on matters relating to digital transformation, has ranked the preparedness of 160 countries across the world when it comes to using AI in public services. The US ranks first in their 2021 Government AI Readiness Index, followed by Singapore and the UK.
Notably, the lowest-scoring regions in this index include much of the developing world, such as sub-Saharan Africa, the Carribean and Latin America, as well as some central and south Asian countries.
The developed world has an inevitable edge in making rapid progress in the AI revolution. With greater economic capacity, these wealthier countries are naturally best positioned to make large investments in the research and development needed for creating modern AI models.
In contrast, developing countries often have more urgent priorities, such as education, sanitation, healthcare and feeding the population, which override any significant investment in digital transformation. In this climate, AI could widen the digital divide that already exists between developed and developing countries.
The hidden costs of modern AI
AI is traditionally defined as “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines”. To solve problems and perform tasks, AI models generally look at past information and learn rules for making predictions based on unique patterns in the data.
AI is a broad term, comprising two main areas – machine learning and deep learning. While machine learning tends to be suitable when learning from smaller, well-organised datasets, deep learning algorithms are more suited to complex, real-world problems – for example, predicting respiratory diseases using chest X-ray images.
Crucially, neural networks are data hungry, often requiring millions of examples to learn how to perform a new task well. This means they require a complex infrastructure of data storage and modern computing hardware, compared to simpler machine learning models. Such large-scale computing infrastructure is generally unaffordable for developing nations.
Beyond the hefty price tag, another issue that disproportionately affects developing countries is the growing toll this kind of AI takes on the environment. For example, a contemporary neural network costs upwards of US$150,000 to train, and will create around 650kg of carbon emissions during training (comparable to a trans-American flight). Training a more advanced model can lead to roughly five times the total carbon emissions generated by an average car during its entire lifetime.
Developed countries have historically been the leading contributors to rising carbon emissions, but the burden of such emissions unfortunately lands most heavily on developing nations. The global south generally suffers disproportionate environmental crises, such as extreme weather, droughts, floods and pollution, in part because of its limited capacity to invest in climate action.
Developing countries also benefit the least from the advances in AI and all the good it can bring – including building resilience against natural disasters.
Using AI for good
While the developed world is making rapid technological progress, the developing world seems to be underrepresented in the AI revolution. And beyond inequitable growth, the developing world is likely bearing the brunt of the environmental consequences that modern AI models, mostly deployed in the developed world, create.
But it’s not all bad news. According to a 2020 study, AI can help achieve 79% of the targets within the sustainable development goals. For example, AI could be used to measure and predict the presence of contamination in water supplies, thereby improving water quality monitoring processes. This in turn could increase access to clean water in developing countries.
The benefits of AI in the global south could be vast – from improving sanitation to helping with education, to providing better medical care. These incremental changes could have significant flow-on effects. For example, improved sanitation and health services in developing countries could help avert outbreaks of disease.
But if we want to achieve the true value of “good AI”, equitable participation in the development and use of the technology is essential. This means the developed world needs to provide greater financial and technological support to the developing world in the AI revolution. This support will need to be more than short term, but it will create significant and lasting benefits for all.
This AMEinfo’s article covered the views of 2 major personnel on their 2022 Technology predictions from Veeam Software, a privately held US-based information technology company.
Danny Allan, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Product Strategy at Veeam, and Claude Schuck, Regional Director, Middle East at Veeam, offer their outlook for the technology sector in 2022
AI and automation will replace entry-level jobs in the finance, healthcare, legal and software industries
Privacy-focused legislation will shift attention to data sovereignty clouds
Digital transformation powers ahead thanks to containers
Danny Allan, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Product Strategy at Veeam, and Claude Schuck, Regional Director, Middle East at Veeam, offer their outlook for the technology sector in 2022.
We start with Danny Allan with his 6 technology product predictions:
1- Acquisitions will stagnate as company valuations outstrip available assets
In 2021, global M&A activity reached new highs aided by low-interest rates and high stock prices. In 2022, we will see that momentum shift. Larger acquisitions will be few and far between as company valuations continue to rise. Only well-established, cash-rich companies will have the money required to make new purchases. The higher purchase threshold will make it harder for medium- and small-sized companies to grow and evolve, giving the advantage to larger, established firms.
2- AI and automation will replace entry-level jobs in the finance, healthcare, legal and software industries
The talent shortage will leave many jobs unfilled, making way for the advancement of artificial intelligence and automation to fill new roles. We have seen technology begin its takeover in the service industry with the introduction of robotic waiters during the pandemic. In 2022, we will see AI and automation capable of filling positions in other hard-hit sectors like the finance, healthcare, legal and software industries. These developments will mostly affect entry-level positions, like interns, making it harder for recent graduates entering the workforce to gain job experience in the future.
3- CI/CD will stabilize and standardize to become an IT team requirement
The Bill Gates memo in 2001 became the industry standard in how to design, develop and deliver complex software systems – and today it feels like there has been no standard since then. IT teams and developers fell into habits of adopting “known” technology systems, and not standardizing in new spaces, like continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD). In 2022, we’re going to see a shift towards more stability and standardization for CI/CD. IT leaders have an opportunity to capitalize on this high-growth and high-valuation market to increase deployment activity and solve the “day two operations problem.”
4- Tech’s labor market will be met with big money and big challenges
The COVID-19 economy – and the subsequent great resignation – throughout the last two years certainly made its mark in the tech industry. As we continue to see turnover and lower employee retention, tech salaries will begin to grow in 2022 to incentivize talent to stay. I see this causing an interesting dynamic, presenting bigger challenges, especially to the folks in the startup and VC world. The bigger tech giants are the ones who can meet the high dollar demand and deliver benefits for a competitive workforce. It will be interesting to see in the years ahead what this does for innovation, which tends to come from the hungry startups where people work for very little for a long time. We could very well see a resurgence of tech talent returning to the “old guard” companies to meet their needs for stable (and large) salaries, forgoing the competitive, hard-knocks of startups that could cause a skill and talent gap that lasts for years to come.
5- New privacy-focused legislation will shift attention to data sovereignty clouds
With increased focus on General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulating data protection and privacy in the EU and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) enhancing privacy rights and consumer protection for Californians, other states and countries are facing pressure to enact comprehensive data privacy legislation. As this continues in 2022, I expect we’ll see much more focus on data sovereignty clouds to keep data within nations or within a certain physical location. This is a far more specified cloud model that we’re starting to see in EMEA with Gaia-X. Some will see this as an obstacle, but once implemented, this will be a good thing as it puts consumer privacy at the core of the business strategy.
6- Containers will become mainstream to support the cloud explosion of 2021
Businesses wrongly predicted that employees would return to the office, as normal, in 2021. Instead, remote working continued, and companies were forced to develop long-term remote working strategies to ensure efficiency, sustainability and to retain employees seeking flexibility. This remote work strategy demanded cloud-based solutions, resulting in an explosion of cloud service adoption. To meet this moment, containers will become mainstream in 2022, making the generational shift to cloud much easier and more streamlined for organizations.
Next, we go with Claude Schuck with his 4 security predictions
Every enterprise in the Middle East looking to build a strategy around Modern Data Protection should keep the three important pillars in mind – Cloud, Security, and Containers. Businesses need to have a good understanding of what the cloud brings to an organization and why it is important. Secondly, before the pandemic, we had a centralized office where employees were all in one place. With decentralization now, the boundaries of the organization have become invisible. Data is all over the place, necessitating a need for a comprehensive security strategy to safeguard all entry points. And finally, we see an increased interest in Kubernetes as a critical piece of an enterprise’s cloud infrastructure. This has created a new area around container-native data protection that needs addressing.
1- Accelerated adoption of Cloud technologies
Although the cloud is not yet mainstream in the region, adoption is expected to witness significant growth in the Middle East as enterprises begin to “trust” in-country offerings with the big public cloud players like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services having opened data centers in the Middle East. Gartner forecasts end-user spending on public cloud services in the MENA region to grow 19% in 2022. Another big trend we see is that many governments across the Middle East are creating their own ‘Government Cloud’ in order to have control over their data and not letting it reside in the public realm. With this acceleration, Veeam is investing in more headcount in the region to be able to assist organizations as they transition to the cloud.
2- Security: cybercrime
In the Middle East, security will always be a top priority. Not only can cyberattacks affect day-to-day business, impact revenue, and create other problems, but above all, it affects the brand reputation and workforce. Enterprises will continue to invest and safeguard themselves against the ever-growing increase in cyberattacks, especially ransomware. Although organizations in the Middle East, in general, spend a lot on security technologies, there is a huge gap when it comes to planning and executing a security strategy. This mainly boils down to the complexity of the IT environment. There are still a lot of legacy systems. Protecting these complicated environments is a big challenge and becomes even more so in the transition phase of moving to the cloud. Regional CISOs need to have a stringent security program in place which includes important elements like stress testing of IT Systems, backups, a disaster recovery strategy, and educating employees to become the first line of defense for improving organizational resilience.
3- Security: data privacy and protection
In early September 2021, the UAE announced the introduction of a new federal data protection law. With this, data privacy and security are set to take center stage as consumers demand transparency and their “right” to be forgotten. By having the option of opting out, consumers can ensure that their data is being handled in a correct way and they are not targeted by organizations. But more importantly, international corporations that are based in the UAE and the Middle East can be assured that policies are being applied when it comes to data in-country – whether it be in terms of the way data is stored, IP is managed, or how customer and consumer data is protected.
4- Digital transformation powers ahead thanks to containers
The rapid adoption of Containers in enterprises, the need for on-demand resources, and the flexibility of workloads will drive digital transformation. The Lack of skilled resources and understanding around the technology is a big challenge for enterprises in the Middle East. Veeam, through its acquisition of Kasten, is simplifying container strategy and delivering the industry’s leading Cloud Data Management platform that supports data protection for container-based applications built-in Kubernetes environments.
Earth has been used as a building material for at least the last 12,000 years. Ethnographic research into earth being used as an element of Aboriginal architecture in Australia suggests its use probably goes back much further.
Traditional construction methods were no match for the earthquake that rocked Morocco on Friday night, an engineering expert says, and the area will continue to see such devastation unless updated building techniques are adopted.
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