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Guam will play a bigger role in the global telecom

Updated: Dec 10, 2021

Looking ahead: Predictions for 2022


Tides By Jay Shedd

Androids that think and act like humans. Flying cars and hoverboards. Food replicators and interplanetary travel. For decades, people have been imagining the kinds of technology we would enjoy by the 21st century.


While I can’t predict when flying cars will become the norm, I can tell you what to expect in 2022 based on recent trends.


First, virtual interactions are here to stay, whether it be recreational, work-related or to carry out daily functions.


According to a study conducted by Pew Research in January, 85 percent of Americans say they go online on a daily basis. Of those that go online on a daily basis, 31 percent report going online “almost constantly.”


The internet also brought with it new challenges. For the workplace, there are concerns about how telework affects employee productivity and well-being. Does innovation suffer from face-to-face connection? Is the person on the other end of the Zoom call giving you their full attention?


Increased virtual interactions put us at risk of new forms of harassment and manipulation, such as online predators, catfishing and cyberbullying.


For some people, online interactions might not be as fulfilling as face-to-face relationships and they might be vulnerable to loneliness.


While people still crave human interaction, I don’t believe they will be so eager to abandon the convenience of being online. Instead, people will expect a blend of physical and digital experiences. As a result, digital transformation continues.


Organizations are moving away from legacy systems and into more efficient online systems. Technology could be either a competitive advantage or a challenge to businesses, depending on how they adapt. They will have to be vigilant about the challenges of online services while also focusing on the benefits.


Second, over-the-top or OTT media services will continue to flourish - to the benefit of consumers.


The success of several streaming platforms for OTT has made it apparent that people want content on-demand and on their personal devices. Consumers benefit from low rates and quality content. In fact, it’s not uncommon to be subscribed to more than one platform.


The entertainment business is evolving accordingly. The sci-fi movie “Dune” was released simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max in October. In its opening weekend, it earned $40.1 billion at the box office and was streamed in 1.9 million households – a success on both fronts. There was a time when a film’s performance in theaters was an indication of its success. The straight-to-VHS mentality has shifted.


As a result, cable television will continue its decline.


Next, Guam will play a larger role in global telecommunications.


As the global communities adopt more smart technologies, IoT-powered devices, big data and other technologies, the need for data centers grows and the Asia-Pacific region is one of the fast-growing developing data center regions in the world.


Data centers are used by banking, financial services, government and defense, health care, manufacturing, IT and telecommunications.


For many companies, hosting their own secure data centers is not feasible due to a lack of expertise and physical space at their place of business. A data center handles all the backend services so the organization can focus efforts on day-to-day operations, strategizing and all the rest.


According to Research and Markets, a market research firm, the Asia Pacific data center market experienced growth during the pandemic because the demand for internet-related assistance increased. The market was estimated to be worth $25.58 billion in 2020, according to research released in June 2021. They predict that the data market industry in the Asia-Pacific region will reach $59.83 billion by 2027.


Guam has already proven to be a strategic location for landing stations for undersea broadband cables that connect countries in this region and beyond, also making the island attractive for data centers.


The physical location of a data center can affect a website’s latency. If a server is far away from users, the information and data must travel greater distances, therefore taking longer. This is important for services that require instant action, like healthcare, finance and banking and retail. Guam has the advantage of being strategically located to cut the distances required for data to travel within the region.


There’s significant interest in Guam as a data center hub. Turbidite, a new pan-Asia edge data center platform is set to build a data center on the island; and OneQode, a Global Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) company based in Australia, established Guam as a gaming hub to connect players in multiplayer online gaming tournaments.


Finally, organizations will have to address cybersecurity concerns.


Stock trading platform Robinhood revealed that it experienced a data breach in November. The company reported that the incident affected a little more than 7 million customers, with varying amounts of data leaked.


According to the Identity Theft Resource Center Q3 First Half Data Breach Analysis, the number of publicly reported data compromises through Sept. 30 exceeded the total number of events in fiscal year 2020 by 17 percent.


In May, President Joe Biden issued an executive order directing federal agencies to create new requirements to strengthen their cybersecurity programs. These requirements are still being determined, but they range from implementing a zero-trust architecture to modernizing cybersecurity programs to developing a cloud security strategy.


We’ll be hearing a lot about zero-trust systems in the months and years to come. As the moniker would suggest, no one is trusted to handle an individual’s data, not even employees. The system requires secure and authenticated access to all resources.


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Each time a user tries to access sensitive data, they must re-authenticate their permission. This is usually done with a single-use code. Every attempt to access an account or a system is seen as a threat. In addition, under zero-trust systems, access is limited to only necessary users and all activities must be inspected and logged.


One possible solution for strengthening cybersecurity is to apply quantum key distribution, or QKD. The quantum theory behind it can, frankly, be difficult to understand; however, the gist is that QKD provides a way to encode data with a secret encryption key known only to the data sender and receiver. If a third party tries to intercept the message, QKD technology can detect the disruption and block the hacker’s access to the message.


Scientists are working to find new ways to apply quantum theory to technology. Once perfected, QKD will be a breakthrough in preventing data breaches and hacking.


Technology is constantly evolving and advancing, sometimes with unexpected results, but we can be certain that interesting times are ahead.


Jay R. Shedd is executive vice president of CPL, the parent company of PTI Pacific Inc. which does business as IT&E, IP&E. He has more than 30 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, business development, sales and marketing.


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