Looking Forward to 2022: Industry Predictions for the Year Ahead
January 21, 2022
We recently took the opportunity to reach out to a number of industry colleagues and asked them to scry with crystal balls and reveal their prognostications for the year ahead – and this is what they foretold!
Director, Submarine Networks EMEA
Simon Webster has a degree in Physics from Oxford University, plus master’s and Business qualifications from the University of London and Henley Management College, respectively. He has been with NEC since 1994, and currently heads NEC’s business in EMEA for submarine cable networks and ocean observation systems. He has held many previous roles over this time, in areas including terrestrial optics, access networks and mobile applications.
A Strengthened Virtuous Circle – As a result of the way we have adapted to travel limitations in the last two years, we can expect changes in our working styles to have long-term effects. For many people, video calls and home working will be features of business life for years to come, and that of course means more live streaming content. 5G networks are now a reality for many, and we expect that the virtuous circle formed between; (a) the availability of global end-to-end capacity, and (b) the appetite for users and developers to consume that capacity, to strengthen in 2022.
Growing Content and Global Capacity Demand – Looking forward, new ways of connecting people are being imagined and developed which will demand ever more connectivity and capacity from communication networks. Game-changing technologies such as AR and VR are advancing at pace, along with other co-enablers in the realms of commerce, privacy, and other areas. It is perhaps unlikely that 2022 will be described by future historians as “the year of the metaverse”, but there is every reason to expect growing demand for content and global capacity in the current decade.
Growing High Fiber Count Cable Demand – Given the above, the outlook for international subsea capacity demand is highly positive. In technology terms, this demand will be mainly met in 2022 by high fiber count cables. We are currently manufacturing 24 fiber pair cables for imminent deployment on transoceanic trunk systems, with other innovations such as multicore fiber following along shortly afterwards – subject as ever to considerations of techno-economic viability, which underpin our industry.
Proving Corporate Social Responsibility Credentials – Finally, on a different level, we are seeing increasing demands from cable investors to prove our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) credentials, not just in terms of headline environmental sustainability numbers, but also in demonstrating leadership in deeper supply chain management, covering issues such as health and safety, resilience to rapidly-changing market conditions, and so on. 2022 will see no change in this direction of travel.
Patricio Alberto Rey Sommer is General Manager of Desarrollo País (Fondo de Infraestructura S.A.) and an industrial civil engineer, with a master's degree in engineering sciences from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. In his professional career, he has worked in operational and financial areas of various companies such as Procter & Gamble, Budnik and Prize. He has also worked in the public sector, planning for the Regional Ministerial Health Authorities and Mayor of the Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins Region, where he led reconstruction projects after the earthquake of February 22, 2010. Previously, he covered the role of Manager of the National Network, of the Chilean Chamber of Construction (the union that brings together the main Chilean builders, contractors, and concessionaires). He currently holds the position of General Manager of Desarrollo País (Fondo de Infraestructura S.A.) from where he seeks to promote the development of sustainable and resilient infrastructure for Chile.
Hybrid work is here to stay – We have tasted the benefits of combining remote with onsite work. This will keep pressure on the global network requirements and even increase traffic as new innovative solutions will be offered to workers and companies. We are seeing companies selling part of their offices aiming on keeping this model. More extreme solutions could allow workers to work from very far away blurring national borders and lightening pressure on real estate markets.
Living with the Pandemic – We will have to find a way to live with the pandemic. Booster shots will be provided every semester and the fastest we resume business as usual and leverage our new routines with communication technology the most competitive we will be. Business travel should resume at a lower (more essential) level but arrive to some normality.
This article contains predictions for 9 industry experts including Tim Doiron of Infinera, Jim Fager of Global Cloud xChange, Jerry Brown of Ocean Cables Ltd, Sean Bergin of APTelecom, Robert Lingle, JR. of OFS, Alex Vaxmonsky or Equinix, and Chris Van Zinnicq Bergmann of WFN Strategies.