Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Cyber Security is Recovery Focus as 5G Enthusiasm Wanes 

The urgency of 5G wireless rollouts has diminished among executives in a monthly survey of global business conditions as enterprises shift their pandemic recovery focus to more pressing matters like securing virtual workforces and ensuring data privacy.

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s monthly Global Business Barometer released this week finds that nearly 42 percent of executives surveyed feel 5G is “somewhat less important” to their company’s recovery. Of greater importance as more employees work from home are cyber security and data privacy, cited by 44 percent of respondents as “much more important” to restoring profitability.

Risk management and greater adoption of cloud computing to connect workers were both cited by about 40 percent of executives when asked what factors are driving their recovery efforts.

The survey found that most companies remain in “survival” mode as they look for ways to adapt and recover from the economic impact of the pandemic. Among the earlier adaptations likely to remain permanent features of the post-pandemic workplace are teleconference tools. Hence, executives are striving to minimize risks associated with data security and privacy.

The survey concludes that, for now, most executives see network security driving their recovery.

Those immediate concerns have lessened enterprise enthusiasm for much anticipated 5G wireless rollouts previously seen as key to scaling Internet of Things and other edge network deployments. The survey found that only 5.8 percent of respondents consider 5G networks “much more important” to their recovery efforts.

“The rollout of 5G networks has been greeted with controversies linked to geopolitical concerns [and] the COVID-19 outbreak,” the survey found. “Or, more likely, faster wireless connections are a nice-to-have at the moment given that current 4G networks have so far proven sufficient for keeping the lights on.”

Overall, company executives are “less pessimistic” about the prospects for a recovery. The Economist unit reported that its three-month global outlook for a recovery has risen 11.7 points since the April 2020. Recovery sentiment was highest in Europe, where efforts to contain the novel coronavirus has been relatively successful.

North American executives were less optimistic. For example, Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Antonio Neri, said last week the company expects a “U”-shaped recovery, the major unknown being how far apart are the two ends of the “U.”

Meanwhile, recovery sentiment in China registered the largest three-month decline, nearly 22 points, after the Chinese government abandoned its annual GDP target for the first time in decades.

Separately, a survey released this week by Atlas VPN found that Asian technology startups have been hardest hit by the pandemic, with revenues declining 39 percent.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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