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NetMotion 2021 Predictions: Refining Approaches, Resetting Expectations

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Refining Approaches, Resetting Expectations

By Joel Windels, CMO, NetMotion

The unprecedented amount of change in 2020 left little time for most people to do much more than react. Many companies were forced to stand up solutions to minimize disruptions to productivity while supporting remote work and adapting to fast-changing business conditions. As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella described in late April, years of digital transformation took place in a matter of just a few months. Core business principles like flexibility, adaptability, and agility went from nice-to-haves that support competitive advantages to being necessary for survival.

With 2020 in the rear-view mirror, the year ahead will provide more breathing room to reflect and reset expectations, allowing us to develop a more strategic and thoughtful perspective on technological innovation. With this in mind, below are three predictions for the year ahead. 

Remote Work Tools Will Undergo Sweeping Consolidation 

The stay-at-home orders that went into effect at the start of the pandemic created the world's largest distributed workforce, within a matter of days. In response, employers moved quickly to maintain continuity for both customers and employees. Their solution? A patchwork of remote security and collaboration tools designed to replicate the office environment, each with varying levels of success.

Undoubtedly, as we get a better handle on the pandemic, we can expect workplaces to reopen slowly. But with as many as 50% of employees likely never returning to the office on a full-time basis again, it's clear that remote work is here to stay. In 2021, organizations will have a bit more breathing room to evaluate the products they've been using, and become increasingly selective in the applications they deploy moving forward. With the time and space to focus on holistic platforms that place user experience at the forefront, employers will have more time to prioritize solutions that provide remote access without compromising connectivity, security, visibility or productivity. 

5G Dips into the Trough of Disillusionment 

The revolutionary promise of widespread 5G adoption has topped the list of technology trends for some time. From blazing fast data transfer speeds to ultra-low latency, proponents of 5G networks have long touted its transformative potential. The reality, however, continues to fall short of the stated promise. To borrow a term from Gartner's Hype Cycle, 5G is on the precipice of falling into the "Trough of Disillusionment." 

Indeed, the launch of the iPhone 12 will put more 5G devices into consumers' hands than ever before. But the proliferation of these devices won't reveal any overnight changes from a connectivity standpoint. Although AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile have made significant investments in recent years, the infrastructure required for establishing reliable and robust nationwide 5G service is still lacking. As a result, revolutionary advancements in telehealth, augmented reality and autonomous vehicles remain elusive - at least for next year - and we still have a long way to go before we begin to see the benefits of 5G. People's expectations, however, are so high that they are bound to be disappointed. 

Zero Trust Networks Become the Norm 

Traditionally, upgrading network infrastructure is a costly process that requires long-term planning. It's not uncommon for the evaluation, testing and deployment of significant network changes to take two or even three years. For these reasons, IT teams tend to prefer incremental change. 2020, however, had other plans. The explosive growth of remote work over the past year has resulted in more devices connecting to corporate networks remotely than ever before. The result? Cloud-based services have become mission-critical. But with an increasing number of mobile devices seeking on-demand network access, defining and maintaining a secure perimeter remains a challenge. 

While the rapid pace of change may have caught IT departments off guard, real upgrades are needed to improve the way companies monitor and enhance remote employees' work experience while ensuring their networks remain secure and uncompromised. From user identification to device authentication, 2021 will be the year that zero trust methodologies gain enormous traction in the security space. 

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About the Author

Joel Windels 

Joel is CMO at NetMotion,a provider of security solutions for the world's growing mobile and remote workforce. Before that, Joel was VP marketing at Wandera after five years as VP Inbound Marketing at social intelligence platform Brandwatch.

Published Tuesday, January 12, 2021 7:50 AM by David Marshall
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