Tech Trends Driving Higher Education in 2021 and Beyond

The campuses that were bustling with life a year ago now have a deserted look. The dormitories, classrooms, and practical rooms all wait for normalcy to return. The pandemic has impacted all walks of life, and the universities are no different. As per the latest New York Times survey comprising 1,900 American colleges and universities, there have been 397000 cases and about 90 deaths due to the coronavirus.

The explosion of the virus and the regulations to curb the spread have expedited the adoption of technology. Universities that were warming up to technology before the pandemic are now swiftly embracing technology to overcome the pandemic’s challenges and chart out their future course of action.

Here are the top trending technologies that have got the education industry’s attention and are sure to have a long-standing impact on the education industry and system.

AI drives operational and administrative efficiency

AI’s impact on the education sector or specifically in higher learning institutes can be manifold. Many universities or institutions are already leveraging AI to deliver time-sensitive academic and admin tasks, increase enrollment, improve IT processes and amplify the learning experience. A Wall Street Journal article noted that the Georgia Institute of Technology addressed 40% of student’s queries using an AI-powered chatbot assistant freeing up humans to tackle complex questions. AI could also spell good news for students with hearing and visual impairments by refining language translations and providing improved access.

While AI’s potential has been a topic of discussion at institutions, its adoption in the education industry is still lagging. A 2019 survey revealed that implementation was the most significant challenge institutions faced in adopting AI. Only 41% of universities have chalked out a strategy on utilizing AI. Another major deterrent is the cost involved, with 57% of institutions having a separate budget for AI projects.

Hybrid learning delivers continuity, convenience, and safety

With the contagious virus on the prowl student, health and safety have become priorities for institutions. The learning environment is poised for a significant overhaul. Hybrid learning or blended learning is the best option available to institutions. The students’ young age on campus is another reason hybrid learning is a perfect fit for the current day and age. Statistics from Bill and Melinda Foundation reveal the 55% of today’s college and university students are Gen Zers. The new generation of students is well averse to using technology. Pew Research highlighted that 95% of Gen Zers have access to smartphones while close to 97% use one of the major learning platforms.

A recently concluded survey by the Institute of International Education has revealed that 9 out of 10 universities in the US plan to implement the hybrid learning model across their campuses. 92% of institutions participating in the survey suggested looking at a wholly revamped instructional plan starting fall 2020.

Immersive, engaging, and impactful learning experiences using AR/VR

Not long ago, the thought of remote learning, especially for higher education, was a distant dream. The biggest challenge to any such suggestion was the impact of in-person classes conducted by the professor in charge, the face-to-face interactions, live demonstrations, and the practical sessions. The emergence of the coronavirus and the social distancing regulation compelled colleges to go digital. Every need has a solution. In this case, the need for real conversations, universities turned to AR/VR that had already made inroads into the classroom. As per Burroughs, 2018 and Internet2, 2019, as of 2018, 18% of universities and colleges had fully deployed VR, 28% had used it to some extent, and 32% were testing the technology. Gartner predicts that by 2021, 60 higher education institutions in the United States will focus on using VR to create simulations and put students into immersive environments.

Through its Virtual Immersive Teaching and Learning (VITaL), San Diego State University’s Instructional Technology Services is using VR capabilities to teach students astronomy. Students in Western Carolina University’s (NC) School of Nursing are using VR to virtually attend to rare emergencies and understand how to attend to such instances. In another compelling use case, Fordham University’s (NY) Gabelli School of Business teaches its students lessons in leadership and teamwork using VR. Students in this particular exercise walk on a 1400 foot skyscraper urged by team members or guided by fellow students to diffuse bombs.

Robust ‘anywhere’ learning systems with cloud technologies

Campuses are sophisticated systems similar to bustling cities. Apart from learning systems, they provide transportation, campus safety, accounting, administration, and everything else required to run a well-oiled system for the residents, in this case, the students. All these facilities provided by the institutions need to run cohesively. Embracing the cloud enables institutions to create a data-centric mindset and rely more on quantifiable data measurement to drive and assess enrollment functions. Institutions are adopting cloud products to leap towards process re-engineering to aim for system-wide digital transformation. The approach will reduce information silos and enable standardization of data driving information sharing, boosting efficiency and sustainable growth.

The pandemic has put an enormous financial burden on institutions. Budget cuts for public institutions and diminishing private funds and endowments have further crippled institutions’ financial capability to harness cloud capabilities helping colleges and universities balance their expenses while benefiting from the high-standard IT services.

The Julliard School for performing arts having its physical presence in New York, will be training 800 students from 42 different countries. The faculty will be training all these students from its campus in Manhattan. The cloud powers Julliard’s digital foray.

Conclusion

Like every other industry, the higher education domain needs a revamp. Campuses across the United States are increasing digital transformation speed to face any unforeseen eventuality. Trigent is at the forefront of enabling institutions and universities to quickly and efficiently utilize technology advances. Our domain expertise empowers institutions to promptly ramp-up capabilities backed by our technology experts.

Let us together build a digitally strong foundation for an empowered future. Call us today.

Why retail should dovetail cloud for success?

The year 2020 has been a year of learning for all industries. The unprecedented scale and reach of the pandemic encompassing the world impacted every region and industry. Retail in the United States is no different. Sales dropped from $5.47 trillion in 2019 to $4.89 trillion in 2020 due to the virus and restrictions to curb the pandemic. The prevailing condition demands that the retail industry, like every other industry, initiate or increase its speed of adopting technologies that enable businesses to face the new normal. Cloud plays an essential role in this transformational journey. A major driver set to act as the backbone, enabling the adoption of technologies and delivering desired business results. The global retail cloud market that stood at $11.89 billion will touch 39.63 billion by 2026, emphasizing cloud as a significant driving force that will propel the retail sector in the future.

Here are some of the factors that make the cloud a lucrative proposition for retailers.

In-sync operation

Many brick and mortar stores or offline stores still depend on legacy systems. Dependence on legacy impacts the integration of various business operations such as inventory, shipping, development, and POS. Migrating to the cloud enables retailers to get the different business operations in sync and get a consolidated view of all departments and locations in real-time. A real-time view of the inventory, shipment, and other business processes enables an in-sync seamless functioning across the organization.

Superior Customer Experience (CX) and convenience

The experience-driven economy has furthered the emphasis on personalization. Not only is there a demand for superior, seamless experiences, but users also want these experiences to be personalized. 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand that provides personalized experiences. Retailers are well placed to provide to their customers what they demand. With a gold mine of customer and sales data, retailers can utilize cloud-enabled computing capabilities to analyze data. Cloud allows retailers to get a unified view of data from multiple sources, enabling the retailers to make data-driven, timely decisions. Moving to the cloud also boosts the performance of web applications ensuring that users do not abandon the site due to slow performance and a poor experience.

Scalability

Many reasons impact the sale of products. It could be the launch of a new product from a renowned brand or end of season sale that causes a spike in sales. The retail industry is also impacted by peak demand during particular seasons, such as the holiday season. As per Adobe Analytics, online retail sales grew 32.2% from 2019 to touch $188.2 billion during the holiday season. Similarly, the sales could also dip owing to low demand and other factors. Cloud helps retailers to prepare for such eventuality. Cloud-enabled systems can be programmed for scalability, meaning they can be automated to meet the requirements in case of a surge and limit the use of resources in case of a dip. Retailers can also save big on infrastructure investments and costs by using many cloud service providers’ pay per use model.

Retailers are looking for technologies that can immediately impact their business. They are either already experimenting or looking to build solutions that enhance customer experience and drive growth. Cloud works as the perfect catalyst in this transformational journey for retailers as it powers agility and provides the platform to build modern apps faster and at scale, anytime-anywhere.

Explore the latest trends in technology that are shaping the future of retail. Learn how Trigent’s expertise can help you conquer the cloud and get an edge over the new normal.

Incorporate the latest capabilities in cloud technology with Trigent’s team of certified cloud experts. Our suite of cloud services encompassing cloud advisory, cloud-native application development, cloud architecture, migration services, and cloud management is equipped to support you at every stage of your cloud journey.

Cloud: a lifeline for the healthcare Industry

The healthcare industry has been steadily expanding, owing to a rising aging population and the growing trend of wellness centers. With a pandemic in the mix, however, the industry has been left burdened and unprepared. The silver lining here is that people have embraced telehealth services. With the onset of Covid 19, the number of users accessing e-healthcare services has catapulted. Doctors can now provide remote care to patients from the safety of their homes, making life easier for everybody involved.

Cloud has played a heroic role in these trying times. Even those that swear by traditional systems established regulations, processes, and operational methods, have had to make the mental, cultural, and ultimately, physical switch to the Cloud. Admittedly for them, the pros outweigh the cons.

Saving time, reducing costs, increasing efficiency

When Hunterdon Healthcare, a healthcare center in New Jersey, migrated to the Cloud, they saved $1.3 million in IT costs. With a Cloud-based system, tasks are simplified, making the turnaround quick and seamless. Processes are streamlined, thereby eliminating silos and enhancing resource utilization. Cloud-based technology brings with it a sense of ease and convenience, cutting down administrative and hardware costs in the process. In hospitals that use legacy systems, a lot of time and effort is lost on manual data collection and transfer, notwithstanding the additional costs invoked by human error. Cloud brings operational efficiency into play – giving patients better care and healthcare organizations a better bottom line. While there is an initial cost incurred to transform legacy systems into Cloud-based ones, in the long run, the cost of running the latter is much lower. Right now, as physicians, nurses, and other healthcare workers are (at best) experiencing exhaustion, Cloud-based systems are proving to be a necessary, life-saving investment.

Interoperability and collaboration

Interoperability between hospitals, diagnostic centers, clinics, dispensaries, pharmacies, etc., is perhaps the biggest advantage of Cloud. Different information technology systems can communicate with each other, making it easy to compile a complete and comprehensive patient history record – this helps physicians make informed decisions. Further, with Cloud, one can access patient data and other applications remotely – this drastically scales the reach of medicine, especially to rural areas. Research into Covid 19 has shown that individuals with pre-existing conditions and compromised immunity are more susceptible to the virus. When testing for Covid 19, access to one’s complete medical records helps doctors prioritize cases and provide care accordingly.

Real-time remote care

Transcending time, distance and other variables, cloud-enabled IT relays real-time information, which cuts down the time, cost and effort involved in physically going to a healthcare facility, waiting for an appointment, etc. Real-time e-diagnosis has been widely helpful amidst the pandemic, ensuring that people do not unnecessarily put themselves at risk by visiting hospitals for non-Covid-related medical issues. Instead, complying with social distancing norms, telehealth services help doctors communicate directly with patients, and make a diagnosis (and if necessary, a treatment plan) without putting either party at risk. Research by McKinsey and Company shows that out of a number of people that had canceled medical appointments during the lockdown, 44% accessed telehealth options. They also found that online searches for telemedicine increased more than ninefold. Since Cloud-based healthcare facilities keep track of the numerous technological advances in medicine, it helps improve patient outcomes, giving them an advantage over facilities that do not use Cloud services.

Data security on cloud

The biggest apprehension with cloud-based systems is data security. The confidentiality and security of one’s medical data is an obvious concern, but Cloud systems can reduce risks by complying with regulations and policies like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).

Skilled personnel

Other worries include internet connectivity issues, unskilled personnel, and worries over a lack of the ‘human’ element. The implementation of training programs will help familiarize staff with the workings of Cloud systems. As for the human element or the lack thereof, it is important to note that like with everything else in the service industry, healthcare too, has had to be tailored to suit consumer expectations in terms of speed, comfort, etc. If anything, therefore, Cloud-based systems provide patients with a value-based service.

Although it took a pandemic to catalyze the industry’s adoption of cloud services, there is no denying that it is the future of healthcare. The benefits and undiscovered potential of Cloud could redefine diagnoses, treatments, and more. Trigent helps healthcare organizations that are at any Cloud maturity stage – whether it is on an advisory level, migrating from a legacy system to the Cloud, developing a particular application, adapting portfolios to match the evolved Cloud architecture or any other Cloud service.

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Ref:

  • Siwicki, B. (2019). Hunterdon Healthcare migrates to Google Cloud/G Suite and saves $1.3 million.
  • Fabius, V., Kohli, S., Timelin, B., & Veranen, S. (2020). Meet the next-normal consumer.

How to Plan Your Datacenter Migration to the Cloud

Cloud computing is on every CIO’s mind but not always for the right reasons. This could be because of the fears related to security, business continuity, cost efficiency and data availability. Summarizing these sentiments, Lydia Leong, Vice president and distinguished analyst with Gartner says, “Efficiency-driven workload migration demands a different mindset and approach than agility-driven cloud adoption. The greatest benefits are derived from cloud-enabled organizational transformation, yet such transformations are highly disruptive and difficult. Moving to cloud IaaS without sufficient transformation may fail to yield the hoped-for benefits, and may actually result in higher costs”.

Datacenter migration

Datacenter migration requires evaluation of the weight of the data residing in the data center, and its current age and capacity. For example, if it is on its last leg, it might be better to decommission the data center and migrate to the cloud. If there are capacity limitations, these could also be reasons for considering cloud migration.

Then you would need to evaluate existing skill sets. If the internal IT organization does not have the requisite skillsets for cloud migration, it might be best to look for a cloud solutions service provider. The partner firm should have a strong reputation, experience in cloud technologies, and have a dedicated team of cloud specialists. If these technologists have industry experience, it would be even better.

The partner firm should be able to work out a thorough business case, perform a cost analysis, and prioritize workloads for a successful migration. The vendor needs to define the scope and road map for the migration. This immediately sets a context in terms of timelines and costs involved. It also prepares the existing teams for what is in store. During the discovery stage, the vendor should do a thorough analysis of the on-premise data center to prioritize it accordingly for migration.

Transition from “difficult to change” to Evolutionary Cloud Architecture

Data collection has to be as intense and exhaustive as possible to ensure that gaps are avoided. The vendor needs to work with the internal IT stakeholders to ensure that the data center is evaluated thoroughly, for a robust application inventory. This step could take at least a fortnight to complete but is crucial to planning capacity for cost optimization.

The above few steps naturally lead to the next one where the vendor does a deep analysis of critical information. The analysis will be comprehensive and map the migration to overall organizational goals, identify workloads and group them accordingly. This gives a clear perspective on cloud and infrastructure requirements post-migration and the costs for long term maintenance. Along with all these, there will need to be a plan for disaster recovery.

The final step, i.e. of creating a formal workload migration plan will be proposed by the vendor. Depending on the findings, the vendor may propose a wave or tier approach, to ensure short term return on investment and minimize operational disruptions. This migration plan is the blueprint or detailed architecture of how the migration will proceed.

Trigent Software’s 6 Keys to Successful Cloud Migration

  • Gain executive sponsorship and develop a strategy early
  • Portfolio assessment: Review and select the right applications to migrate
  • Budget for migration costs: tools, services, skilled resources
  • Start small and scale
  • Re-host (Lift and Shift) – low risk & reward
  • Re-platform (lift-and-reshape) – medium risk, high reward
  • Re-architect – high risk, high reward
  • Identify risks and ensure operational continuity
  • Create a repeatable plan and process to improve it.

Do you need help to securely and efficiently migrate your datacenter? We can help.

Single or Multi-cloud?

A recent study by 451 Research indicates that nearly a third of large organizations work with four or more cloud vendors, making one wonder whether multi-cloud is the future of cloud computing. The recent acquisition by Google of Orbitera, a platform that supports multi-cloud commerce, shows that Google recognizes that multi-cloud environments are the future. In a market estimated by Gartner to be worth $240 billion next year, multi-cloud creates a new front in the so-called “cloud computing wars.” This can only be good news for those businesses looking for flexibility, cost savings, and ultimately better solutions.

It appears that organizations that prefer multiple cloud providers have very logical reasons for this. They use multiple cloud providers to support specific applications or workloads. For example, a core application may need more resilience to perform when power is lost or expand to capacity and another department within the same organization may need the cloud to enhance productivity. Having one single cloud solution may compromise its outcome, which is probably why large companies with multiple functions may end up with several clouds. Another reason, as per a report by Ovum, seems to be overall dissatisfaction with a single cloud service provider. Key reasons cited include poor service performance and a lack of personalized support.

Related: We build impactful cloud solutions that solve challenging business problems.

One more reason could be that companies vary of keeping all their applications and workflows in one single cloud, because it can leave them vulnerable and reduce their pricing negotiation powers with the provider, in the long term.

While the logic behind a multi-cloud environment may seem sensible, the fact remains that it can be difficult to jostle between clouds. While cloud providers make it easy to move applications to their platforms, leaving it is not easy, to ensure that their business is not reduced to a price-sensitive commodity.

Also, some organizations are worried about the downtime involved in moving petabytes of data

Many organizations are rightly concerned about the downtime involved in moving petabytes of data between cloud providers. Fortunately, the same patented Active Data Replication technology that all the major cloud vendors offer to make it simple for customers to move to the cloud can also be used to migrate data between the clouds.

The ramifications of this are huge. While Amazon Web Services (AWS) remains the dominant player in the space, businesses wanting the freedom to juggle multiple cloud services and avoid vendor lock-in may well help the other players to catch up.

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