Last year was a wake-up year for businesses still running systems with static and siloed data. They were unable to adapt at the pace required to meet operational challenges dealt out by global supply chain shortages, let alone integrate new technologies to help change their business models. The pandemic showed us that businesses need real-time results to adapt quickly and efficiently to external pressures, explains Sumeet Puri, the chief technology solutions officer at Solace. He identifies the three key developments that will enable business-critical data to get moving in real time for businesses:

When it comes to dealing with issues such as supply chain shortages or demand shocks, static data slowed down decision making, meaning organizations could not drastically change operations as soon as the pandemic hit, and its ripple effects continued to resonate. The quick turnaround of trying to rearchitect business models left many looking into the neglected areas in their IT systems, meaning their agility and adaptability to adapt to the rapid changing time of the pandemic suffered.

Getting data into motion for some real-time insights

To deliver the data in the right place at the right time, what’s needed are real-time insights and an IT focus on getting the data moving for the use and benefit of businesses, their employees and their customers. Businesses need to stream data “events” for everyone within the organization, and these critical data points range from inventory updates, customer requests, sensor readings and many more.

But when data gets into motion, it has the capability to shape new ways of integrating technology and doing business, and we’re talking long-term. Want to know how this can be made possible? By installing an event mesh which provides an infrastructure layer to distribute events through decoupled applications, devices, and even cloud services. It’s this event-driven infrastructure, that underpins my three predictions for IT software developments in the rest of 2022 and beyond, looking at 5G to mitigate supply issues, the rise of decentralized finance and even the hot topic of the moment – the meta-driven future.

  1. EDA connects the unconnected

In 2022 and beyond, moving data in real-time between increasingly distributed application architectures will be a high priority. In response, Forrester sees event-driven architecture (EDA) as the first key trend impacting software development this year. Specifically, “the growth of distributed application architecture hits a wall when only using synchronous APIs for integration due to fragility and scalability limitations. Over the years, EDA has gained more interest as it addresses this wall through APIs, microservices, and integration. We predict that in 2022, that interest will expand, with 35% of enterprises putting a major focus on EDA.”

EDA enables data to be moved in real-time event streams via an event mesh, helping link together previously unconnected processes across businesses running multiple siloed systems. Recent research confirms this need for EDA. A global study of C-Suite and IT architecture professionals has found that 85% of organizations are looking to incorporate real-time data and event-driven architecture (EDA) into their operations.

Leading edge industries looking to exploit real-time movement of data include financial services, retail and manufacturing – all industries where automation, APIs and IoT technologies are converging. As we expand out from this event-driven approach to move data in real-time, we see its mainstream impact on some more macro-level trends set to define the next 12 months.

  1. 5G enables richer data to get in motion, benefitting business processes across multiple industries

Data flows – data that moves in real-time across increasingly complex environments – are vital to enable business processes to protect against challenges such as the huge supply chain disruption we’ve seen. It is at the very heart of event driven infrastructure. We’ve seen during the pandemic the need for smart inventory management, goods tracking and supply chain optimization, all of which rely heavily on the essential flow of data. The data underpinning these processes is wide and all-encompassing; think location, order status, and the whole lead to cash and source to pay process. All of this is becoming real-time and connected as event streams.

Enter 5G. If we combine this event-driven infrastructure with quicker connectivity advancements such as 5G, we see the potential for richer data to move quickly over an event mesh, between processes such as eCommerce, CX, warehouses, plants, transport and logistics, and business insights and reporting – all in real-time.

Statistics indicate that 5G increases data rates from 1GB per second to 20GB per second, increases data traffic from 7.2 exabytes per month to 50 exabytes per month and reduces latency from 10ms to <1ms.

Everyone involved in a supply chain, from finance to manufacturing and distribution and, critically, the end-customer, will become more cohesive and connected via real-time streams.

And it’s the end customer and their experience which shape my final, more futuristic, prediction for next-gen B2C interactions.

  1. AR makes the metaverse a virtual reality

I see customer experiences heading into the metaverse, with retail interactions, for example, taking place over 3D, virtual or augmented reality environments. In the next few years, how do you think we will buy a new pair of sunglasses, or the latest dress or shoes online? Your avatar will roam in a virtual mall in 3D, try items on in 3D and pay, all with the click of a button or a tap on a smart device. Welcome to the Metaverse, where research corroborates 66% of consumers say they are particularly interested in using AR.

Granted, we are still in the Nokia 3310 era of virtual reality at the moment; the smartphone form factor is probably around five years away! But the common theme will be movement data at speed to support such next-gen metaverse interactions, and the key enabler in making this happen is event-driven architecture.

Consider the impact of the metaverse on another data-heavy industry such as financial services, where transaction numbers are huge, and systems must run 24x7x365. Decentralized Finance (DeFi) is on the rise, with predictions that the market will reach $800 billion within the next year. The convenience of a decentralized approach is clear to see, with financial institutions bypassing intermediaries to deal directly with each other in a secure, rapid manner. But to make Decentralized Finance a reality, financial institutions must be able to interface their core systems with a distributed ledger, and this is where event brokers – and in turn the event mesh – come into play.

McKinsey believes there is more to be done to address the digital divide in customer experiences, and data will be at the core of this change: “With the rise of big data and predictive analytics, companies can now build a customer-management capability that is holistic, predictive, prioritized, and value-focused.”

The metaverse (or Omniverse) by definition cannot be static and non-reactive or disconnected from the real physical world. It needs to be a 3D digital twin of the real world. It needs to be connected in real-time with other meta verses and the real world; it needs to be in motion. It needs an event driven architecture and a real-time event mesh to support it.

Data will be on the move in 2022 and beyond

The push for moving data at speed is a business pre-requisite in the current global economy, especially with data getting richer and richer as time goes on. Having the fluidity and flexibility to move data around the key areas of business that are in need is of critical importance, especially with the continued supply chain problems, globalized nature of doing business and rising customer service expectations. All of this business-critical data needs to be mobilized by an event-driven approach to IT architecture before we move into the next phase of digital life.