Vertiv, a US-based company, is focused to solve the most important challenges facing today’s data centers, communication networks and commercial and industrial facilities with a portfolio of power, cooling and IT infrastructure solutions and services that extends from the cloud to the edge of the network. Vertiv brings together hardware, software, analytics and ongoing services to ensure its customers’ vital applications run continuously, perform optimally and grow with their business needs. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, USA, Vertiv employs approximately 20,000 people and does business in more than 130 countries. In an interaction with NCN, Prashant Bhatia, VP – Sales, Vertiv India, shares their company’s policy, operational profile and plans for 2021 and beyond.
Q1. How did COVID-19 and lockdown affect different sectors?
This pandemic and the current global crisis are unprecedented and have made companies rethink their way of working. According to data released by the National Statistical Office, the outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdowns led to the contraction of the Indian economy by 23.9% in June 2020. Companies were figuring out ways to keep their businesses afloat and restore business continuity especially in sectors like manufacturing, transport & logistics, hospitality and others.
While most sectors were adversely affected, some sectors have managed to maintain business as usual, despite the new models of operating remotely. Due to restrictions on the movement of people and goods, the e-commerce sector has provided the necessary means to ensure both essential and non-essential products reach consumers. The telecommunication industry has been essential in ensuring that people, governments, and organizations stay connected with one another. With work-from-home and learn-from-home becoming the new norm, EduTech companies and the IT sector have provided the right platforms to support students and employees through this challenging time. Online gaming and online streaming have become very popular as people had to fall back on these platforms for entertainment.
Given this dramatic increase in the volume of data being consumed due to remote working, companies have had to ensure they are equipped with the right infrastructure to support these increased data loads. We at Vertiv have continued to work during and post the lockdown in order to support organizations, providing critical digital infrastructure to them and ensuring business continuity. As the country gradually progresses towards restoring movement of people, goods and services, the disrupted economy has already started to show green shoots.
Q2. What important technology trends do you foresee for 2021?
As the world is currently experiencing an extraordinary global crisis, organizations are slowly recovering from the impact of the lockdowns and figuring out ways to bring business operations back to normalcy. As a result of remote working, companies are now operating in a tech-driven world where digital transformation is crucial to business continuity. Companies need to build more resilient work-from-anywhere business processes in order to manage any unexpected future crisis such as this pandemic. With this background, some of the technology trends we foresee for 2021 are:
- The 5G conversation will be focused on Energy Consumption and Efficiency: Remote working has increased the amount of data being produced and consumed and has therefore increased the demand for broadband for daily consumption. Based on this trend, 5G will be a gamechanger for both organizations and consumers. With people now working remotely, the amounts of data being transferred and consumed has increased dramatically and hence requires high-speed internet to support these increased loads.
As the world starts to adopt 5G technology, the focus will shift to the significant energy consumption increases brought on by 5G and strategies to deploy this more efficiently and effectively. The network densification necessary to fully realize the promise of 5G unavoidably adds to the increased energy demands – estimated to be 3.5x more than 4G. The coming year will see greater focus on managing that significant increase in energy consumption by exploring more efficient products and practices.
- Cyber Security: Another crucial aspect of work-from-home is to ensure the safety of employees’ devices and data. Given that people are working from multiple locations, digital security while accessing assets from any location is important. Cyber security mesh is a technology that allows companies to place a security wall around an individual rather than an organization. Protecting company information from cyberattacks in remote working locations can be challenging and hence companies will need to address this concern soon
- Digitalization on Fast Forward: COVID-19 will have a lasting effect on the workforce and the IT ecosystem supporting the new work-from-home model. Vertiv experts expect the pandemic-motivated investment in IT infrastructure to continue and expand, enabling more secure, reliable, and efficient remote work capabilities. Over time, what is done in-person versus remotely will change, and the change will be driven by customers looking to minimize their on-site presence. That places a premium on connectivity, remote monitoring, data analytics, and even artificial intelligence to make decisions.
- Automation: The new social distancing norms and increased attention being put on employees’ health and safety, require organizations to automate business processes in order to ensure business continuity. Companies will slowly adopt Robotic Automation Processes to manage some aspects of the business. This will help organizations be better equipped and more resilient in the event of another global crisis.
- Bringing Large Data Center Capabilities to Small Spaces and the Edge: The increase in data storage due to remote working has increased the load on datacenters to manage and compute large amounts of data on a daily basis. As some companies are exploring work-from-home on a more long-term basis, we will see an increase in adoption of edge computing to improve response time and save bandwidth. Today’s edge is more critical and more complex, functionally an extension of the data center rather than the glorified IT closet of the past. Cost and complexity have prevented implementation of data center best practices in these spaces, but that is changing. Vertiv’s experts anticipate a continued focus on bringing hyperscale and enterprise-level capabilities to these edge sites. This includes greater intelligence and control, an increased emphasis on availability and thermal management, and more attention to energy efficiency across systems.
Q3. What are your key priorities for 2021?
With the business dynamics making a drastic shift in the recent times, it has become imperative to identify potential sectors in the market to regain continuum. We, at Vertiv, are more focused on developing solutions around new business needs that have emerged as an outcome of the recent digital outbreak. We have invested heavily in R&D to develop new innovative solutions that are customer-focused and develop solutions that will address new business needs. This will also help us foray and expand into new markets. We have to adapt and evolve from our existing ways of doing business and create new business strategies that can address untapped market potential.
Q4. What innovative products and solutions can we expect from your side in 2021?
In the new selling era of “Touch Me Not” products and solutions, it becomes necessary to create a digital presence not only through products but through operations as well. This has led to extensive innovation, with the monitoring and control feature becoming an integral part of our offerings. Even today, customers with critical applications have been catered through extremely responsive remote management and monitoring solutions at spaces which are unmanned. Even predictive maintenance has become a norm today for every solution which would be tracked remotely to ensure critical applications are always up and running.
Q5. COVID-19 crisis is still not over. What is your business strategy in this scenario?
Businesses have shifted their operations towards a completely digitized window of interaction with customers. We are developing new customer connect programs that help keep our customers and partners engaged and posted with the latest technology updates from Vertiv. In order to leverage our business continuity plan, we have taken into account the new business dynamics and are ready to cater to every customer. We will be targeting all the upcoming customer projects, including the ones which got delayed due to the pandemic last year. For this we have adopted a proactive approach through our partners and internal workforce. We have a positive outlook for this year, and are happy that Vertiv, along with many other businesses, has already started to make strong headway in the right direction.
Q6. What is your post-pandemic strategy?
We at Vertiv have realized that we need to be ready with our plans and thought processes for the post-pandemic world. One of the major key strategies would be aligning our workforce closer to customers with the work-from-home(WFH) concept being widely practiced. This has led to the exploration of new opportunities in the demand for smaller UPS solutions that enable seamless work-from-home regimes. The new work-from-anywhere model has enabled the workforce to have flexible working hours with undefined workspaces. We have adapted, evolved, and grown through this pandemic with a major shift in the way businesses are carried out and customers are catered to, while keeping our workforce connected, secured, and satisfied.