In the past 24 months we’ve seen Artificial Intelligence (AI) go mainstream with consumers and enterprises. Today you can find AI in automobiles, appliances, wearables, speakers, buildings, industrial systems, and just about everything in between.
These advancements are truly remarkable, and yet we have an insatiable appetite for even better and faster technologies.
As more devices and data get pushed to the edge, a pesky reality emerges—smart devices become less intelligent, can tackle fewer complex tasks, and operate at slower speeds than we demand. The challenges intensify with the widespread use of Internet of Things (IoT), and as 5G becomes increasingly pervasive – but the benefits still outweigh the challenges.
With shifting customer needs, and a new global remote workforce, this is an incredible time for growth in the Telecommunications industry – and the competition is fierce among Communications Service Providers (CSPs) as they race to deliver and enable smarter, faster, and more powerful solutions and services.
To do so, many are betting big on the intelligent edge – the combination of advanced connectivity, compact processing power, and AI located near devices that use and generate data.
Unprecedented opportunity for innovation and growth
According to Deloitte, “The intelligent edge is poised to propel tech and telecom companies toward the next generation of connectivity and efficiency, driving another wave of industry growth.”
The firm predicts that in 2021, the global market for the intelligent edge will expand to $12 billion, continuing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 35 percent. Expansion in 2021 will be driven primarily by telecoms deploying the intelligent edge for 5G networks, and by hyperscale cloud providers optimizing their infrastructure and service offerings.
By 2023, 70 percent of enterprises will run some amount of data processing at the edge. With more devices and data at the edge and with more diverse bandwidth needing to emerge, CSPS have an opportunity to transform services and the way they are delivered.
In some cases, CSPs are using intelligent edge technologies to provide next-generation data centers and edge hubs to power dynamic connectivity for 5G. Having these capabilities enables CSPs to provide better service quality to subscribers and enterprise customers.
With the intelligent edge, enterprises can remove the traditional data center from the equation and allow the computation to occur precisely when and where it is needed most, all in real-time.
For example, game makers can instantly launch a new VR game by tapping into device intelligence, edge gateways, real-time access to a user’s surroundings – without sending data back and forth and speeding up the entire experience.
Oil rigs, farms, and military operations that often lack reliable connectivity can harness real-time data processing and AI technology to bring digital capabilities to remote regions and sensitive environments.
Another example is healthcare.
In 2020, COVID-19 accelerated the telehealth movement, and it continues to evolve at an amazing pace. By moving to the intelligent edge, healthcare professionals are expanding their remote patient monitor (RPM) capabilities to include people living in remote rural locations.
They can also extend home healthcare to communities that previously lacked the bandwidth to support these services. By reducing latency, and increasing computing power, the remote healthcare experience has become much more viable and effective.
The proof is in the numbers and a recent study indicates that 80 percent of telehealth patients are likely to have another virtual visit.
Whether it is healthcare, automotive, or manufacturing, the intelligent edge has and will continue to open the door to massive growth – and much of the innovation will be driven by and with CSPs. They have a unique opportunity to spark fundamental shifts and critical new revenue streams.
By bringing computing power to the data, not the other way around, CSPs are unlocking the ability to build products and services that will continue to keep us coming back for more. The next 2-3 years are going to be a race among the CSPs, each seeking to take advantage of the amazing technological era we’re living in.
AI, Edge, IoT, and 5G are here to stay – and when combined, there are no limits.
Ravi Kumar Palepu
SVP & Global Solutions Head, Telecom Practice
With more than 20 years of experience in the technology landscape building cutting edge solutions and products, Ravi Kumar Palepu has been in the forefront driving digital transformations for various communication service providers.
Palepu leads the technology council for Telco across locations, issues best practices as well as domain and technical competency for Telco accounts. He has exercised key operations as a part of Global Technology Office leadership and played vital role in filling the void between the GTO and the global Telco accounts.
How & Why People Engaged With Games During the Pandemic
Since the previous round of research, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated gaming trends already in motion, leading to an expanded gaming audience and through-the-roof engagement.
To that end, our data shows that over half of gamers in North America and Western Europe spent more time gaming since the pandemic began. Will that engagement continue after the pandemic?
We recently published that games market revenues will decline slightly this year, owing to people enjoying renewed freedom (and spending more disposable income on non-gaming activities). However, we think that the trend of using games as social spaces is here to stay.
In this article, we’ll explore how and why people played games during the pandemic, zooming in on engagement beyond playing alone. We’ll mainly focus on gamers in North America and Western Europe, and we’ll cover other markets in upcoming articles and infographics.
From Partying to Partying-Up: Is Gaming the New Clubbing for Younger People?
COVID-19-related restrictions and lockdowns have had a colossal impact on people’s lives. In many cases, gaming has replaced in-person socializing for players.
As we touched on earlier, 51 percent of gamers in Western Europe and North America reported spending more time playing games since COVID-19 began. While some of this engagement will drop once the world opens up again, many (new) gamers will continue engaging after the pandemic.
Our data also shows a clear connection between age and increased time spend playing games in these regions. As you can see in the image below, the younger the age group, the higher the likelihood of playing more:
We also asked gamers about the reasons why they play games. A third of 10-20-year-olds cite socializing as a major reason for playing.
The group is also more likely to cite competing and improving skills as major factors. Meanwhile, older age groups are likelier to value relaxing experiences:
Given the above, it’s unsurprising that online multiplayer modes are more popular among younger gamers across the two regions. According to our Consumer Insights, almost half of gamers aged between 10 and 35 claim they play online multiplayer modes most vs. 36 percent of those aged between 36 and 50.
Game-Related Engagement Goes Beyond Playing Games
We’ve long been proponents of gaming engagement beyond playing, like viewing and owning hardware, here at Newzoo. The popularity of live viewership shouldn’t be understated. By the end of this year, the games live-streaming and esports audiences will hit 728.8 million and 474.0 million, respectively.
But there’s more to gaming fandom than just playing games, viewing live streams, and owning peripherals. To reflect this, 2021’s Consumer Insights saw us putting more emphasis on other types of engagement.
We’ve established that gaming is an inherently social affair. Not only do many gamers play titles and watch their favorite creators live on sites like Twitch and YouTube; many also:
- Read, watch, and listen to industry news and developments via websites, apps, and podcasts.
- Actively contribute to discussions on Reddit, Discord, ResetEra, and other communities.
- And discuss developments with friends, family, and peers (virtually and in person).
More gamers than you might think engage in such behavior—even the more casual personas. According to our 2021 Consumer Insights:
- In the past six months, 80 percent of gamers in North America and Western Europe talked about games with peers.
- 61 percent engaged with gaming communities.
- And 60 percent visited gaming websites/blogs/listened to podcasts.
For some gamers, community engagement can even matter more than playing. That’s why we’re excited to announce our brand-new gamer persona, the Community Gamer.
Introducing the Community Gamer, Part of Newzoo’s Gamer Segmentation.
The Community Gamer is the ninth and newest persona in Newzoo’s Gamer Segmentation. The clue’s in the name: for this group, it’s all about the community.
The above image shows that, based on 33 markets, 10 percent of all game enthusiasts are Community Gamers, and social engagement and viewing are more important to this persona than playing.
Community Gamers also skew male, have an average age of around 29, and are likely to enjoy value non-competitive elements of games more, such as strong narratives and stories, exploration and open worlds, and specific themes.
The unique ways Community Gamers engage with games also means the ways brands and publishers can reach them are also unique.
Our Consumer Insights boasts plenty of insights into the social platforms these players can be found, the type of games they play most, demographics, and much more.
This uniqueness may be important, as this group drives online conversations by nature, making Community Gamers inherently influential on the online narrative around games, game-related brand promotions, and more.
This group, and many others, has been engaging with games even more throughout the pandemic, and our stance is that the trend of using games as social spaces will stick. Gaming was always massive, but now it’s even bigger. It’s bigger than movies, and is a true entertainment innovator.
Thanks to the burgeoning metaverse trend, social aspects of games will play an even more vital role going forward, and the community is at the heart of it all.
This article has been written by Amsterdam-based games and esports data company Newzoo, outlining the state of the global games market during 2021, and beyond.
How are AI and ML Turning the QA Industry?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are the big-time game-changers. From healthcare to the manufacturing industry or other verticals, they have managed to transform multiple sectors of the economy and are helping together to improve our daily lives in numerous ways.
Many workplaces such as education, retail, healthcare, finance, and technology leverage AI to reduce costs, automate tasks, and make data-driven decisions. In our homes, personal digital assistants, home automation, security cameras are real-life examples of AI. Similarly, Machine Learning plays a pivotal role in improving many industrial and professional processes.
For example, multiple industries and fields can utilize ML for image processing, medical diagnosis, learning association, regression, classification, and prediction.
How AI and ML will Redefine Software Testing & QA Industry
In the 21st century, companies are implementing AI in software testing across various areas to help businesses understand their customer behaviors using computer vision, knowledge graph technologies, and data. All these techniques help organizations target their audiences through personalization that helps drive more auxiliary revenue.
Today, AI is a buzzword and a critical factor for optimizing the testing process, designing the self-healing software, and overcoming test automation bottlenecks.
But the point is – How Machine Learning enters into the software testing company for Quality Testing?
As the volume of test data increases, Machine Learning could be the answer to sort through it all. Nevertheless, expanding test automation and maintaining it over time remains a challenge for DevOps organizations.
Development teams can apply ML in their test automation platforms for writing, execution levels, and post-execution test analysis that help in searching for patterns, trends, and business effects.
Why is it essential to use ML & AI in software development? Software testing alone can cost 25 percent to 40 percent of the overall project’s budget.
Testing any software application can be expensive but necessary to perform to ensure that it will work correctly. Larger companies already have dedicated teams for AI testing services to help get the maximum cost and business benefits. On the flip side, smaller development teams don’t provide you many options for software testing services.
That’s why it becomes essential today to choose the QA industry for its 500+ dedicated teams available across the globe always ready to help you. They not only reduce software development costs but offer accurate results with an advanced level of AI and ML testing and that too through AI-based software testing solutions.
Meanwhile, the growing market demands encourage QA industries to think about rapid development phases and look for ways that help in reducing cost, improving the scope and reliability of testing.
Moreover, market demands allow companies to deliver software before client expectations and deadlines. Similarly, it becomes vital for testers to move into the world of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, which ensures low pressure to them while working on the software testing processes.
Not only the QA industry, from medical sectors, governments, to Insurers, everyone is trying today to leverage Artificial Intelligence for several different purposes.
In case you are still not convinced with the idea of using AI for your software testing needs, let’s jump on the benefits of using AI in the software testingprocess taking you closer to the findings how AI and Quality Assurance can help enhance the software testing industry and its processes.
Benefits of Integrating AI in Software Testing
Undoubtedly, risk-based automation helps users understand which tests they need to perform to achieve the greatest coverage when getting the testing done in a limited time is a critical factor.
With the fusion of AI in test creation, implementation, and data analysis, testers of the Best Software Testing Company can eliminate the need for updating manual-based test cases.
By integrating Artificial Intelligence in software testing, one can identify relationships between defects and components in a far more efficient manner.
Here are some of the notable benefits of AI in software testing that you can check out one by one.
Shortening Software Development Lifecycles
How does AI affect Software Development? While Artificial Intelligence (AI) in software development is not a new concept. This technology is used for a couple of years to support human developers at every stage in the development life cycle.
In this era, engineering teams are on the frontier of talent and maturity as they release and update new software consistently. In addition, the use of microservices and the popularity of third-party APIs and other software packages leave development teams for building multiple software with hundreds of thousands of different dependencies, which require testing at each step.
The increasing demands of customers enable companies to shorten the lifecycle of software. Therefore, for every new feature, it becomes imperative to perform rigorous testing to make sure to consumers about software accuracy.
Given the breakneck pace of new product launches and software, companies have no choice left except to use Artificial Intelligence in software testing that helps in shortening the software development lifecycle and improves resource management, cooperation between participants, and cost-effectiveness.
Humans are prone to errors. Even the most proficient software tester can make mistakes while carrying out manual testing. This is where we need to introduce AI in software testing to perform tasks accurately whenever they execute.
With automated testing, testers don’t need to worry about working on repetition-based manual testing, which consumes a lot of time when it comes to creating software tests and dealing with complex features.
When using AI and ML (Machine Learning) in QA testing, it becomes feasible for developers to find a balance in Software Development and reduce pressures that they face while providing delivery of software at a specific deadline.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning are automation-dependent, which is a familiar topic to developers. So, the advanced features of AI and ML can apply to Software Testing to minimize the cost of complex releases and improve the pace and accuracy of the software.
Both AI and ML have come to transform the future of the software testing and QA industry. Wherefore, by integrating AI and ML into software testing, one can experience fruitful benefits.
AI & ML Improve Code Coverage
In Software Development, there is a regular debate over how much code coverage is sufficient for a testing suite. Some companies believe that software testing can achieve 100 percent code coverage, and some assume it a pipe dream.
Attaining 100 percent code coverage is impossible without automation, especially if you want to create adequate tests and wish for quality products.
The reason for the lack of code coverage in some testing processes is that customers’ demand changes over time, which means managing the development with testing and technology can become an over-burden process if you skip utilizing the AI and ML in your testing strategy.
The blend of both technologies assists in improving code coverage as the role of AI in automated testing is to support the development and maintenance of an application. However, ML needs the training to understand codebase and produce tests per the code units it finds.
With training, ML can learn context, predict outputs, and prioritize what matters most to customers. Additionally, it can generate tests to run automatically. Furthermore, it is possible to get automation for entire test suites that make it possible to achieve 100 percentcode coverage and a realistic proposition for many online projects.
Reduce Regression Testing Bottlenecks
The objective of regression testing is to ensure that software will work even after making code changes. It also assures that no bug will remain left in existing code after adding new features and introducing new updates.
Yet, this process is very time-consuming because predicting the new demand from the customer’s end is impossible. One should have to make a change in the software whenever any stakeholder requests it to do so. It is the responsibility of developers to make sure that the new change will never influence the existing codebase.
However, when this effort combines with the need to deliver minor updates quickly, regression testing causes a significant issue in the testing process. Thus, it is crucial to overcome such issues using AI-driven automated testing that lets you perform complete test suites for every change promptly.
AI can reduce risks better than humans, and this technology can combine with parallel testing to save testing time for other processes. Therefore, the future of the Software Testing and QA industry is AI and ML and will prioritize more to complete the variety of tasks within a short span of time, but with complete accuracy.
Automation, enhanced customer experience, intelligent decision making, business continuity, medical advances, research & data analysis, easy management of complex problems, and repetition tasks are some of the incredible benefits that you can acquire as a QA company while leveraging AI and ML to your Software Testing.
The young professional’s guide to mental health while remote working
2020 was an unprecedented year for most young professionals. Many hopefuls successfully graduated and found themselves with great opportunities to climb the career ladder at the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, their lives were taken for a spin once the COVID-19 pandemic hit. National lockdowns forced businesses to adopt remote workflows, effectively turning homes into workplaces.
Remote working is perhaps the biggest concern for young professionals these days. While it initially sounded great to work from home as the world weathered the pandemic, the reality was a lot harsher than we could’ve imagined. Remote working forced us into unhealthy habits, it damaged our mental health, and it limited the potential of many young workers that had only just joined their industries. This isn’t true for everyone of course, but it’s how the vast majority of young remote workers were feeling throughout 2020.
But that didn’t stop them from chasing success.
Young professionals are a hungry breed of employee that will stop at nothing to climb the career ladder and obtain success. Unfortunately, this hard-working nature is a double-edged sword that can end their career if they’re not careful. Overworking yourself in a remote environment can create many unhealthy habits, eventually leading to poor mental health and a feeling that you’ve hit a roadblock in your career. With few companies hiring, young professionals have found themselves trapped in their home offices by the COVID-19 virus.
So in this guide, we’re going to talk about the importance of looking after your wellbeing while remote working. We’re going to focus on young professionals and how they can progress their careers despite all of the challenges that come with remote working.
Why remote working is on the rise as a result of the pandemic
Globally, COVID-19 has over 91.4 million cases with just over 1.9 million confirmed deaths as of writing. This is a strong case for initiating lockdowns across the world in order to prevent the spread of the virus. By closing non-essential businesses and limiting travel options, lockdowns hope to slow down the spread of the virus while still maintaining the economy. In order to do this, many people need to switch to remote working positions with help from cloud-based workflows and other online-based systems.
This is the main reason why remote working is on the rise; it’s a countermeasure against lockdowns that prevent employees from coming to work. However, it’s also in the best interests of the business itself. Nobody wants their employees to get sick and being unable to work, so keeping them safe at home where they can still be productive is usually the best course of action.
It’s estimated that around 56% of the U.S. workforce currently has a job that is compatible, even if partially, with remote working. However, we also know that only 3.6% of the employee workforce actually practices this. Data from 2016 shows that 43% of the workforce does work from home at least some of the time, but this data was well before the lockdowns began.
With current data, it’s estimated that up to 30% of the workforce could be working from home by the end of 2021. This is due to a combination of factors:
- Businesses are starting to realize that work-from-home employees can be just as effective if given the right tools.
- It lowers operating costs since a smaller office can be used to run the business.
- More people are starting to overcome the challenges of working from home as they get accustomed to it.
- Reduced employee commuting means a lower carbon footprint for everyone.
- It opens up more recruitment opportunities across the world.
There are certainly benefits for both employees and employers when it comes to remote working, but it’s also surprisingly taxing on our mental health.
Why does remote working take a toll on our mental health?
Working from home has many psychological effects that a lot of people simply weren’t prepared for. This is something that freelancers and existing remote working employees had to cope with even before the pandemic, but it’s only recently coming to light due to the huge influx of remote working employees now.
Here are some of the most common problems that remote workers face when it comes to their mental health:
- Pressure to work extra hours or hours that they’re not accustomed to.
- Difficulties unplugging from work due to it being accessible on their computer or laptop.
- Loneliness due to a lack of colleagues to speak to in-person.
- Isolation due to being stuck at home because of lockdowns.
- Stress due to a lack of time management skills that are required when working from home.
- Depression caused by a lack of tangible career progress.
That last point is particularly important because depression can have far-reaching effects. The symptoms of depression can include bursts of anger, anxiety, agitation, increased cravings for food, or even unexplained physical problems like headaches and back pain. If you notice any of these symptoms when you work from home, then there’s a possibility that remote working has caused you to develop depression.
Thankfully, your mental health doesn’t have to suffer as a result of working from home as long as you take the right approach.
Addressing the challenges of remote working as an employee
Taking care of your mental health when working from home is important. Few people realize that burnout is a real medical condition that can easily affect people that work from home. In fact, 82% of remote working professionals said they experienced some kind of burnout while working from home, 52% of remote employees said they ended up working longer hours compared to when they were working in the office, and another 40% said they felt pressured to perform better and contribute more.
This shows that there are real consequences to working from home, especially if you’re not prepared. If it’s your first time working remotely, then it’s important to listen to advice from remote working professionals in order to take better care of your mental health. Here are some practical tips for young professionals to take better care of their mental health when working from home.
- Stick to a schedule. Although 40% of remote workers say that a flexible schedule is one of the biggest benefits of working from home, not sticking to a schedule can actually be detrimental. Having a predictable schedule is much easier on your mental health and ensures that you only work the hours you’re supposed to.
- Schedule regular breaks. It can be easy to forget to take a break because you’re more comfortable in a home environment. Make sure you schedule breaks now and then to ensure that you don’t overwork yourself. Give yourself some time to relax between work sessions.
- Create a comfortable work environment. A comfortable work environment will help you stay focused and relaxed. Make sure you have a great chair that is comfortable, ensure your desk is organized and has plenty of storage, and make sure your computer or laptop is at a height that is comfortable to use.
- Remove distractions. Distractions can prolong your work hours and make it hard to stay focused.
- Consider co-working spaces as an option. Some people find that co-working spaces encourage them to be more productive. It’s also a good option if you find it hard to avoid distractions at home, but of course bear in mind the lockdown situation in your area.
- Understand your limits. Working at home is no excuse to push yourself further than you normally would. Make sure you understand your limits and stick to a schedule so you avoid overworking yourself.
- Unplug from your work–literally. It’s important to unplug yourself from work if you find yourself staying up late to do last-minute things. Try literally unplugging by turning off your laptop and ignoring any calls or messages to your work phone.
- Don’t forget to communicate and engage. Despite feeling isolated at home, it’s a good idea to remember that you can still communicate and engage with people in order to further your career and be productive. Use messaging programs, video calls, and regular calls to stay in touch with colleagues and communicate effectively with senior managers.
It’s difficult to determine the best course of action to take if working remotely is mentally taxing for you. Everyone has their own problems, so it’s important to identify the issues that concern you the most so that you can deal with them step by step.
Addressing the challenges of remote working as an employer
A young professional doesn’t need to be an employee. “Young professional” can also be used to describe a line manager or even a young entrepreneur. If you’re in a leadership position in charge of multiple employees, then you also have a responsibility to look out for your team and their mental wellbeing.
A survey carried out by FlexJobs showed that around 40% of people have experienced burnout that is related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, around 37% of employed respondents said they were working longer hours than usual due to complications and unfamiliarity when working from home. As an employer or manager, it’s important that you look out for the wellbeing of your staff and seek ways to improve their remote working experience. This can help them stay productive, healthy to ultimately boost your business.
- Make mental wellbeing a priority. Far too many businesses overlook the importance of mental wellbeing in the workplace. This makes it even less likely that companies will be paying attention to mental wellbeing now that employees work from home. Burnout is a real issue that affects many workers around the world, so it’s important to make mental wellbeing a priority instead of an afterthought. Be proactive about your approach to mental wellbeing and you’ll find that your employees will be happier, more productive, and more likely to continue working with your company.
- Establish new channels of communication. Hearing from your employees is important, especially if they’re relatively new to remote working and the flexibility that it can offer. Stay in touch with employees by opening new channels of communication such as instant messaging with services like Slack, or check in on a weekly basis by emailing all of your team to give them an update on your projects and expectations. These channels should be used freely by encouraging your staff to come to you with any questions, concerns, or even if they have a lack of direction.
- Consider individual needs. The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented complication for businesses. As a result, there are likely going to be many unique circumstances that arise as a result of it. For example, parents may need to spend more time at home tutoring their children and preparing them for exams, or they might need extra help with home responsibilities and commitments. As such, you should always consider the individual needs of your staff and adjust accordingly but within reason.
Taking care of your employees is difficult, especially during these challenging times with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, you can minimize the impact it has on your business by taking care of your team and keeping their mental wellbeing in mind.
The COVID-19 pandemic is certainly having a massive impact on American mental health and wellbeing. It’s more important than ever before to consider your mental health as you work from home, especially if you’re concerned about personal commitments or even planning ahead with your career choices. COVID-19 has pulled the brakes on many of our careers, and the psychological damage it’s caused is immeasurable.
But with the right approach, it’s possible to stay positive, productive, and look ahead to the future in regards to your career. Whether you’re a young professional taking up their first management role or an employee hungry to climb the career ladder, balancing your wellbeing with your work responsibilities is the key to staying healthy both physically and mentally.
This guide was shared by our friends from Ezra – the professional coaching app.
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