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Hyperconnectivity’s Impact On Consumers

The applications enabled by hyperscale computing are seen by most consumers as positive, while data privacy and security concerns remain.

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Do you know what hyperconnectivity is? It is already affecting you, whether you know it or not. Hyperscalers are the companies like AWS, Google, and Microsoft that build and run those enormous (aka hyperscale) data centers. If you are a designer and use the cloud, then you have at least a vague idea of what data centers are being used to handle your design. But even if you are the generic person, traditionally from Podunk for some reason, you are using these data centers all the time. Whenever you use Google maps. Whenever you use Siri voice recognition. If you have an Alexa smart speaker. If ever you have purchased something on Amazon (and who hasn’t?). In all of those cases, you are making use of massive data centers and hyperconnectivity.

The survey and report

To find out more about how consumers view hyperscale computing, Cadence commissioned London-based Northstar Research to a survey and summarize it in a report. That report was recently published. The survey was representative of adults by age and gender. Globally, 3,073 people were surveyed across five key technology markets.

Looking to the future, consumers were asked about things like security of their smart devices, whether they will be happy to be driven in an autonomous car, whether they would be happy to be diagnosed automatically for cancer, or how they felt about sharing their medical data with hyperscale systems.

Why we did it

An obvious question to ask is why Cadence, who is at the pointy end of the design of chips, commissioned this report. In the press release, Nimish Modi, SVP marketing and business development, explained:

As consumers, hyperconnectivity is greatly influencing our lives, enabled by the underlying computing developer ecosystem, from IP through semiconductors to systems companies. Through tighter collaboration, the industry has a tremendous opportunity to accelerate the development of innovative technologies incorporating power-efficient design, AI/ML enablement, security and safety to best reflect the needs and concerns of today’s hyperconnected consumers.

Or Anirudh Devgan, Cadence’s president, says in the introduction to the report:

But sometimes, when we’re too close to the things we love, it becomes essential to take a step back and get a broader view. We’ve commissioned this research to provide ourselves, and our customers, with a much broader perspective on what hyperscale computing means to everyday people around the world. This perspective is crucial so we and our customers can continue to drive the innovation that end consumers seek.

I will put a link to the report at the end of this post because I don’t want to lose you yet, and if you start to read the report, you will get engrossed and not come back. But I’ll give you the table of contents to whet your appetite.

Contents

The report is titled “Hyperconnectivity and You: A Roadmap for the Consumer Experience.”

To give you a sneak preview of what you have in store when you read the report, here is the table of contents:

  • A note on the research
  • Foreword by Anirudh Devgan, president of Cadence: Why your perspective matters to Cadence
  • The three Cs of hyperconnectivity: The real-world hyperconnected future is underpinned by confidence, convenience, and collaboration
  • A glimpse into tomorrow’s hyperconnected world
  • Hello hyperscale computing: What’s known and understood about hyperscale and its potential impact on our lives?
  • Our smart-converged devices: What will devices need to do to thrive in a hyperconnected world?
  • Our intelligent cars: How will hyperconnectivity redefine our cars for better or for worse, and how will people react to this?
  • Our digital health: How will hyperconnected technology impact healthcare, and are we ready to trust it?
  • The generational perspective on hyperconnectivity

Three key findings

The report is 20 pages long (not counting title pages and stuff like that) so I’m not going to try and summarize the whole report in a blog post. But consistently three key findings were: confidence, convenience, and collaboration.

Confidence
While people have confidence in technologies, including hyperscale computing, people lack confidence in data security and are reluctant to share data. This is a challenge for all businesses operating in a hyperconnected data economy. Hardware and software developers must prioritize data security, while device and car manufacturers must deliver complete transparency in how personal data is used and what the user gets back in return. Without user confidence, the full potential of hyperscale computing cannot be realized.

Convenience
Convenience is a main reason people continue to buy connected devices and share data, despite their lack of confidence in data security. Convenience-related features, such as predictive maintenance and automated software updates, will drive uptake of new hyperconnected technology in the future. By removing tedious tasks, providing a frictionless user experience, and delivering a clear and obvious benefit to the user, convenient smart-converged technology can solve consumer confidence issues.

Collaboration
Hyperconnected technology is smart enough to make decisions and perform actions for people. However, if you push people into things, they’ll push back. People like to retain agency over their actions and relinquishing full control can be scary. The sweet spot is people and technology working collaboratively together, such as human-led robotic surgery, or autonomous features that augment, not replace the driver. With this collaboration, people can feel confident and embrace all the benefits that hyperconnectivity has to offer them.

Knowledge and expectations

The report reveals that 32% of consumers surveyed have a basic knowledge of hyperscale computing, compared to more than 70% for more established technologies, including virtual reality, 5G communications, and artificial intelligence (AI). Despite this low awareness, 62% believe hyperscale computing will have a positive impact on their lives in the next five years, with mobile phones expected to experience the greatest impact.

The top-level finding is that a majority of consumers believe hyperconnectivity driven by hyperscale computing will positively impact them within five years.

Smart-converged devices:

  • Great battery life, robust security, and consistent reliability are the three most important factors in determining why consumers like a device.
  • Touch and voice garner high levels of preference with end-users, while newer device communication methods using facial recognition, gesture, eye movements, and brain activity also resonate well.
  • Data security is a key concern, with on-device data processing or a mix of on-device and in-the-cloud processing proving popular due to fear of hacking.

Intelligent cars:

  • Frictionless car maintenance and upgrades via software updates resonate well, as does the ability to buy products or services using in-car technology.
  • Connectivity and autonomy will be important considerations when judging how advanced a car is.
  • Ensuring drivers retain some control over a car’s decisions is critical to autonomy’s acceptance.

Digital health:

  • Consumers are willing to share their data when they’re confident it makes their lives easier.
  • Many consumers are comfortable getting medical treatment after a wearable device diagnosis, with 29% comfortable receiving medical treatment for cancer based solely on a wearable device’s diagnosis.
  • An examination by an AI doctor without a human doctor present is considered safe by many.

The report

The report was published on the Cadence website, where you can download it freely.



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