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Letter from the Editor - The Power of Innovation

By: Scott St. John

It's a remarkable time to be alive. To bear witness to the global events that continue to unfold all around us. It's an even more amazing time to be an innovator, regardless of the industry or particular flavor of innovation. It's not all doom and gloom, as some would have you believe.  It's cathartic. It's a renewal, a rebirth, a challenge–fraught with conflict, struggle, and ultimately change.

Admittedly, this is a painful process. The cost of change is high. Mitigating the damage is time consuming, costly, and even tragic.  A forest doesn't enjoy the fire, but it does emerge stronger and healthier as a result. And, while we are still in the thralls of this transformative process we have the opportunity to impact the outcome, and there is–in fact–light at the end of the tunnel. That beacon of hope, is innovation. The ability to reinvent, driven by a pure drive to create, survive, and even thrive.

As I wrote in my Letter from the Editor and went into even more depth in the COVID Tipping Point feature last month, we are at an opportune moment. At this precise moment, we as a global society have the ability to determine, even define, what our future is. We have the opportunity and power to shape our world. There are only a handful of historic, global events over the past century that have given us this opportunity and we must both recognize and seize it now.

This is not the first time we've had civil unrest, economic uncertainty, or faced a global pandemic. Over the last four hundred years we have been confronted with SARS, Ebola, AIDS, measles, polio, smallpox, and the bubonic plague– just to name a few. Just about a century ago, the world was ravaged by the Spanish Flu pandemic, which has been estimated to have infected up to 500 million and killed 100 million people worldwide. According to John Hopkins University at the time of this article, COVID-19, the disease stemming from the novel coronavirus, has caused approximately 500,000 deaths worldwide. But, the reasons for this stark difference are far more significant than the comparison itself. We had never been as well prepared.

Unlike other periods in history, during the height of this pandemic, we still have access to food, supplies, healthcare, and our loved ones. The action of governments to reduce the rate of infection in combination with the dedication of the world's healthcare workers has ensured that those affected by the virus can receive quality care.  We can order masks, groceries, and pet supplies–and have them delivered to our door. We can telecommute to work, have video calls with our friends and family, and telehealth appointments with our doctors. Artificial intelligence, data analytics, and advances in genetic medicine are rapidly accelerating the development of a vaccine at an unprecedented rate. It's these technical innovations that are underpinning the health of our global society today, and continuing to drive it forward. But not for everyone.

Taking the thought-exercise full circle, we have never been more prepared to seize this moment and it is the very spirit of innovation that has prevented the very worst outcomes and will carry us forward. The power of vision, invention and purpose. To leverage the collective, global knowledge to create a new and better world. We can define our future, but that future must be inclusive. There are those who do not have access to connectivity, technology and quality healthcare. There are those who are disadvantaged and discriminated against. We have the ability and power to change these things, and now is the time decide what our future will be.

Many individuals, companies, and governments are stepping up to help and enact change. In the end, however, it won't matter if you are the CEO of a high-tech company or a student reading this article. What will matter is what we do individually to improve the world. Whether that be creating change in your own community, supporting data centers to provide video-conferencing and cloud solutions, extending the reach of connectivity to those in undeserved markets, or creating the next innovation that improves the lives of people around the world.

In this issue of Pipeline, we explore the technical innovation driving us forward. Data Foundry discusses the important role of scalable data centers in helping organizations achieve hyperscale growth. LightRiver explains why the benefits of NFV will ensure its enduring relevance in the era of 5G and IoT. Nozomi Networks cautions that security vulnerabilities enhanced by the current pandemic have created a perfect storm scenario for increased cyber attacks.  We look at how transportation companies are innovating to reinvent the customer experience by anticipating the digital needs of travelers, and CommScope describes how the ongoing buildout of 5G networks will pave the way for autonomous vehicles to navigate into ubiquity on our city streets. Mark Mortensen, principal analyst at ACG Research provides insight to the evolution of networks and the emergence of multi-vendor domain management systems. Netformx shares how to automate the customer engagement process for the fulfillment of omni-channel services. CloudSmartz take a hard look at the commitment needed to provide personalized digital services and what is required to deliver a unified service experience, and CounterPath provides a look at how innovation has become the "new normal." All this plus a look at the month’s breaking news stories and more.

Stay well,

Scott St. John
Managing Editor
Pipeline
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