by Stuart Hardy, Business Unit Manager of EOH’s Carrier and Network Solutions Division
Much has been said and written about the technologies that have changed – and are currently changing – the face of business. Mobility, big data and analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT), and the cloud have more in common than just being the technologies that organisations have become reliant upon in order to operate effectively. They are all equally dependent on effective, fast connectivity.
Networks and bandwidth are crucial
Networks have long been the nervous systems of companies, but they have never been more crucial to business operations than today. Equally, bandwidth has become as essential to the running of a business as the employees who use it.
Mobility started organisations down the path to today’s always-connected business environment. The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend informed the consumerisation of IT, as connected employees increasingly insisted on access to the types of devices and functionalities they were using in their personal lives. When combined with the benefits of cloud computing, all of these factors are creating rapid changes in the way business is being conducted, and connectivity is central to this.
One of the results of this transformation is the enablement of increasing collaboration between employees. The connectivity of devices and networks is important, but only insofar as it informs and enables the productivity of staff. As people work more closely with each other, regardless of their location, connectivity will become the element through which businesses achieve their competitive edge.
Exponential growth of networked applications
As a result in the future companies will only invest in solutions that support collaboration and scale across all platforms. In addition, the number and use of applications will continue to grow as this distributed computing environment matures.
Today’s use of hundreds of applications will become tomorrow’s use of thousands of applications. As users demand more functionality and personalisation from every IT touch point, there is no longer room for anything less than optimal performance, and networks will have to evolve to keep pace. As more devices and applications are used, not only will networks experience more traffic, but they will need to perform better in order to ensure they are functioning at optimal levels.
The Internet of Things demands high-performance networks
Add to this IoT connectivity, for which Gartner projects exponential growth, and service providers will have to evolve to keep pace. According to Gartner, this year will see 4.9 billion connected things, growing to an estimated 25 billion by 2020. Networks will therefore not only have to offer higher capacities, they will need to continually improve their speeds.
Increasing data demand is only part of the story. Real-time computing will test the performance of networks, and as machine-to-machine interactions grow, their low latency demands will inform how networks are structured. To meet the needs of modern businesses, service providers will have to reduce latency to milliseconds, enable the agility offered by the demands of technologies such as the cloud, and do all of this while remaining profitable and efficient. Only those that evolve alongside the users and who will be placing increasing pressure on their networks will be able to serve the businesses of the future.
Stuart Hardy has been in the ICT industry since 1997, has been in the Telecommunications industry since 1997, intimately involved in product development, operations and product marketing roles. He has held Executive level positions in some of the largest Operators in South Africa and has founded and driven two successful start-up companies in the Mobile data and Wireless networking spaces. Today, Stuart is a Divisional Director for EOH in their Telecommunications sector.