If there is one thing that typifies business life – and indeed our personal lives these days – it is the need to be connected 24/7, wherever and whenever you are, regardless of the device you use or the purpose of your message.
In a few short years total connectivity has achieved the status of a ‘need’ rather than a ‘want’. Keeping ahead in the dynamic, fast-paced global environment of today relies not only on global connectivity but also that connectivity is constant. And while we can manage a delay in a post to Facebook, confidence in a connectivity provider starts to come under the spotlight during business critical engagements where even a split second of downtime can have huge repercussions.
The Middle East region has suffered from outages and each time this happens there is a consistent and profound impact on the region’s economy. Recent network outages in the region have highlighted the need to ensure the availability of business-critical connectivity, 24/7, across the region. However, we rarely think about how that connectivity is best achieved. Too many companies are dependent on piecemeal solutions delivered by a range of suppliers, with each link of the chain potentially a risk. Companies need to look for a combination of resilience, consistency, reliability and flexibility in their communications solutions. Until recently, it simply was not possible, to ensure that your data travelled seamlessly around the region and the world.
Earlier this year Tata Communications completed the world’s first wholly owned cable network ring around the world, with the launch of its TGN-Gulf cable system and TGN-EA cable system connecting India, Oman, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to the world. The TGN cable system is designed to provide diverse eastward and westward paths precisely to ensure that services can be maintained regardless of any unforeseen downtime. This level of resilience has been achieved in partnership with many of the region’s leading operators, which means that customers can be sure that the TGN cable system is providing a robust and sustainable route into the critical emerging markets.
The need to have a robust platform to drive economic development through world-class connectivity is clear. In 2008 Tata Communications’ global internet service was heralded as world-class when it maintained connectivity during triple cable cuts to its customers in India, the Middle East and South East Asia. Three major submarine cables (SMW3, SMW4 and FLAG) were damaged in the Mediterranean, leading to businesses across India, the Middle East and South Asia losing internet and communication services.
The disruption was potentially cataclysmic. Thanks to its approach and its focus on tested disaster recovery plans Tata Communications was able to restore full connectivity to all customers within 24 hours of the cable cuts on December 19th, 2008, by leveraging its global diverse submarine cable and IP network, at which point it started implementing incremental bandwidth to the severely impacted regions. The difference between having a local, piecemeal network and a global network means that when disaster strikes you have other options to ensure connectivity is impacted as little as possible.
As our reliance on connectivity grows, so too does our need for innovative ways to manage the flow of information. A network is sustained by a continuous programme of upgrades and enhancements that not only ensure that the network remains at the cutting edge but that also manage increased usage demands as the explosion of data traffic continues. Continued investment in both innovation and the people who manage and support the infrastructure is critical to be certain that communications are available around the world and around the clock.
One such innovation is the launch of Tata Communications’ low latency network which will seamlessly connect the world’s major financial centres. This reflects the need to maximise every millisecond of latency; to ensure that it is used and managed effectively for mission critical communications. Initially driven by the needs of the financial sector, the low latency network is increasingly supporting organisations in other sectors. Such innovations and the results they deliver are dependent on a single global operator.
The need for connectivity is such that it has become a paramount business issue. The question any business needs to ask itself is what impact, both financial and operational, downtime will have on its operations. In this fast-paced environment, a day without connectivity, is a day lost.