Prediction: Service providers will be critical to the success of IoT.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is quickly becoming a reality with an expected 30 billion IoT devices to be in production globally by 2020. These devices must all be connected to the internet, managed, and secured while also delivering a high quality of service to end-users. Service providers have the most diverse set of communication mechanisms that major enterprises will rely on for this connectivity be it mobility services, broadband, and network infrastructure. How IoT devices’ connectivity is managed will be a major concern for the enterprises and service providers will be leaders in facilitating this.
It is also important to understand that not only will there be a population explosion in IoT devices, but the diversity in their utilisation will mean a fundamental shift in the way networks are utilised. Today, networks are largely structured around the expectation that most devices are communicating on a one-to-one basis, client to server style, even if it is sometimes multiple clients to one server.
Looking towards the development of smart cities as an example, we will see that the need for IoT enabled, driverless cars, traffic lights, navigation systems, would all have to be able to communicate in much more of a swarm approach. The networks transporting such IoT transmissions will need more paths, more bandwidth, less latency and much greater flexibility. This will manifest itself in a swing of the IT pendulum from a consolidated, centralised, architecture for compute, back to a more distributed design where essential split-second decisions need to be made at the edge of the network.
Prediction: Service providers will become the management layer for enterprises’ cloud environments.
If a company wants to put a workload into multiple clouds, it has to treat that workload differently based on each cloud. This is inefficient and time consuming. Service providers, due to their expertise in infrastructure deployment and maintenance, will be capable of treating different clouds as abstract sets of resources and essentially commoditise the cloud as a service. Organisations will be able to hand their cloud management over to service providers who will shield them from the complexities of these cloud environments.
Prediction: For service providers, user experience will be leveraged as a competitive differentiator.
Today, the value of a customer facing service is measured in high availability, security and performance. While these are important, what isn’t emphasised is the user experience of that service, but this is because it is difficult to measure. Service providers will begin to quantify user sentiment, which is typically subjective, through the use of natural language processing technology that can interpret human communication channels and measure satisfaction.
The move to measuring end-user experience based on sentiment will allow providers to have an additional source of truth when determining how and where to address issues with their offerings – and those providers that can boast the highest level of user satisfaction with their services will have a competitive advantage.
Prediction: Delivering quality end-user experience will demand the deployment of next generation networks.
Organisations are essentially a distributed network of smaller work groups that are tied together via the network. The experience that your workforce is having with core applications and services can be different from location to location for a variety of reasons. This inequality of the internal user experience can negatively impact the perception and utilisation of these applications and services – and hence the enterprise loses intended business capabilities from IT investments. The traditional network is hardware dependent, and runs on fragmented and sometimes inefficient technologies that can result in performance inequalities from location to location. For IT, performance management of the application and services dependent upon these networks is challenging because they don’t have a holistic view and perspective on all the activities putting demands on the network and the ability to readily respond to those demand signals.
Next generation networks, which will largely be software defined and have a management plane will provide IT with the ability to leverage the right network paths, assign appropriate priority to network traffic and ensure the health of network at all locations. These networks will also incorporate an integrated, end-to-end view of the user experience from the datacentre to the end devices at the edge so that anything that may jeopardise performance is identified and managed before the end-user is impacted.