enterprisenetworkingmag

Harnessing the Power of Digitization

By Anand Oswal, SVP, Engineering, Enterprise Networking Group, Cisco

Anand Oswal, SVP, Engineering, Enterprise Networking Group, Cisco

The business IT landscape is evolving at breakneck speed. The cumulative onslaught of technology advances in big data, IoT, cloud adoption, software defined networking, virtualization, threat detection and security enforcement has resulted in enterprises moving along their digitization journeys at a much faster pace. So, where are these trends headed in 2017? What is their likely impact on your business in the coming year? Here is our reading of the tea leaves.

1. Companies Start to Harness the True Power of Digitization:

The transformational journey to build a digital business begins with a strong foundation. Enterprises that are driving a digital transformation must first transform their IT infrastructure to make it more open, extensible and software-driven. This, in turn, enables insights for faster business innovation, automation and assurance.

2. Big Data to Everything Data:

We expect 50 billion devices to be connected by 2020. These will generate in excess of 5TB of data per person. In a single year, we created more data than the past 5000 years. Data, however, is not just about a large number of numbers. It’s what we are able to unlock using the data and insights. The world of post facto analytics and understanding what happened is no longer good enough. 2017 will see advancements in translating data into information, information into insights and generating action out of these insights to create specific business outcomes.

"Digitization opens up an amazing opportunity to create new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented economic opportunities for businesses"

3. IoT Scales Backed by Fog Computing:

From smart buildings to smart cities, the IoT technology is now permeating every sphere of business. We expect IoT to come into the physical office space in 2017 in a much more comprehensive manner. This will mean IT and networking technology will enable ‘smart’ lights, HVAC controls, and even digital signage. So, how are these ‘things’ becoming smarter? Fog-computing opens up a new level of visibility in networking infrastructure and decision-making, by pushing application logic and data analytics to the network edge. IoT applications typically have strict latency requirements; the devices, are often geographically distributed, connected through low bandwidth uplinks and moving large data to and from cloud impacts it adversely. Hence, the need for intelligent processing is at the edge.

4. Indoor Location Systems will Gain Momentum:

It is difficult to imagine our world today without outdoor location-based services like maps and taxi-hailing apps. Indoor location-based services, however, have lagged behind as a technology despite its many uses. With the ability to track traffic flow and location-usage, comes data and metrics that can transform how we interact with the world. 2017 will see a slew of new businesses based on this technology.

5. Virtualizing the Network will Now Seem Intuitive:

Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) is a new way of designing, deploying and managing a network. NFV essentially decouples classic network functions from the underlying hardware and makes them available via software. We’re going to see NFV spread from service providers to the enterprise. It will allow those leading-edge IT teams with a multitude of networks to put up, run and manage them more easily.

6. IT Service Automation is No Longer the Realm of the Networking Geeks:

Businesses typically spend 2-3X more on OpEx compared to CapEx. Automation can help enterprises reduce operational costs, mitigate business risks and create avenues for faster innovation. The focus here is IT agility, providing businesses with capabilities that allow speed at lower costs. Enterprises and IT teams will embrace automation and its allied benefits a lot more naturally this year thereby becoming a catalyst for true business impact.

7. Nascent Technologies Lifi and Block Chain Gain More Traction:

LiFi refers to the technology which enables lights in the ceiling to be used as a medium of wireless communication. LiFi is a bidirectional communication link over the Visible Light Spectrum (VLC). Not just does LiFi offer unconstrained bandwidth speeds, it also prevents leakage and potential security threats and is safe since there is no electromagnetic interface with light. Blockchain, on the other hand, is a distributed ledger that has several characteristics which make it ideal for usage in financial use cases. The simplest analogy for block-chaining is –it’s perhaps easier to steal your valuables from a locker which is guarded by one person, than from a locker which is being constantly observed by a thousand people. The networking industry is studying block-chaining to determine the best use cases for enterprise customers.

Digitization opens up an amazing opportunity to create new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented economic opportunities for businesses, individuals, and countries. These trends we are tracking will not just impact your technology journey but will shape it for years to come. Which of these tech trends resonate the most with you?