We are already entering into the era of 5G. It will enable a host of new applications for enterprises and consumers, including augmented reality, virtual reality, IoT, autonomous vehicles, enhanced mobile broadband and many more. Soon, there will be an explosion in the number of devices. The already dense IT networks are poised to become even more complicated. Traditional automation frameworks will no longer be sufficient, and artificial intelligence and machine learning will pave the way for nextgen automation driving a real end to end digital transformation.
The following five trends will shape our future.
#1: Growth of 5G and 5G enabled ecosystems
Telecom operators have already started 5G trials. Non-Standalone deployments are expected to commence by early 2019. 5G is developed to enrich the experience of not just the mobile device users but the entire communications technology ecosystem. Increase in bandwidth and support for ultra-low latency in 5G will fuel innovative new applications in the augmented and virtual reality and healthcare space. We can expect exciting applications in the area of Tactile feedback remote surgery and vehicle to vehicle communications, where the growth so far has been muted due to the lack of proper cellular support. IoT devices are rising exponentially and are gaining ground in nearly all verticals - homes, smart cities, retail, healthcare, business, industries and many more. In the coming years, we’ll see a massive increase in the number of devices connecting to an always-on network.
#2: Networks to get more complex
Cisco VNI estimates that by the year 2021 there will be around 27 billion connected devices, and 43% of all the devices will be network connected. The already complex IT network is set to become even more complicated. Adding to the administrator's woes is the growing number of professionals working from home. It is estimated that 70% of the workforce telecommutes at least once a week. The rise of BYOD (Bring your own device) culture, Hybrid and Multi-cloud infrastructures, continuous creation of innovative applications, and heavy demand for bandwidth consuming services such as streaming videos, gaming, and social media applications are all leading to unprecedented levels of interconnections - further complicating the network. Companies will invest significant resources in finding ways to reduce network complexity going into 2019.
#3: Increased focus on hardening network security
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Most companies have a hybrid or a multi-cloud strategy. While this strategy offers an opportunity to streamline application delivery, improve customer experience and reduce operational expenditures, it also opens up multiple points of entries for attackers. Multi-vendor and Multi-domain environments provide a significant challenge to the network administrators to uphold security policies. Products from various vendors have different capabilities, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to understand and manage how the various security policies adapt to each product. Many large networks work as a collection of separate smaller networks where each network implements the security policies in their own way. Such disjoint networks lack a unified management interface making them vulnerable to various kinds of cyber attacks. Security will be of significant interest to all companies, and we are going to see many innovative applications in this sphere.
#4: Rise of Smart Automation
Companies are likely to spend substantial resources to automate their network as much as they can, to not be left behind. Manual scripting and pointed solutions will not be able to scale to match the massive increase in network demands. There will be a rise of innovative and smart network automation solutions that can manage devices, automate services and enforce compliance across on-prem and hybrid deployments. Next-Gen automation will be equipped with AI and Machine learning to combat the network complexity and security challenges. The automation will evolve from the traditional detect and respond to a more intelligent predict and prevent strategy.
#5: Analytics, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence adoption set to increase
We have been hearing these buzzwords for the past few years now, and we are sure to hear more of them in the coming years. Analytics and Big Data are helping companies improve their marketing and operations by providing meaningful, deep insights into their activities. Using Machine Learning and AI, companies are now transitioning from targetting a broad customer category to targetting the specific customer himself. Despite privacy concerns that are raised from time to time, AI and ML adoption is on the rise, and we are likely to see it’s application across most domains.
An increasing number of network administrators are looking towards Intent based Networking solutions to simplify their day to day operations. Automation of the network will prove critical to maintaining the sanity and security of the network in the coming few years.