A new year always holds so much promise, and from a telco perspective, I’m especially excited about 2019, for I believe that it will be the tipping point for significant developments with respect to the Internet of Things (IoT), ‘Software-defined Everything’, 5G and customer-centricity via intelligent networking.
More so than ever, networks will become increasingly more critical to successful operations. I anticipate that a confluence of trends means that, in 2019 and beyond, the network – rather than the data centre – will increasingly become the critical infrastructure relied on for information management. Developments like Edge Computing, the IoT, cloud-first IT strategies, increased mobility, the rise of faster networking protocols, smart vehicles, streaming media and the need to analyse data in motion, will put the network front and centre.
Thinking beyond the data centre
Meanwhile, data centres are being rationalised and outsourced for colocation to save costs and for more efficient operations, but it’s imperative to get the network right in order to have a strong framework for ICT. We should also look to business and consumer lifestyle trends that will impact networks; these can range from the rise of cryptocurrency and blockchain to the demand for omnichannel solutions for retail commerce. In fact, in anticipation of this, Gartner already predicts that worldwide public cloud revenue will grow 21.4% to $186.4bn and that IaaS will grow 35.9% to $40.8bn.
Welcome 2019’s new entrant – Software-Defined Everything
Additionally, we’ll see a rise in what’s described as Software-Defined Everything and Liquid Infrastructure. SD-WAN is becoming enormous and moving from being predominantly an appliance model to becoming a heavily virtualised, ‘as-a-service’ approach. But the objective today is broader and more ambitious: to make everything software-defined and virtualised so that it’s easier than ever to compose services and reassemble them for whatever you need to do next. As Marc Andreessen famously wrote “software is eating the world” and telcos are also racing to make their services as software-controllable and liquid as possible to put customers in charge of their own futures.
In 2019, we will see some key developments in intelligent networking; again this belief is supported by Gartner and it suggests that Edge router makers should beware: SD-WAN providers managed just 2% of WAN-edge infrastructure refreshes in 2016, but will have more than half of them by 2020, Gartner forecasts. Gartner also forecasts a 15% compound annual growth rate that will take SD-WAN sales to the value of approximately $1.25bn in 2020. Global Market Insights anticipates a 50% CAGR for NFV, making it a $70bn market by 2024.
The Internet of Things becomes a reality
2019 could also be the year that The Internet of Things goes mainstream; finally, some may say. It’s also fair to say that everybody is fascinated by the potential of IoT, but to date a lot of deployment work has been in niches or pilots. It’s likely that 2019 will be the tipping point where people learn from their trials and finally start to deploy in earnest. But they should expect there to be tricky questions asked of network reliability, latency, power management and durability; and those asking the questions will want answers. To that end, Gartner predicts that the IoT will be in 95% of electronics for new product designs by 2020. It also says that half of security budgets to 2022 will be spent on remediation, recalls and safety failures, and that global IoT security spending will total over $1.9bn in 2019.
5G to be the talk of the connected town
Finally, 2019 will be the year that 5G really takes off. Fifth-generation networks are coming along at the right time with the first trials in the UK and Europe taking place early next year, and we’re already seeing emerging use cases for everything from connected ambulances to healthcare. Gartner predicts that 5G-capable phones will reach some markets in 2019, helping to drive video, streaming and uplinks that support AI services, among other things. Therefore, 2019 holds a lot of potential and promise, and I am optimistic much of this will be realised in the next twelve months.
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