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The rise of IoT, emerging technologies and increased demand for edge computing will present new security and data center challenges. Conversations will begin taking a different shape starting 2019.

“Digital business across the enterprise is now a full C-suite team pursuit,” according to Chris Pemberton in his recap of 8 top findings to Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey 2018-19. Digital initiatives topped the list of priorities for CIOs in 2019, with 33% of businesses now in the scaling or refining stages of digital maturity — up from 17% last year (Gartner, 2018). 

To address changing consumer and employee behavior, businesses are growing and adapting not just with new technologies, but by implementing new ways of accessing and connecting to them. Technology predictions for 2019 and beyond like: autonomous things, augmented analytics, AI as part of almost all development like Natural Language Processing for BI and analytics, fog and edge computing, immersive experiences with VR/AR and Mixed Reality, the continued proliferation of blockchain and as a service (cloud services) and smart things all require greater bandwidth and faster communications.

Connected systems are our new reality. And according to Cisco, global IP traffic will triple by 2021 (Cisco, 2018). With new, connected devices, traffic is crowded and the foundation of the telecommunication channel will continue to grow as it supports future technologies. In other words, much as the channel is changing with new technology, selling network and connectivity will remain the most constant and stable sales.

New technologies, interconnected devices, streaming applications, both business and personal applications running simultaneously during business hours, are all putting pressure on traditional MPLS networks. As businesses struggle to support ever-growing connectivity demands with cloud-based apps or to maintain seamless access to mission critical systems, bandwidth becomes an issue. Many networks can’t handle the increased demand, lacking speed, high capacity pipes, smart connections and adequate last mile connections. Now, connections to the cloud, branch locations, data centers, etc., require hybrid network configurations or SD-WAN to utilize gigabyte last mile options.

Prediction: Network transport should remain a key topic in customers digital transformation journeys. As more applications and workloads migrate to the cloud, the last-mile will determine the performance and user experience. Ultimately, it’s important for a selling partner to recommend direct connections to the Internet and pathways that guarantee performance, security and reliability. IoT, mobility and conferencing/collab technologies will only lead to greater sales of fiber, coax or both. The combination and innovation of SDN and gigabyte broadband will help shape enterprise networks and enable digital transformation.

5G wireless backup will be incredibly beneficial when it comes to data center connections, connections to clouds, each other/disparate locations.

Prediction: 5G connectivity will begin taking center stage as we all face a congested, traffic-filled Internet. 5G is expected to become commercial reality in 2019; it provides wireless connectivity options (e.g. back up and capitalizing on gigabyte speeds for last mile, eliminating the need for wires). It will also enable more hybrid and cloud applications with newer technologies such as machine learning, graphics rendering in the cloud for mixed reality and innovations as a result of higher bandwidth and lower latency. 5G will be a game changer on all fronts: networks, devices and allowing for new use cases for technology, applications, business processes and models.

Prediction: Data center business will look different to accommodate real-time mission critical data particularly when it comes to IoT. Fog and edge computing, which is the way data is processed and the network connections needed to bring data from the edge to the end point (mainly being the cloud), is going to become more popular. It has to be. FuturumResearch asks “if you were driving an autonomous car, would you want its communication to battle through a mess of data from users making online purchases or uploading files for their company? Or would you rather it makes a clear beeline directly to your car’s data processing center?” Futurum goes onto say, “…as we’re using augmented reality for training, smart vehicles to manage our transportation needs, millions of IoT devices and even remote robotic surgeries to save lives, we’re at a point where we can’t risk the chance of data getting stuck in digital traffic. In many cases, data delay could mean the difference between life and death.” (Futurum, 2018). 

Emerging technology like AI, IoT and 5G will increase data production and real-time, mission critical data will now need to be stored in closer, smaller data centers. An IDC study sponsored by Seagate, DataAge 2025, found that by 2025 almost 20% of data created will be real-time in nature. Hence, needing the ability to process and securely store data at the edge rather than sent to the network core for processing. The data center prediction by many telecom experts is that data center infrastructure will become more distributed with regional storage hubs and smaller city locations. These micro data centers will be bolted onto existing communication structures like telecom towers with the rollout and commercialization of 5G.

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