In the past decade, technology has changed to benefit its users and make the world more fast-paced than ever.
Take social media. In 2010, Facebook had 500 million users. Just over 10 years later, the platform has nearly 3 billion users, and that number increases daily. Similarly, 100 Mbps was considered ultra-fast internet speed in 2010. Today, we can deliver speeds up to 1,000 times faster at 100 Gbps per second.
Access to faster internet speeds spurs the development of new, sophisticated technology solutions, which in turn drives an ever-increasing demand for more capacity. With that, here’s what to watch in 2022.
Demands for flexible workspaces will pressure businesses to offer network support
Across industries, people are demanding more flexibility to work remotely or have a hybrid schedule. We will continue to see the impact of this demand, as businesses adjust their operations to provide home network solutions to their employees, many of whom have been using their own personal networks to work on for the past two years.
Since the potential for security breaches is greater with people working remote, businesses also will invest in more technology that prevents their systems from being compromised. Many are looking at products that protect every connected device on a network — whether it’s a computer, phone or even a WiFi-enabled fridge. They also are turning to preventative tactics, such as employee education and phishing simulations.
Public-private partnerships will provide something for everybody
The COVID-19 pandemic has spotlighted the urgent need to expand broadband infrastructure in unserved areas. As a result, states, including Michigan, and the federal government collectively have designated billions of dollars to extend broadband service into geographic areas where consumers have no broadband service available.
Collaboration around broadband between public entities and private organizations has been underway. Because of the funding that’s becoming available, this year we will see an influx of local municipalities and private broadband providers partnering to extend broadband to rural and other unserved areas so children can learn remotely, people can work from home, and businesses will have the services they need to succeed well into the future.
Network management tools will help simplify advances in technology
Modernized networks also create an opportunity for organizations to improve their network management. With the ongoing rise of cloud storage, physical equipment is becoming a thing of the past as virtual network functions — such as routers, firewalls and software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WAN) — allow for more visibility and control via the cloud.
SD-WAN architecture is particularly useful for network management. With SD-WAN, IT managers can connect multiple locations with high bandwidth networks at a lower cost, all while ensuring security protocols remain in place. By leveraging a virtual control layer on top of an organization’s network infrastructure, SD-WAN enables centralized management of critical network functions, reducing the need for costly equipment, shortening provision times and allowing for better traffic management across a network — all critical capabilities in the era of remote work.
Networks that are “future-proofed” will better handle innovative projects
While some of these are ongoing trends, connectivity technology also is prompting exciting futuristic projects.
Autonomy, for example, is a not-so-distant reality. Not only are cars becoming autonomous, but roads are too. Autonomy also is trickling into farming, manufacturing, shipping and more. Autonomous solutions in warehouses will help alleviate ongoing staffing shortages. Facility management could become as simple as an autonomous picker retrieving an object from a warehouse shelf and bringing it to an employee.
The health care industry already has evolved to manage new services, such as remote patient visits, but it stands to benefit even further from technology advancements. Virtual reality allows for advanced training simulations, which can widen training opportunities for professionals. With wearable sensors and Wi-Fi-enabled in-home diagnostics on the rise, health care workers will be able to remotely access patient information in real time. Even further, network-enabled surgical procedures already are being tested, which will help those in need of surgeries get the care they need. For example, a doctor in Sweden was able to operate on a patient all the way in Los Angeles with the use of robotic smart hands.
Redefining connectivity through digital advancements
Whether it’s virtual health care visits or working from home, the demand we put on our networks will only continue to rise in 2022 and beyond. Businesses that adapt their connectivity solutions to address today’s challenges and tomorrow’s opportunities will be positioned for success, no matter what the future looks like.