The last few years have seen an explosion of technologies that are changing the landscape of IT and Communications forever. The most obvious of these is the move to the cloud, with the availability of cheap, instantly available compute resource. And deriving from the availability of large amounts of this resource has been the development of AI and Machine Learning. In parallel we have moved from primarily text-based communications to a rich world of multi-media. And applications have moved from the PC to being delivered as SaaS. Together these have revolutionised the way companies do business, the way that we interact with those businesses and the networks they use. And networks are far more complex than the traditional hub and spoke, with centralised control. There has been a missing link in all these developments that is still creating a drag on business innovation. How do we deliver the information conveyed by these interactions quickly enough over the last mile that connects business and consumers to the Internet?
Now we are set to see the transformation of the last mile. The UK government’s Gigabit Voucher Scheme for fibre, the launch of 5G services, the availability of cost-effective SD-WAN solutions, even the imminent arrival of SpaceX’s Starlink Internet service will enable Managed Service Providers to deliver high-speed and more importantly, reliable connectivity to businesses. And this connectivity will be indifferent to the underlying bearers. We are moving to an era of fault tolerant business application networks overlaid on an array of technologies. This will finally allow businesses to offer WiFi Guest services that actually work; shops will be able to take advantage of real-time analytics powered by the cloud to tailor their sales strategies; we may even achieve Connectivity as a Service where you only pay for what you consume, and the SD-WAN router working with an arbitrage service to buy the best connectivity at the best price in real time. High-bandwidth, always on, connectivity has always been a limited resource. We are finally at the dawn of an age where it is available to any business.
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