Into the Fog: Stratecast previews a health-conscious year ahead for network operators
Each year we receive a report listing Stratecast | Frost & Sullivan‘s predictions for the year ahead, and each year it contains elements to make us think. 2017 is no exception. The report runs in two parts, today and tomorrow, starting with Big Data and Analytics, Business Communication Services, and Cloud Services.
Big Data and Analytics (BDA)
IoT becomes a major driver of Big Data growth
In 2016, the Internet of Things (IoT) market advanced from the “gee whiz” stage to one of sustainable operational deployments.
The IoT market now includes data from two source areas: IoT, encompassing the data generated and collected by connected “things”; and its corollary, IoAT (the Internet of Anything), which includes all other data collected in the IoT ecosystem. In 2017, says Stratecast, IoT/IoAT will become a key driver in the growth of the BDA market. This lays the groundwork for a future where IoT is expected to generate US$11 trillion in global economic benefits by 2025.
This lays the groundwork for a future where the analyst expects IoT to generate US$11 trillion in global economic benefits by 2025.
AI gains expanded footprint to a prominent Big Data role
For decades, artificial intelligence (AI) was an interesting technology in search of viable commercial applications. It found a foothold as the enabling technology behind a generation of advanced chatbots, helping with everything from shopping and customer support to meetings and travel.
Propelled by IBM and its Watson cognitive solution, the focus now is less on chatbots and more on using AI to search through massive volumes of raw data to provide actionable insight — sometimes in seconds. By broadening AI’s footprint in this manner, Stratecast believes IBM and others will push AI toward centre stage in the 2017 BDA market.
Big Data continues to be a star in retail…
as the healthcare industry pulse quickens
Among all verticals, retail is proving particularly adept at deploying data to optimise operations and serve customers in ways it never could before. However, IBM and Apple, both of which play prominent roles in retail, are now leading the charge toward using data to build a connected health future.
Apple is using its Apple Watch, supporting apps, and networks to create connected health ecosystems. IBM Watson is finding cures that physicians could not for cancer and other conditions. And Apple and IBM are jointly offering data-driven healthcare solutions.
All of this will create a healthy growth environment in 2017 for these and other Big Data providers in the previously underserved healthcare vertical.
Business Communication Services
NFV-based virtual network services gain traction among enterprise customers
In 2016, AT&T and Verizon introduced virtual network services targeted at enterprises. Using Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV), these service providers offer key network functions — such as wide area network (WAN) optimisation, firewall, or load balancer — as software, rather than via the traditional dedicated hardware-centric model.
The NFV-based approach helps enterprises to better control their networking functions, dramatically improve provisioning cycle times, and deploy new applications and services quickly. Stratecast expects enterprises to closely evaluate and embrace virtual network functions in 2017, as they look to create an agile WAN.
Network as a Service (NaaS) hits the market
The cloud services consumption-based procurement model continues to drive demand for network capacity and its related functions “as a service.” Buoyed by the early success of their bandwidth-on-demand offerings, service providers such as AT&T, Verizon, and Level 3 will leverage their maturing software-defined network (SDN) and NFV
capabilities to launch a new class of ‘Network as a Service’ offerings.
The ability to procure and scale bandwidth on demand through a portal, and to run virtual network functions on commodity servers, offers a compelling value proposition for enterprises.
Adoption of Software-Defined WAN surges
SD-WAN providers have had limited success penetrating the enterprise market on their own. But they saw their fortunes improve in 2016, as they partnered with leading network service providers eager to bring software-defined networking functionality to the enterprise segment.
Among the most promising are managed SD-WAN services, in which the service provider installs and manages the edge devices, procures and manages access links from multiple network service providers, and manages the day-to-day network management aspects of the solution.
Stratecast believes 2017 will be the year when SD-WAN will emerge from the early adopter stage, and be ready for wide scale market adoption, driven by the availability of managed SD-WAN services.
Infrastructure-neutral management platforms gain traction in hybrid environments
Hybrid IT became the norm in 2016, with 73% of enterprises surveyed by Stratecast using or expecting to adopt a hybrid model within two years. Management of hybrid environments remains challenging but has been eased by the introduction of new, cross-infrastructure management platforms that can aggregate and manage resources across multiple infrastructures.
Stratecast expects that these “infrastructure-neutral” management platforms will gain traction in 2017, as hybrid IT adoption continues to increase.
Cloud migration tools become a ‘Hot Service’
Data and workload migration to the cloud continue to be pain points that restrain businesses from embracing the cloud for legacy workloads. Led by AWS and others, the end of 2016 saw the introduction of a crop of new software tools, appliances, and services for addressing this issue. Stratecast believes that 2017 will bring an increase in the development and launch of tools and services that help enterprises automate the cloud migration process.
Providers introduce ‘Fog’ computing solutions to facilitate IoT workloads
Enterprises are deploying a growing number of data-gathering devices to support new, cloud-based IoT workloads. However, transmitting massive volumes of data to the cloud for processing can introduce unacceptable latency, data quality issues, security risk, and increasing costs.
With ‘fog’ or edge computing solutions, data is collected and initially processed locally, with only latency-insensitive subsets transmitted to the cloud. In 2017, more vendors and service providers will introduce appliances, services, and reference topologies to efficiently support evolving enterprise fog computing architectures.
Click here to read the full report.
In Part 2 tomorrow we examine Stratecast’s expectations for Connected Homes and Consumers, ODAM, and Secure Networking.
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