10 years ago, the telecommunications industry, in terms of suppliers and service providers, drove the way forward. They drove the network, the standards and what people can see and do with the network. Today what’s driving the industry is the apps and devices the end users/subscribers are using. This is particularly true when you consider 5G, NFV (networks functions virtualization) and IoT (Internet of Things). Lets deep dive.
With 5G’s first spec officially signed off at the beginning of 2018, it’s all the rage in the industry currently. This will allow us to see WiFi continuously grow. According to Cisco, WiFi hotspots are said to increase 6-fold to 541 million by 2021. Even with the growth in faster technology such as LTE (long-term evolution), Wi-Fi seems to be the go-to way of connecting. This is possibly due to the expensive nature of the implementation of LTE technology.
NFV and software-based infrastructure are said to be the ideal state for service providers. However, the 2 are not the same thing. “True NFV” means following the standards so that the infrastructure is able to work with other software via NFV orchestration software or running the IaaS (infrastructure as a Service) in a public cloud. This would and does take a lot of effort. Whilst a lot of Tier 1 providers like the idea of this, in the past it has come with a lot of baggage (i.e. the standards that need to be complied with). This is why things such as SD-WAN are actually becoming more of an interest to end-users as they can turn CAPEX into OPEX.
IDC estimates that 30 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020, Cisco estimates 50 billion and it will drive new business and revenue valued at $1.7 billion. We definitely need to take notice of this as IoT will drive how people connect with each other.
Prior to the Internet of Things, your top users of communications technology were those using voice/video/messaging from human to machine. With IoT communication becomes makes real-time communication more of a necessity and not the focal point. We will continue to see IoT drive the telecommunications industry in the future.
Telecommunications and Information Technology are constantly evolving. Those that embrace the change will continue to grow.