Verizon looks at emerging trends for 2016
Tue 19 Jan 2016 | Lee Field
From the growth of Software Defined Networks (SDN) to some surprising uses for IoT devices, 2016 promises to be an exciting year for IT. Here are five key trends to watch for in the year ahead.
SDN will go mainstream
There has been a lot of hype – and confusion – around SDN, which for some time could best be described as a technology looking for a problem to fix. But 2016 will be the year that SDN comes into its own.
We’re already seeing a change in perception around SDN: rather than viewing it simply as a product, companies are understanding that it’s as much about organisational and process change. Some of the more forward-thinking companies recognised this in 2015, but this year that view will become increasingly mainstream. When viewed not as a product or technology but as an opportunity to drive automation and new ways of thinking then SDN has the potential to be transformational. Imagine an application that can detect performance degradation and improve itself on the fly: that’s just one example of how SDN can allow new methods of operating.
IT will become flexible
Businesses have to be increasingly flexible in order to compete, but the traditional way of looking at IT has become a brake on that process. The increasing adoption of SDN is going to help change that. Traditionally any change in the network had to go through numerous layers, often involving third-party service providers. To take the example of a requirement for more bandwidth, there could be a gap of several weeks between the identification of the problem and it being resolved.
SDN changes that. For example we recently had a customer who tripled their bandwidth across their sites in APAC within 15 minutes via a self-service portal using Dynamic Port. By scaling resources up or down in real-time, IT will enable businesses to behave in a much nimbler manner.
Security will come under scrutiny
The greater agility that SDN and cloud allow will necessitate changes in the way security is viewed. Any change to the network has historically gone through a system of checks and balances to assess its impact on the security posture. But what does it mean when an application can make changes to your network?
The need for enhanced security will become more important as SDN gives more control to developers who are often focussed on speed and functionality. SDN is a great enabler but it needs to be monitored and controlled and in 2016 we will see greater focus on this, for example by integrating Application Performance Monitoring, SDN, Cloud and Automated Vulnerability Assessment.
Hybrid networks will be the new normal
Some businesses are already using hybrid WANs to bring down costs, and that’s a trend that is likely to continue. These hybrid networks will extend to cloud service providers: it probably won’t allow businesses to be service provider agnostic in 2016, but we’re at least at the start of that process.
Wireless will also become increasingly important for the enterprise, where there remains a heavy reliance on wired networks. That is going to be a significant enabler of business change, especially for organisations with many smaller sites. For example it is now possible to open a new facility with one device that provides security, local network, wide area network and wireless network. That reduces costs and speeds time to market.
IoT will go commercial
So far most IoT implementations have been in the consumer space, but 2016 will see a shift to commercial adoption as businesses realise its usefulness both in reducing costs and driving new revenue streams. This will apply even in traditionally low-tech industries. Take the humble office watercooler, which is restocked according to a delivery schedule that cannot take account of varying usage. Inevitably some of the trips will be too early, and some too late.
IoT allows the water company to monitor each dispenser and restock it at the optimum time. That means the customer needs less space for storage, while the water company cuts costs by eliminating wasted trips and boosts revenue by ensuring no customer ever goes without product. I think some of the uses people find for IoT in 2016 will surprise us.