The transition to a digital-first society has been soaring to new heights since 2020. With many employees working remotely and consumers connecting with companies and one another through online channels, the digital landscape has no longer been used only passively; it has become essential to navigating life in a dispersed world.
Next-generation technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and real-time video analytics, will further accelerate that digital transition. But these next-generation technologies will demand a network infrastructure that can fulfill their promise, especially as they heavily rely on cloud services and edge computing for data support. Seconds will matter.
The role of the cloud in next-generation technology
The cloud is at the forefront of the digital transformation era. Cloud infrastructure has afforded immeasurable growth and flexibility to modern enterprises by enabling data to be accessed, processed and stored over the internet, which is why businesses are adopting it at fast rates. According to Gartner, worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services is expected to grow 20.4% in 2022 to total $494.7 billion, and by 2023, end-user spending is expected to reach nearly $600 billion.
The value of the cloud is unmatched in powering next-generation technologies through improved long-haul data speeds and the ability to deliver services anytime and anywhere. These capabilities are imperative for emerging technology.
For example, self-driving cars are among the latest technology developments that have seen growing demand from various industries to help cut costs and increase efficiency, particularly in ride-sharing and food delivery. In fact, the autonomous vehicle market is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 53.6% from 2022 to 2030.
Self-driving cars, like most next-generation technologies, start and stop with data, and lots of it. Self-driving cars generate upward of 4 terabytes of data each day. With this level of data generation comes the need for the cloud to process and offload that data in real-time in order to ensure critical functions aren’t interrupted.
But with off-site data processing comes added latency, creating unnecessary delays and disrupting the car’s performance. Every second counts when operating self-driving cars, and high latency only causes additional risks.
Solving the latency problem with edge computing
High latency causes the network to respond slowly, impairing user experience. Next-gen technologies are dependent on fast responsiveness in order to work efficiently, and most importantly, safely, which means they cannot afford additional latency.
The next level of the cloud, edge computing – processing, analyzing and storing data closer to where it is generated to enable rapid, near real-time analysis and response – has emerged as the solution to improve data processing and reduce latency. By processing data close to the source, that data doesn’t have to travel far distances to a cloud-based location or remote data center. This aids next-gen technologies in being faster, smarter and safer.
Businesses using cloud and edge capabilities to fuel next-gen technologies need the support of a reliable network infrastructure that can handle the data demands required. But how will they determine which provider is right for them?
The criteria for selecting the right provider
There are countless options in the market for network infrastructure providers, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Here are three criteria to look for before deciding on a provider:
1. Work with a provider that can support the specific needs of a business’s digital transformation
Just as the list of new technologies grows each day, so does the list of network providers. But all providers are not created equal, especially when considering the vast number of solutions each specializes in. For instance, some providers specialize in configurable virtual machines with access to high-performance network infrastructure while others offer resizable compute capacity that makes web-scale computing easier for developers. The provider chosen should have the full breadth and depth of services that’ll support the direction a business is trying to go with its next-gen technologies.
2. Choose a network with high capacity and high bandwidth routes to and from the cloud
Bandwidth is crucial to enabling next-gen technologies, like AI, IoT and machine learning, due to the large amounts of data transferred between enterprise and cloud endpoints. High bandwidth is imperative for these technologies to operate efficiently and sustain their capacity needs, especially in global locations. To stay competitive in a digitized, real-time era, businesses must scale their capacity. This means going with a network provider that possesses high capacity and bandwidth routes that can assist a business in executing its digital transformation strategies.
3. Elect a network with capabilities to reach the edge
Next-gen technologies thrive from being as close to data points as possible, enhancing their overall operation. This makes having a network that can reach the edge imperative for a business’s digital transformation efforts. With the edge allowing companies to run applications with the most critical reliability, real-time and data requirements directly on-site, it also opens the door for future digital-driven innovations, products and services.
As businesses step into the future, they’re embracing next-generation technologies as part of their digital transformation. For these technologies to operate at peak performance, they require the support of a network that can handle the copious amounts of data generated. Choosing the right network means seeking a provider that meets the needs of what a business wants to achieve for its digital transformation, enabling next-generation technologies that shape the future.