Decoding the latest digital network buzz words

Matthew Allcoat is the Chief Architect, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa at There is understandably always great excitement when the latest devices and apps come to market. However, for most companies, the network remains the key piece of the puzzle required to drive performance and deliver the latest digital technology. So the latest network technology gets us pretty jazzed as well.

According to the World Economic Forum, we’re on the brink of the fourth industrial revolution. It might feel like we’ve been talking about digital for ages, but it’s still in its infancy. Think of the dot com era – it lasted ten years, and the third industrial revolution of electronics and IT lasted 40. We’re only now starting to understand the implications of the digital era.

CIOs in every sector continue their quest for more economical, cloud-based bandwidth growth and greater visibility of digital traffic that is delivered both rapidly and cost-effectively, all while trying to strike a critical balance between security and performance.

These imperatives are driving the move towards hybrid WAN, which in turn means network providers must work to build the programmable networks and dynamic network services and join our customers in our own digital transformation.

Companies like BT are transforming and effectively becoming one-stop-shop cloud services integrators, often working seamlessly with partners in a transparent, efficient ecosystem, to meet the needs of modern business.

Decoding the latest networking buzz words

Despite the many technological leaps that have been made, many CIOs are struggling to ensure their infrastructure delivers the rapid response, easy collaboration and constant innovation the modern digital business needs.

According to The BT CIO report 2016: the digital CIO, the biggest challenges faced by the CIO are, firstly, designing the new strategies and business models for increased connectivity and customer engagement (43%) and, secondly, implementing that strategy organization-wide (39%). In order to provide the solutions modern business requires, the network of the future will be defined by software, not hardware. It will be nothing like what’s gone before.

The latest networking buzz words are software defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualisation (NFV). They provide companies with a whole new way to build and manage corporate networks fit for the digital age. According to analyst IDC, the software-defined networking (SDN) – that is, networking that allows network administrators to manage network services through abstraction of lower-level functionality –will grow to US$12.9 billion by 2020.

Similarly, analysts have forecast that global market for network function virtualization (NFV) -- a network architecture concept that uses the technologies of IT virtualization to virtualize entire classes of network node functions into building blocks that may connect, or chain together, to create communication services -- will grow at a CAGR of almost 33% between 2016-2020, as more and more technology functions being virtualized in order to streamline operations and cut costs.

These two technologies, between them, are the key enablers for the digital future of telecommunications: because as soon as you are able to control the shape and scope of your network virtually instead of physically it mean you now have a true digital network business.