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By investing in high-level network agility, businesses will gain the ability to develop innovative solutions driven by automation and intelligence. Picture: 123RF/alphaspirit
By investing in high-level network agility, businesses will gain the ability to develop innovative solutions driven by automation and intelligence. Picture: 123RF/alphaspirit

The network is the new frontier for businesses: it’s where the war for customer retention and engagement is won or lost.

That’s because customers expect their technologies, applications, devices, systems and solutions to work perfectly across multiple cloud architectures and virtual environments.

To meet these ever-evolving demands, businesses need networks that are defined by their flexibility, agility and scale. They also need to stay ahead of the game.

With that in mind, Business Connexion (BCX)Africa’s leading information and communications technology solutions and service provider, has identified trends that will be shaping the future of networking in 2022:

1. Edge

The IDC and Limelight Networks research paper, Outlook for Edge Services, found that there is likely to be a 40% increase in edge network deployment by 2022 with 60% of all network resources deployed at the remote edge, or at service provider locations.

The same paper found that while edge is clearly a burgeoning trend, so too is the need for an agile network that allows companies to fully realise their potential.

2. Innovations driven by intelligence

According to management and consulting firm McKinsey & Company, the use of 5G broadband networks and the internet of Things (IoT) to increase network availability and business capability across multiple sectors and applications will gain momentum next year.

This will lead to companies shifting their thinking towards increase digitalisation for improved service delivery and innovation.

By investing in high-level network agility, businesses will see improvements in mobility and scale, as well as gain the ability to develop innovative solutions driven by automation and intelligence.

This ties in with the trend that has dominated this year — and is likely to continue to gain ground in 2022 — responsive and resilient connectivity that’s capable of handling and interpreting huge volumes of data and translating it into business value.

Smart networks that can learn and adapt are also likely to see increased uptake. These leverage intelligent technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and robot process automation to streamline systems and improve customer experiences.

3. Personalised customer experiences

As businesses battle it out to capture customers’ hearts and minds, there’s the growing need to provide personalised customer experiences.

In 2022, retailers and B2C companies will seek out new ways of connecting customers and data to deliver unique touchpoints in experience and engagement. 

4. Embracing emergent technologies

Finally, one of the biggest trends shaping the future of the network lies in the arms of emergent technologies such as IoT, AI, machine learning and smart cities.

According to the TrendForce Tech Industry Trends for 2022 Report, network connectivity will form a vital component of driverless solutions and smart city systems.

Networks must leverage the right technology and infrastructure to be capable of delivering innovations in services such as healthcare at scale.

Time to evolve

While these trends are shaping the global landscape — agile networks are already in place in the Netherlands and the UK — now is the time for SA businesses to look to connectivity products and solutions that can be adapted to fit the local context.

While the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to continue to introduce new complexities and uncertainties in 2022, it’s important that businesses not only look to adapt and survive, but to evolve.

Investing in agile networks and intelligent solutions will put companies on a solid foundation to increase speed, innovation and digital transformation in the future.

This article was paid for by BCX.

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