The global surge online: What it might mean for your business

 
Tim Skinner

DIRECTOR UK ENTERPRISE, CISCO

Why is global internet protocol (IP) traffic predicted to grow so quickly by 2017?

The surge in global IP traffic is a natural consequence of the confluence of people, processes, data and “things”, all connected via the internet. The evolution from the internet as we know it today to the Internet of Everything will be in true effect by 2017. An insatiable demand for bandwidth, most crucially from machine-to-machine connections, will result in more than 19bn global network connections, carrying 1.4 zettabytes of traffic. Content delivery networks and non-PC devices will fuel this traffic, as both workforces and consumers embrace connected televisions, tablets, smartphones and next generation machine-to-machine connections such as smart-meters.

What is the potential value to business of this growth?

By connecting people, processes, data and things, we estimate enterprises will derive approximately $14.4 trillion (£9.3 trillion) of value in the next 10 years. This is based on the ability to capitalise on smarter processes and logistics, empowered and flexible workforces, and new ways to make use of data to do and run business more efficiently around the globe. By 2017, a substantial proportion of businesses will be well into their journey to profiting from this figure. In detail, $9.5 trillion of this will stem from transformation based on industry-specific uses, such as smart grids and connected vehicles, while $4.9 trillion will originate from cross-industry use, such as telecommuting.

What challenges does this pose to businesses?

One thing is pivotal to each and every connection – the network. Our reliance on the network grows as businesses place more importance on the things that connect to it. As such, service provider networks must adapt to the increasing number of devices that will need to be authenticated to gain access to fixed/mobile networks. IP networks must be intelligent and flexible enough to support the constant introduction of new and updated applications for both fixed and mobile networks. Many service providers are actively collaborating with application developers to differentiate their services, and businesses must seek to be engaged with this process in order to prepare, provide insight and generate value from this trend.

What deliberations should decision-makers be making to fully realise the trend’s potential?

Three main factors are at play. Firstly, decision-makers need to determine where their business is today in regards to the vast number of connections that need to be made between their people, data and things. They should ask themselves where their current strengths and weaknesses lie, and whether they have the right technology skills in place. Secondly, businesses need to understand the central role IT plays within their organisation, align business leads with IT, and use its power to grow their customer base. Finally, with so many connections in play, privacy and security are key. Business leaders need to identify effective policies and processes that will meet customer expectations in a truly connected age.

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