This Industry Viewpoint was authored by Hugo Diaz of Claro Enterprise Solutions
Businesses looking to modernize, enhance and simplify their connectivity environments are increasingly turning to Software Defined Wide Area Networking solutions. SD-WAN can help organizations prioritize applications, aggregate bandwidth and easily deploy and manage resources through zero-touch provisioning. In addition to flexibility and oversight, benefits include built-in security as well as a wide range of bundling options to integrate a mix of transport technologies.
The challenges and new requirements posed by the COVID-19 pandemic highlight the potential of SD-WAN to enhance business performance. Organizations shifting to remote workforce models, for example, can use SD-WAN to support employees who rely on high-bandwidth applications such as video conferencing. In today’s environment, home-based workers often find themselves competing with neighbors and family members for scarce public Internet capacity. By allowing users to define which applications take precedence during peak demand times, SD-WAN can prevent latency, jitter and other problems when application performance is imperative.
Moreover, SD-WAN can help businesses tackle a variety of critical challenges specific industries are facing in today’s evolving environment.
Today, traditional manufacturing operations continue to struggle with sub-optimal networks. Administrators often lack visibility into their environments, making it difficult to prioritize, deploy and manage resources. The stubborn persistence of siloed operations prevents network integration and seamless data sharing, thereby limiting opportunities to pursue Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) initiatives. To the extent that they are deployed, IIoT initiatives raise security concerns by creating networks of smart sensors that represent potentially limitless targets for hackers to infiltrate a system.
SD-WAN can provide the flexible, secure, high-bandwidth connectivity manufacturers need to drive convergence of IT and factory floor operations, integrate disparate platforms and connect plants in different locations. Centralized management capabilities and zero touch provisioning are essential to supporting Internet of Things (IoT) applications and Manufacturing 4.0 models. SD-WAN’s bandwidth capacity is also ideally suited to expanding automation within “ghost factory” environments characterized by intelligent tools and minimal staff.
To take a specific example, a rapidly growing global manufacturer was struggling to manage and consolidate a geographically dispersed WAN comprising almost 100 global sites. Improving network performance and capacity was essential to execute the initiative. An SD-WAN routing and management solution allowed the company to centralize policy control as well as automate the process of optimizing traffic and application performance. In this instance, the transition to SD-WAN reduced MPLS bandwidth costs by an average of 64 percent per site, and drove annual net savings of nearly $450K.
Already challenged by dramatic industry disruptions, the pandemic has forced retailers to fundamentally rethink business models. The imperative of using analytics to assess customer preferences now has the additional wrinkle of accommodating new attitudes around visiting brick and mortar establishments and potentially encountering crowds. And while the goal remains delivering engaging and personalized experiences, those experiences must increasingly be delivered remotely or at a social distance.
The technology initiatives needed to support today’s evolving retail strategies largely hinge on the deployment of flexible, high-bandwidth connectivity that SD-WAN offers. Requirements include managing increased volumes of online transactions, deploying bandwidth to support mobile applications near pop-up locations and kiosks and supporting “ghost kitchens” with minimal staff. Traditional retail spaces, moreover, continue to be transformed through technology. Stores are deploying interactive digital signage with sentiment analysis capabilities, as well as AI-enabled video analytics to monitor customer traffic. Enhancing data interchange between customers, store staff and account data is becoming an increasing priority.
For Financial Services organizations, networking technology is key to revenue growth strategies, improving operational efficiency and enhancing customer experiences. Many banks are focused on deploying digital branch office locations with minimal staff and bandwidth-intensive digital kiosks offering advanced, personalized self-service capabilities. These locations also require reliable and secure connectivity to support online transactions, data collection and analysis, as well as integration with legacy applications.
The flexible zero touch provisioning and visibility into network resources that SD-WAN provides allows administrators to deploy new branch locations on demand, as well as scale resources as needed. This ensures adequate bandwidth to support kiosks, applications and transactions at any branch, as well as respond to ebbs and flows in demand across locations. Enhanced security functionality protects customer and ﬁnancial data on devices and networks. In addition, SD-WAN can be an effective and secure solution for remote workers accessing sensitive data.
If you haven't already, please take our Reader Survey! Just 3 questions to help us better understand who is reading Telecom Ramblings so we can serve you better!Categories: Industry Viewpoint · SDN