Engage 2025: the future is hyperconnected

Hyperconnectivity, where everyone and every “thing” is connected and talking to each other, is an essential to digital transformation and will ultimately change the way we all work.

IDC believes hyper-everything has become the new normal, setting the ground rules for a decade where leading organizations will be “built with hyperscale capacity, in hyperconnected ecosystems, moving at hyperspeed.”

In the hyperconnected digital enterprise, a host of new services will emerge designed to make life easier, improving real-time collaboration and pushing the frontiers of innovation. By connecting key assets, sites and people, businesses can work at speed, making them flexible and agile. Take the likes of Uber: it took a traditional business, hyperconnected the dots and took ordering a taxi to a whole new level.

“In the hyperspeed, hyperscale and hyperconnectivity phase of digital transformation, CIOs must rapidly transform their organizations to become the future of IT,” explains Serge Findling, Vice President for Research at IDC’s IT Executive Programs. IDC forecasts that by 2023 over 80% of CIOs will be entrepreneurial leaders who evolve their organizations into centers of excellence that engineer enterprise-wide collaboration and innovation. Hyperconnectivity will be an essential enabler of this strategy.

A network re-think

After years of concentrating on network performance and reliability, organizations need to shift their focus to simplicity, reliability and flexibility, according to Gartner. Automation, for example, will be central to enabling networks, making them easier, more secure and responsive to change.

The more people, sites and things that are connected, the more the value of the network grows. IDC estimates that by 2025 there will be 41.6 billion connected IoT devices, or “things,” generating 79.4 zettabytes of data. By the same year, there will be around 9 billion smartphone users and almost three quarters will access the Internet solely on their mobile devices, according to a GSM Association forecast. Employees want to be connected 24/7, wherever they are.

Changing face of the network

To succeed in being truly hyperconnected, providing person-to-person, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications, organizations need networks that minimize latency and secure critical communications end to end. On top of this, greater bandwidth is essential to integrate the growing number of things attached to the network, along with complex and diverse applications.

Critically, this new generation of network must support multicloud applications. Previously IT was driving applications, now applications are the ones driving IT. Organizations are using multiple private, public and hybrid clouds for their applications to ensure they get best-in-class solutions that provide a competitive edge, while avoiding vendor lock-in.

SD-WAN: a futureproofed network

To overcome the serious limitations associated with legacy networks, the new networks of the future will be virtual, dynamic and software based. SD-WAN, for example, is both flexible, scalable and capable of provisioning applications on demand for connected devices. SD-WAN provides an unparalleled view of the WAN, ensuring that connectivity is optimized for every user.

It is little surprise, therefore, that SD-WAN is one of the fastest growing segments of the network infrastructure market, with a market poised to reach $5.25 billion by 2023, according to IDC. This is down to its ability to support software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications and multi- and hybrid-cloud usage together with the ability to easier manage connection types across the WAN to enhance the end-user experience.

5G: a boon to enterprise networking

5G networks have the capacity, flexibility and power to drive new connected things and open opportunities in IoT, cloud services, Industry 4.0, autonomous technologies, automotive and smart cities as well as support the growing trend for remote working. Industrial sectors, especially, are seeking out the benefits of 5G for smart factories, network automation and self-healing networks.

Taking networking to the edge

The more we are connected, the more there is a push to the edge to increase performance. Edge computing refers to harvesting and processing data as near to the device or application as possible. This is very different from a cloud-based scenario where the data is sent to a remote data center to be processed and analyzed, which can result in increased latency or bottlenecks.

Edge computing is an essential component in the success of the 5G network. This latest wireless technology may be ten times faster than 4G, but there is no gain if there are latency issues in sending data to data centers – especially with mission-critical applications such as autonomous vehicles.

At the same time, more data can be analyzed and at a faster rate at the edge, thanks to at- source computing. These edge computing systems will also be able to filter data, deciding what data should be retained locally and what should be sent on to the cloud, providing real-time automation.

“The value of data rapidly decays, and as the cloud is ill-suited for responsive data analysis, it can cause the degradation of time-sensitive data related to critical applications such as equipment failure, performance monitoring, supply chain data analysis, and predictive maintenance,” explains Jared Graham, Industrial Consultant at Frost & Sullivan. “Only the edge is capable of offering fast turnarounds, low latency analysis, and the control required by today's industrial enterprises.”

Orange is ready for a hyperconnected future

At Orange Business, we are strengthening our core business to further anticipate the need for hyperconnectivity – not just connecting sites, but people, objects, machines and processes to minimize latency and secure critical communications.

We are building a portfolio of assets around our core network with fiber, all IP, SD-WAN and 5G. As part of this deep and rapid transformation, we are looking to drive 30% of our revenue from SD-WAN by 2025.

At the same time, we are extending the reach of our connectivity closer to the edge, which allows us to get closer to our customers and provide greater business value. Cloud will be part of all our solutions and an enabler to all our business propositions. This approach is seen as a value driver, as opposed to a cost center, by our customers.

We are also leveraging SD-LAN, IoT, 4G, and 5G campus when it arrives, to reinvent private and local connectivity to further enhance the user experience and drive innovation. With pay-as-you-go usage, monitoring user adoption is more crucial than ever before, so we will continue to develop our customer experience and collaboration platforms.

Ultimately, we aim to leverage our core network capabilities and derive more value at the edge. Instead of seeing cloud and data as isolated places, we will build bridges and links between them. This will further establish us as a digital-native services company that has hyperconnectivity at its epicenter.

Find out more about our Engage 2025 strategy.

Glenn Le Santo
Glenn Le Santo

Editor in Chief, International, at Orange Business. I'm in charge of our International website and the English language blogs at Orange Business. In my spare time I'm literally captain of my own ship, spending my time on the wonderful rivers and canals of England.