From the boardroom to the data center, forward-looking companies in every industry are looking for ways to bring people and technology together to match intelligence with automation. This is the vision of the autonomous enterprise.
Demand for pervasive, always-on connectivity to service myriad applications, users, sensors and devices is driving unprecedented change in the networks that underpin everything. The network is no longer a binary utility—on or off, fast or slow, wired or wireless, private or public. It is no longer defined by ports and cable but by software and machine learning applications.
Augmented with artificial intelligence, the network is becoming automated and intelligent—self-healing, and self-driving—freeing organizations to let go of drudge work and concentrate on creating greater competitive advantage and focusing on the customer experience. This network is helping transform today’s companies into the autonomous enterprises of the future.
This eWEEK Data Points article, using industry information from Extreme Networks, describes specific examples of what the future of smart, autonomous networking looks like across a variety of industries.
Data Point No. 1: Connecting the Dots Between Technology and Humans
IDC reports global IT spending will surpass $5 trillion this year—however, most of this technology is purchased in silos. The innumerable tools, the resulting connections and the people at the heart of these businesses are not working in concert. The solution? The autonomous network. Forward-looking enterprises understand that the network can be leveraged as a new source of automation and intelligence, connecting people and systems across siloes to work together in a more seamless and effective way.
Following are five industries already embracing the future of networking.
Data Point No. 2: The Hospital of Tomorrow
U.S. hospitals have an average of 15-20 medical devices per bed–not merely “things” on the Internet, but bandwidth-intensive, life-saving equipment. From connecting medical staff waiting on a helipad to monitoring IV pumps that keep patients stable, human lives depend on medical devices that use network automation to detect and respond to changes in patient care and the environment around them. Forward-thinking hospitals are leveraging network segmentation strategies, end-to-end visibility platforms, analytics and machine-learning technology to automate the monitoring and management of application and device behavior on the network to immediately identify and address any discrepancies or vulnerabilities that may jeopardize critical care for patients.
Data Point No. 3: Reimagining Retail
The fine line between digital and physical commerce will only continue to blur as retailers aim to cultivate more personalized, omnichannel shopping experiences and deliver better customer service. The strategic deployment of Wi-Fi access points, location and analytics applications at brick-and-mortar sites, and even facial recognition technology to gather demographic data, can create the autonomous retailer of the future. For example, automating the connection between mobile checkout devices, parking lot sensors, and cameras allows employees at physical stores to fulfill buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) orders quickly at curbside, delighting customers and removing big steps from the retailer’s traditional fulfillment process.
Data Point No. 4: The Connected Classroom
Digital classrooms depend on an integrated wired and wireless infrastructure to help students overcome learning challenges, facilitate new kinds of educational experiences, and keep schools safe. With an AI-powered Wi-Fi network, IT can instantaneously improve radio frequency efficiency and add wireless capacity to meet bandwidth demands in various locations–whether it’s an eSports tournament in a full auditorium or a robotics class visualizing 3-D models –all without impacting network service elsewhere on campus. These automated capabilities free IT to focus on creating new, tech-driven educational experiences and ensure teachers and students can focus on what’s most important: learning.
Data Point No. 5: Next Generation Logistics
The $1.5 trillion logistics market underpinning our global economy is one of the largest and oldest industries in existence–and automation and intelligence are transforming how it works. At the world’s biggest shipping, warehousing, and fulfillment companies, the network connects legacy warehouse management software to new drones that scan packages from the sky the moment they leave the plane–saving precious time on every pallet and package that moves through the supply chain. Analytics from mobile devices and Wi-Fi access points give warehouse operators and logistics leads real-time visibility of the end-to-end supply chain so they can streamline fulfillment processes and ensure precious cargo gets to where it needs to go, when it needs to be there.
Data Point No. 6: Making Cities Smarter
More than half of the human population lives in cities, and more than 2.5 billion new residents will move into cities over the next 30 years (McKinsey). As these cities grow denser, housing and transportation must accommodate more people with the same land and resources. City planners are using networks to automate the systems that improve the flow of traffic, allowing traffic cameras, stoplight timers and roadway sensors to work seamlessly together smoothing the bumper-to-bumper backup during rush hour, ensuring public safety, and reducing the cost of municipal services.
Data Point No. 7: Are You Ready for the Autonomous Enterprise?
The network is no longer just an IT support function or a binary utility. Rather, it is a powerful engine that intelligently connects people to technology. For executives to optimize their digital-first businesses, they must have an agile, adaptive and secure network, a software-driven approach and human intelligence underpinning their entire organization.