Bridging the gap between today’s connectivity capabilities and tomorrow’s digital needs

By Alan Stephenson-Brown, CEO at Evolve Business Group.

  • 3 months ago Posted in

The capacity of today's connectivity infrastructure varies widely depending on factors such as location, the type of technology being used, and the level of investment in network infrastructure. Although modern connectivity has made significant advancements to keep pace with evolving technology, challenges remain. Alan Stephenson-Brown, CEO of Evolve, looks at how these challenges can be overcome to meet tomorrow's connectivity needs.

The UK has one of the largest online populations worldwide and by 2028, the country is forecasted to have around 63 million online users. This includes around 5.6 million private sector UK businesses, many of whom are embracing digital transformation as part of their growth strategies.

Digital transformation has become essential for businesses to remain competitive in today’s ever-changing technological landscape. In recent years, we’ve witnessed a rapid transformation in the business world, with many companies adopting new technologies to streamline their operations.

It means UK businesses are more reliant on a high-speed internet connectivity than ever before, yet the UK’s high-speed broadband provision for business is lacking. While 84% of UK businesses have access to the internet, speed is still a significant issue. One study found 56% of employees have reported an outage of some kind, and that broadband outages hitting UK home workers cost the economy £1.3bn in a single year. 

Much like concerns about the National Grid’s capacity to cope with our increasing dependency on electricity, businesses need to scrutinise their connectivity as we come to depend on new technologies. 

What’s limiting our connectivity?

Firstly, British businesses are up against the challenging British infrastructure. Put simply, our cities, towns, and villages weren’t designed to accommodate modern technology. From narrow roads and cobbled streets that are incompatible with contemporary vehicles, to a lack of space, implementing new infrastructure is expensive and often littered with bureaucratic red tape. 

Forward planning is also an issue. Despite our reliance on broadband, there is still relatively little understanding of how bandwidth requirements change over time. Both businesses and successive governments have failed to understand how important the internet would become, which means many businesses built in the last 15 years have communications infrastructure that was almost outdated at the time of construction. 

A bright spot on the horizon is the rollout of the 5G network, which is expected to overtake 4G in prominence by 2025, and 5G Standalone coverage in all populated areas by 2030 is a core ambition of the Government’s Wireless Infrastructure Strategy. But the last five years have seen the legal and planning regulations governing the deployment of mobile network telecommunications and masts change dramatically, leading to market challenges in areas such as determining compensation and consideration, access rules and rights. All this has delayed the deployment of mobile networks and hindered the rollout of 5G.

Future-proofing UK business

In the face of these challenges, businesses still need to ensure their connectivity not only meets their current bandwidth demands, but is sufficient to meet future demands.

5G investment is currently the quickest and most future-proof way of increasing available internet speeds. But by taking the flexibility of an SD-WAN and merging it with the performance of 5G, businesses can scale teams and networks with an unmatched level of control, reliability, and coverage. 

SD-WAN uses smart routing technology to direct traffic more flexibly, offering excellent agility, along with centralised control and visibility of the network. Because SD-WAN supports multiple connection types, such as broadband internet and LTE, it can use them interchangeably, increasing network bandwidth and reducing downtime. This transport flexibility makes it easier to connect branches, regardless of their physical location or any carrier restrictions. All this means faster, more stable connections for users, less stress on the network overall, and improved reliability that reduces costs.

It’s like a GPS system for your network traffic. Just as a GPS system chooses the quickest and most efficient route to reach a destination, SD-WAN dynamically directs network traffic over the best available connection. This helps ensure that your data is sent quickly, securely, and with minimal downtime. 

As more businesses move from legacy systems to the cloud, SD-WAN improves the performance of cloud-based technologies by providing the most important applications with a direct connection to the internet, routing network traffic according to business need. 

With total cloud storage expected to reach 200 zettabytes by 2025, SD-WAN can bring a business’s data management up-to-date and prevent it from being left behind. 

Digital transformation is essential for businesses in all sectors to thrive, but it can only be fully realised if high quality communication networks and services are made a strategic priority. On a wider scale, this means significantly upgrading communication infrastructures to address the increasing demand for data generated by the new technology all businesses need to thrive. 

But businesses can start this process in-house by working with expert partners who can ensure they have the connectivity solutions in place to support digital transformation efforts.

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