Reflections and Predictions After Two Tumultuous Years

It’s that time of year again when my thoughts reflect back over what has been and contemplate what might be ahead in the coming year. Normally, I think back a year, but after almost two years of upheaval and transformation, it is only natural to think about that whole period as one.

As we approach 2022, it is clear the past two years have ushered in tremendous disruption and change. The effects of the pandemic will continue to influence and impact us in the coming year and, probably, beyond. Many of the same technology challenges and opportunities of 2020 & 2021 will continue and even expand. Employees working from anywhere will require more quality, secure bandwidth. To achieve this, network backend and core infrastructure expansion will be essential to support remote access needs.

The pandemic has forced us to meet new challenges with rapid innovation and alteration, and we will continue to develop and perfect the technology that has accelerated digital transformation during this period. Automation has been a clear winner in the last year, enabling enterprises to accomplish more, with greater speed and efficiency. Workers are empowered to focus on their projects, rather than the underlying processes, increasing productivity and accuracy. In 2022, we will expand our reliance upon automation as it continues to grow in importance and prevalence. Automation, AI, and machine learning are just beginning to revolutionize our work and daily lives.

Hybrid is the new normal

If black and white represent the traditional IT approach, grey represents the new normal of a hybrid IT approach. Software is redefining our notion of hybrid. Networks are combining and aggregating a wide variety of technologies. Applications and infrastructure reside in multiple clouds and on-premises with employees working in the office and from home. Business is learning the value of embracing adaptation. Technology has freed business operations from traditional constraints, allowing for a hybrid workforce and centrally managed and controlled services from any location. Enterprises are deriving increased value and efficiencies by incorporating agile and collaborative processes and capabilities within their business model. In 2022, these trends will continue to transform enterprise operations, inspire greater technological innovations, and drive the need for even more automation.

Significant transition will continue in 2022, setting the stage for forthcoming years

In the past two years, reliance upon digital technologies has become an even greater part of our business and private lives and there’s no turning back. Out of necessity, we have had to put aside many of the comfortable, traditional approaches we previously held onto. We’ve been forced into new remote, distributed workforce environments and the adoption of new technologies and processes. We’ve subsequently seen how new technology has essentially saved us while improving business efficiencies and enabling greater agility, scale, and performance.

I believe 2022 will be a transitionary year, where automation, 5G, metaverse, and intent-based networking will accelerate into new use cases, for example, combining telepresence and metaverse. Think of the possibilities of bridging the gap between remote and in-person experiences. Imagine if we could expand our ability to feel as if we are truly present in a remote meeting, within a persistent 3D virtual environment that blends physical reality with virtual reality. Not a next-year reality, but 2022 will begin the transition process for these types of technology innovations.

There will be similar transitionary advances with 5G expanding back-haul from the tower to the Internet core, to bring more bandwidth and faster throughput. I see SD-WAN and intent-based networking improving the control and speed of cybersecurity event detection and fixing network issues faster. We will see more leverage of high-speed connectivity everywhere, with network orchestration and machine learning automating administrative work, while creating many new business opportunities. Lastly, I’m hoping the US government’s infrastructure bill will be a funding impetus that lays the groundwork to help drive much-needed connectivity infrastructure projects, especially in areas such as rural broadband.

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