Transformation. In a word, it’s what every player in the global information and communications technology (ICT) industry faces today. Millions of users from every corner of the globe coming onto the network. From remote locations in the Middle East and Africa to bustling urban epicenters in Europe and North America, these users are lighting up the network with billions of bandwidth-hungry devices. And with it, they are transforming the way in which network service must be delivered.
Call it an insatiable demand for data; one that is driving data rates to exponential new heights. Annual global IP traffic is expected to reach 3.3 ZB annually by 2021, up from 1.2 ZB annually in 2016. But those are just the numbers. What’s even more exciting is a look at what the numbers are doing for the business of being connected. It’s creating new markets like AR/VR (augmented reality/virtual reality), autonomous vehicles and telehealth. It’s rapidly turning our smartphones into the central hub of our lives, putting control at our fingertips. And it’s feeding the fabric of the Internet of Things; billions of sensor-based networks powering everything from our farms to our factories.
Here’s what this all means for global ICT: An era of abundant opportunity; the ability to meet demand head on and deliver an exceptional user experience.
But that vision of connectivity only comes through the concept of convergence, the creation of a fully converged global network. One that affords users the luxury of seamlessly navigating between all access technologies—Wi-Fi, cellular, satellite, fixed, wireline and more—all with tremendous scale and zero latency.
This transformation is underscored by an important leap forward in cellular communications, called 5G. The coming of this next-generation network promises to deliver exponential speeds and data rates—enough to power all that is possible. That requires all players in the ICT ecosystem operating under a unified mindset of network convergence. It means a heavier investment in such technologies as edge computing, cloud and virtualized networks. It means the release of additional pools of spectrum. And it means a new look at the underlying infrastructure altogether.
From standards development to policy initiatives, and from defining business opportunities to educating the industry through market intelligence: the next-generation network is reliant upon the collective effort of the entire ICT ecosystem.
TIA, with support from our hundreds of member companies, is committed to helping shape this transformation. Join us in our journey forward.