Accelerate your tech game This content is produced in association with the sponsor and is not part of ZDNET's editoral content. Learn more

ZDNET Multiplexer

mul-ti-plexer-er. noun. A device, in electronics, that synthesizes disparate data signals into a single, uniform output. ZDNET Multiplexer merges various perspectives, media types, and data sources and synthesizes them into one clear message, via a sponsored blog.

ZDNET Multiplexer allows marketers to connect directly with the ZDNET community by enabling them to blog on the ZDNET publishing platform. Content on ZDNET Multiplexer blogs is produced in association with the sponsor and is not part of ZDNET's editorial content.


Building tomorrow's network today

We live in an era of technological change. Even before the pandemic, the pace of digitalisation had begun to accelerate, forcing leaders to respond by investing in new digital technologies and capabilities much faster than they had before.

Today we see bricks and mortar-born businesses reinventing themselves as digital organisations, putting their customers at the centre of digital business models while striving to constantly raise standards for the experiences they provide. This includes satisfying a workforce that demands exceptional workplace experiences, and for whom the ability to work from anywhere is now an expectation.

The bottom line is that organisations must be more flexible and adaptable than ever before, and that means they need networking infrastructure that can provide flexible, reliable, and secure foundations for their business.

But today's needs are only the beginning of what must be considered when making technology investments. On the horizon is a host of emerging technologies, such as augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), which have the potential to revolutionise both customer and employee engagement.

Any long-term technology investment decisions made today should first consider the impact these technologies may have on workers and customers tomorrow.

Woman drawing on smart board in virtual work meeting

A new approach to network agility

For technology leaders, these emerging technologies need to be considered now, and factored into decision making regarding the underlying infrastructure that will support the organisation's future needs.

One of the best places to start is by considering the needs of your people. By starting with a thorough audit of customer and employee requirements it becomes possible to fit emerging technologies into possible future working models and plan accordingly.

Using 'what if' analysis, you can match up people's roles and their needs to the possibilities of emerging technologies and create scenarios on sliding scales of likelihood that can be used to develop future network use cases.

For example, if virtual reality is likely to play a key role in customer engagements, then high bandwidth and low-latency connections will be essential for providing high-speed connections to cloud-based apps and data sources. If augmented reality will play a key role in a worker's life, then perhaps the bandwidth needs might diminish, and be superseded by the need for network resiliency.

Many of these emerging technologies are already available and ready for trial, such as Microsoft's latest release of its HoloLens augmented reality glasses or RealWear's Navigator assisted reality wearable device.

Another example is Cisco's Webex Hologram, a real-time, photorealistic holographic interaction that goes beyond videoconferencing for a truly immersive experience. Due for release in 2023, this new technology is a massive step-change for virtual collaboration but requires between three to four times the bandwidth of today's high-definition video collaboration systems.

Thanks to these new technologies, it will soon be possible to test new ideas in situ and make determinations for further supporting network investments.

Building tomorrow's network today

Whatever it is that people and customers might demand, there are some factors which can be assumed today will apply in even the long-term future.

The first of these is the need for greater flexibility. Through technologies such as SD-WAN, leaders can provision networks which are both cost effective and quick to deploy and modify, with unparalleled options for management and control.

The second is the need for seamless performance. Customers are frustrated by minor disruptions or loss of performance, so those of the future are likely to be more so. We expect the ability to monitor network performance through SD-WAN will be critical, but so too will be the need for redundancy in network design to cater for every contingency. Cloud onramps will also prove vital for providing highspeed, low-latency connections for AR/VR end points.

Man outside on a video call from his phone

Third, network users will expect to be able to use the network from anywhere. For technology leaders, this means harnessing access technology such as Fixed Wireless Access on 4G and 5G connections and weaving them into corporate networks.

Security needs to be an unquestionable priority. Already we see organisations racing to adopt cloud-native Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) network security architectures as a means of delivering a truly unified security service, utilising technology such as Cisco's Umbrella.


Today, many workers and customers enjoy the flexibility of working from any location at any time. This requirement to provide exceptional experiences regardless of location puts great pressure on technology leaders, and that pressure will only grow as emerging technologies enter the mainstream.

That means we need to be anticipating and catering to people's needs not just for today, but for tomorrow too, and factor in their future requirements for accessibility, resilience, performance, simplicity, and security.

Because if there is one thing that we know for sure, the expectations of the digital natives of today will be nothing in comparison to those of tomorrow.

To find out more visit Networking - Optus Enterprise.

Editorial standards