What an exciting time to connect at our upcoming SD-WAN CIO Summit with the IT leaders driving Houston’s Smart City transformation. Just this past May, City of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced an alliance with Microsoft to bring the Internet of Things (IoT) technology to the city.
Think of all of the possibilities for using IoT to make Houston a more connected, data-driven city – to create efficiencies, expand economic opportunities, enhance quality of life for citizens, and even build a smarter energy infrastructure.
Data collected from sensors on buses, for instance, might be used to determine optimal routes to relieve traffic congestion or alert managers when aggressive driving patterns consume more fuel than necessary. And that’s only the beginning!
For the enterprise, IoT offers the potential to create a more intelligent work environment and a happier workforce. By connecting devices and objects from all locations to the internet, they can be centrally managed, or set up to collect and share data and communicate without human involvement. With the right IoT hardware and technologies in place, such as smart devices, robots, and artificial intelligence, workers can be more effective in their roles, and their productivity can be measured using real-time data.
Today, digital assistants like Alexa for Business can be used to find the location of the nearest meeting room, allow for ordering of supplies, or for personal tasks such as making calls and texting, checking calendars, and accessing information from business apps like Salesforce and Concur. Smart building management systems automate control of heating, air conditioning, lighting, and security systems. Smart watches open office doors, smart desks warn employees if they’ve been sitting or standing too long, and voice commands start and control video conferences. Connected coffee makers never run dry and vending machines communicate when products need to be refilled.
Our increasingly integrated and connected environments offer unprecedented advantages, but also present a myriad of challenges. For one, all of these devices and objects take bandwidth, and their numbers will only grow. The global research and advisory firm Gartner predicts that by 2020, organizations will need to support over 26 billion connected devices. Secondly, IoT delivers constant data that needs to be managed along with inputs from many different data sources, often dispersed on multiple systems with no singular view for analysis or real-time decision-making.
Moreover, in highly regulated industries like oil and gas, financial services, and healthcare, data silos not only create operational inefficiencies but put the organization at risk with their ability to meet regulatory compliance requirements. And network administrators are responsible for security across their entire networks, as more and more devices and objects connect and generate tremendous amounts of data.
So how do IT leaders keep IoT, and their entire network, under control? In traditional network models, companies invest for scalability, buying more ports than needed and managing hundreds or thousands of annual software licenses. With all of the stress put on today’s networks by devices and IoT objects running cloud-based applications, many organizations have turned to Network as a Service (NaaS), shifting investment from ongoing capital expenditures to a consumption-based model.
NaaS enables organizations to pay only for what they use, whether on a per-port basis or by network utilization, and scales securely at any time. And with its real-time dashboard, NaaS helps network admins not only account for all devices on the network, but can automate segmentation of groups of users and devices based on policies, improve security, and deliver IoT analytics needed to make smart business decisions.
Our CBTS account managers and network engineers are excited to talk with Houston’s technology leaders about how NaaS can:
If you’re not headed to our SD-WAN CIO Summit, we’d still be pleased to answer any of your Cloud Networking questions.