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From mobile phones to wearables, to smart homes and cities and connected cars, IoT is poised to transform how telecoms vendors, carriers, and enterprises connect, collect, and exchange data across next-generation 5G networks. The massive influx of data that the billions of connected IoT devices will generate will be a strategic asset for all involved in the telecommunications industry. Carriers will look to partners to help them navigate network virtualization, using software, security, and analytics in preparation for 5G transformation and IoT evolution.

Carriers must transform to capture the IoT opportunity

At the heart of network virtualization are software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV). These are the technologies driving the shift from legacy hardware infrastructure to software-mediated networking. SDN/NFV will play a pivotal role in getting carriers to 5G; and with commercialization expected after 2020, the 5G network promises to transform how carriers deliver and monetize services. Some of the main benefits to be realized through 5G networking include

  • optimized network resources that will efficiently handle the exponential growth in data traffic that connected devices, cloud computing, 4K video streaming, and AR/VR will generate

  • new revenue generation through the monetization of software-based, value-added services, including real-time analytics

  • programmable networks to support a variety of IoT use cases that require different latency, reliability, and data-rate parameters.

As the industry moves closer to the end of 2018, there's a stronger sense of urgency to virtualize networks because although virtualization is a central component of 5G, it is not practical for carriers to wait until 2020 to begin network transformation efforts. Over the next year, CSPs' network transformation priorities will shift toward deeper automation of SDN/NFV platforms, service assurance to keep networks safe, and advance analytics to capture the big data opportunity the billions of IoT devices will generate.

Decisions on how deeply to support IoT will vary, but carriers will ultimately benefit from forming a strong ecosystem of IoT partners to optimize network performance and gain strong service assurance and advanced analytics capabilities to capture the burgeoning IoT opportunity.



Stephanie Gibbons, Principal Analyst, Network Infrastructure and Software

[email protected]