SD-WAN to play key role in digital revolution

Jason McGee-Abe
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BT Global Services’ Colin Spence delivered the opening keynote at the fourth WAN Summit in New York City which kicked off yesterday

WAN SummitCorporations, including telecom operators, are experiencing a digital transformation across their businesses and, as such, will require more agility and innovation from smart networks to meet those demands. SD-WAN is one such technology that can deliver that impact.

That was the takeaway from the opening keynote delivered by Colin Spence, VP of eastern region at BT Global Services at the fourth WAN Summit in New York City, which kicked off at the Marriott Marquis with a turnout of around 250 delegates across the SD-WAN space yesterday.

The world is becoming increasingly social and mobile. This is evident in multi-channel contact centres in which consumers can communicate to their providers through various methods and in the online space where suppliers know what consumers are going to buy, even before they make that purchase, illustrated Spence.

Colin Spence - BTBeyond a sales or a marketing strategy, now “every company needs a digital strategy,” he said. “Otherwise you’re going to be left in the dust.”

Sharing the results from ‘BT CIO report 2016: the digital CIO’ in which the company interviewed over 1,000 CIOs and IT decision-makers in 11 countries, Spence said about 43% are challenged by new strategies and business models for increased connectivity and customer engagement, with 39% already implementing a digital strategy across their organisations.

While hype around SDN-WAN deployment has increased, present wide-scale deployment seems modest although it looks set to gain pace. In a live poll held at the summit, 20% of the respondents said they have already implemented an SD-WAN service while nearly half said they have plans to adopt SD-WAN and are presently selecting a vendor.

Still, Spence predicts the industry will see an accelerated shift towards hybrid WAN in the next 12 to 18 months, with 70% adopting SD-WAN in some form, within the next 18 months.

Improving performance and cutting costs emerged as the two most crucial business drivers of SD-WAN deployments by 54% and 29% of the respondents. By all estimates, the industry appears to be bullish for an SD-WAN market which is anticipated to reach $6 billion by 2020, from its present $225 million, according to IDC. GTB

Reporting by Agnes Stubbs