Is your network IoT-ready?

We find out how organisations in Asia can overcome the network challenges brought about by IoT and smart cities from Alcatel Lucent Enterprise’s Kenny Ng.

By Nurdianah Md Nur
Aug. 26, 2016

ALE Kenny Ng
Kenny Ng, Head of Worldwide Market Development, Network Business Division, Alcatel Lucent Enterprise

According to Gartner, 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide by end of this year. The research firm also predicts that by 2020, more than half of major new business processes and systems will incorporate some element of the Internet of Things (IoT). So how should businesses ensure that their networks will be able to support the deluge of connected devices? We spoke to Kenny Ng, Head of Worldwide Market Development, Network Business Division, Alcatel Lucent Enterprise, to find out more.

What are some of the challenges related to networks do you foresee with the onset of IoT?
IoT, coupled with increasing connectivity and mobility, are shaping tomorrow's digital business - challenging IT departments to think beyond employees, to include customers and visitors and how they interact with the business. Additionally, IT teams need to support more departments requesting connectivity for their IoT devices and applications.

Businesses also need to reconsider the performance, reliability and security of their network infrastructure. The existing network infrastructure is struggling to carry the load caused by employees increasingly using mobile devices and applications in the workplace, and the adoption of IoT in various departments. According to a Gartner report, 20.8 billion new IoT devices are expected to be in use by 2020, with a majority in the workplace. This combination of mobility and IoT creates a need for networks to provide higher resiliency, tighter security, more wireless coverage, higher performance and the ability to contain IoT traffic. 

How should organisations in Asia overcome those challenges if they intend to adopt IoT?
The lifecycle of technology has become shorter and shorter and it is harder to ensure the resiliency of your network. You no sooner deploy the latest in Wi-Fi technology only to find out the next 802.11 standard has been released that allows for better coverage, more users and better bandwidth and throughput.

Additionally, it's no secret that employees have a very different set of demands and expectations than even a few years ago, with hot desks and being constantly on the move. Organisations need to be able to keep up with their requirements for a network that can securely support their devices with access from anywhere, whether at your headquarters, in a branch office or remote location. They need to look at vendors, who can provide them with the option to turn on or off access, depending on job requirements.

IT departments have to plan such that their network is more than adequate to service everyday needs. Organisations need to consider a solution that has the ability to scale up or down regardless of whether the network is at 100 percent capacity or at 20 percent capacity.

Rather than buying a new network infrastructure and having to keep updating it, organisations should consider using a vendor's network that is expandable upon demand, but costs them little while not in use. Changing their budget from capital expenses to one of operational expenses means their network can be running the latest technology, it can provide the mobility your employees and users demand, and it can perform when demand exceeds the highest requirements. Security also becomes a vendor's concern rather than the organisation's.  

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