It's always interesting to look back at the end of the year to see how our experience with clients lines up with some of the trends that were predicted for the year. Generally -and not surprisingly- we see planning and technology adoptions that align well with many of the forecasts. What's perhaps more interesting is to observe where the most momentum is building so I've chosen three areas that I expect will continue rapid growth throughout 2017: Software-defined Wide Area Networking (SDWAN), carrier cloud connected services, and managed security services. Like most trends in the telecommunications world, we tend to hear about them for some time before we see them practically applied in the field in a significant way. All three of these areas have gained significant traction by small businesses and large, multi-national corporations alike so if they're not priorities on your road map today, you may find they're worth reconsidering.

Software-define Networking (SDN) and SDWAN technologies have been emerging for some time now and along with that, some new players have successfully entered the market. In parallel the larger ILECs and CLECs have matured their offerings, making it a bit easier for uncertain customers to dip their toes in the water. Over the last year we've seen customers who have leveraged simple provisional builds via a few broadband connections and technologies like Cisco's Meraki while their awaiting their MPLS circuit delivery to customers who have ripped out and replaced their MPLS networks with Aryaka's SDWAN solution. Most commonly, we're seeing clients experimenting with SDWAN links a backup or for low priority locations both to save money and increase overall bandwidth capacity. No matter how it's deployed, similar historical trends (SIP, Cloud Services, etc.) and carrier and new player investment indicate the SDWAN is going to accelerate in its growth in 2017 and beyond.

The Cloud, as vague a term as it is, has been around for a while. And companies have been moving more of their applications, services, storage, etc. to the Cloud for some time. In doing so, these companies have also created a requirement to establish and manage connections to these third party providers, which is cumbersome at best. The carriers' answer to this challenge has been to provide connectivity to third party service providers directly through their MPLS networks. So, for example, rather than having to maintain connectivity for Amazon Web Services (AWS), the carrier can weave it directly into their cloud eliminate the need to be concerned with connecting directly to Amazon ever again. This trend has been interesting to watch. Demand and adoption of third party Cloud services has risen in recent years, the carriers have reached a tipping point in terms of providing this built-in connectivity and so the shift from adoption to management to integration into the WAN is now gaining velocity and will continue to do so as the carriers bring on more and more partners, making their solution even more appealing.

Cybersecurity is a term that's rang loud and clear throughout 2016 in both business and consumer markets. From reports of over a million cybersecurity jobs being available in the U.S. in 2016 to high profile retail, insurance, banking breaches, to the U.S. Presidential Campaign, concerns for cybersecurity has entered our daily lives. So, as you can imagine the demand for cybersecurity services has grown dramatically and will continue to grow. Both specialized firms and carriers alike have entire portfolios to support the need for increased security measures, no matter the industry the customer operates within. The reason many are looking to the carriers is simple: they own the networks. The carriers have a unique perspective and a tremendous amount of experience and data to help enterprises better manage their own security. Most organizations cannot justify bringing in and maintaining the level of security needed to ensure company and customer data are secure. As the quantity and sophistication of cyber attacks increase, the demand for third party support will as well. Keep an eye on the carriers and their qualifications in 2017 as they are bolstering their offerings to grab a slice of the pie in this growing industry.
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David Pastore

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