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Top 5 Trends for a Connected World in 2016

Close the books on 2015. In the last week we have seen many “Year in Review” stories. Here at Network Critical, however, we like to keep our eyes focused on the road ahead. We are going to start the year with a blog about trends in the networked world that are likely to affect our jobs and lives in the coming year. Here are some of the major trends and a few comments about each:

Bandwidth Growth - This is a recurring topic every year. What amazes us, though, is the magnitude of growth. Cisco forecasts that global IP traffic in 2016 will pass the 1 zettabyte mark. In case you have not yet heard of the term, a zettabyte is one trillion gigabytes. For the engineers out there, the number is 1021. That is a lot of zeros. Following are some of the drivers behind the bandwidth growth.

Devices - Part of what will be driving this growth is the plethora of connected devices that are being developed. The Internet of Things, is becoming The Internet of Everything. According to Gartner, wearable web access will be a $10 Billion business in 2016. This includes fitness tracking devices, watches, ear devices, glasses, shoes and even some talk about chips in tattoos. This trend has people being actively connected more hours per day, more days per week. We are closing in on 24/7 personal connectivity with new apps touching every part of our lives. Traffic from wireless devices will exceed traffic from wired devices in 2016.

Shopping - The internet has transformed shopping and more changes are coming. The early discussions were about dot com replacing physical shopping. Retailers are now learning how dot com shopping can enhance the physical shopping experience. So you will see more blending between internet and in-store activities. Further, retailers are becoming smarter about using the internet while you are in the store. The shopping experience will transformed to become more real time interactive between you and the retailer. Beacons will broadcast your location and merchandise may literally beckon your attention. You and your phone may be walking by a refrigerator that is enabled by a Bluetooth Beacon. When it notices your proximity it might blink (wink?) the ice maker light to catch your attention.

Entertainment - It is not your father's TV. Companies that are thought of as “Internet Companies” are engaging in content development and winning consumers over from traditional network TV. Streaming services companies Amazon, Hulu and Netflix received 14 Golden Globe Awards in 2015. In fact, streaming video is forecast to hit over $16 Billion dollars in the United States alone by 2019, growing at 15% per year. Streaming video at 4K (UHDTV) will have a dramatic impact on bandwidth requirements as these services grow. Netflix and Amazon were the only two companies on the S&P500 to double in value in 2015.

Security - How bad is it? It is so bad that an Italian security group called The Hacking Team, got hacked. Some other major breeches included Experian, Target, T-Mobile and Anthem Health Care. These are companies that are not without resources to protect and combat cyber attacks.

So what should we look forward to in 2016? More of the same. The lesson here is that corporate networks are not nearly as secure as we think. Further, the corporations are realizing that the cost of protection is much less than the cost of a breach. Expect IT Security budgets to grow in 2016. Look for spending on this triad…Visibility into data flows (to know what is going on in the network), Tools that will monitor and manage in-flows and out-flows (keeping the intruders out and keeping the data in), Policy to manage who has access to what). Re-thinking and dramatically shrinking who has access to confidential information in the corporate network will be a discussion in many board rooms this year. As long as there are networks, there will be breaches. However, good visibility, the right tools and sound access policy can help safeguard information and reduce the severity of breaches.

We hope you enjoy your new devices, interactive shopping and multi-screen entertainment in a more secure world. Happy New Year from Network Critical.

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