Drive IoT Transformation With 4 Smart Network Rules

A broad horizon, tailored network, smart defenses will help customers capitalize.

Channel Partners

November 16, 2016

4 Min Read
Drive IoT Transformation With 4 Smart Network Rules

Heitor FaroniBy Heitor Faroni

IoT is morphing from smart concept to profitable reality — investment bank Goldman Sachs cites the Internet of Things as a $7 trillion opportunity by 2020, with IoT set to have an impact at every stage in the production and distribution of products and services.

No surprise, the “smarts” are now on parade: smart cities with their smart grids and smart transportation systems and smart cars, all demonstrating the benefits of machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity. Consistent connectivity now becomes critical to how effectively these devices will perform, and this connectivity relies on customers having the right network infrastructure in place.

There are four fundamental network mandates to enable businesses to take full advantage of the transformations that IoT will drive:

  • Broaden the horizons of network visibility: The sprawling nature of IoT requires comprehensive management of the entire network, wired and wireless, right to the edge. Devices – smart and not so smart – need access, and the ability to transfer data, to core network components. This is why a smart switching plan is key. As more and more connected devices and sensors are transmitting data on the network, customers will find that sending data from devices straight to the data center is inefficient, causing bottlenecks on the network and impacting performance. An intelligent network needs to extend functionality right to the edge so data can be analyzed and processed on the way to the core, or from device to device. To manage the increased flow of IoT traffic, switches at the edge of the network will need to offer enhanced security and integrated analytics.

  • Ensure the network is fit for IoT purpose: It is virtually impossible for a network that has been installed and upgraded on an ad-hoc basis – often with separate solutions for voice, data, wired and wireless – to fully deliver on the promise of IoT. There are many enterprise IT systems out there that are simply not fit for IoT purposes. A single converged network is fundamental to a state-of-the-art IoT environment and will guarantee customers a greater level of interoperability and support for IoT applications and devices.

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  • Remember that smarter feedback equals smarter decisions: Predictive analysis and reporting functions are vital in enabling enterprises to use big data to build proactive, data-driven decision-making capabilities. Analysis of big data can also provide valuable insight into network operations. Predictive network-analytics tools delivered to customers, alongside network management systems, provide reporting utilities that offer detailed network performance indicators. This reporting can enable actions as simple as automatically prioritizing data traffic, determining whether a new service or application being rolled out will exceed current network capacity or ensuring that every Thursday afternoon the R&D department gets extra bandwidth to support its data heavy processes.

  • Defend dumb and dumber devices: Not every device is smart. Poorly secured pseudo-smart devices, such as watches and activity trackers, pose a threat to essential network security, as do traditional “dumb” but still connected devices such as light bulbs and door locks. Simply monitoring and controlling the flow of packets to and from IoT devices is not enough to guarantee security. All devices, right out to the network edge, must be made smarter by the network management and the switches on the network.

IoT offers the chance for enterprise customers to deliver new applications and gain real-time insights via millions of endpoints. Your role is providing the wherewithal for customers to capture, understand and make more effective use of device data. Are you ready?

Heitor Faroni is director, Solutions Marketing, Network Business at Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. He has more than 20 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, working in both enterprise and carrier markets. In his current role at Alcatel-Lucent, Faroni is responsible for solutions marketing in Alcatel-Lucent’s Enterprise Network business.

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