Supporting Future Technologies with Fiber Internet
Investing in digital business initiatives is a top objective for today’s midsize business leaders. That doesn’t just stop with digitizing core processes and upgrading legacy infrastructure. Another important area to consider is implementing future-focused technologies. In some cases, technologies are just around the corner; in others, the technology exists, but the use cases and actual rollout for midsize businesses is limited due to cost or complexity.
As you create a roadmap to achieve your digital business goals, whether you’re increasing productivity or investing in the customer experience (CX), there’s one area that’s essential to pay attention to — your network. Here’s a closer look at why many growing midsize organizations with an eye on future tech are betting on fiber.
Understanding Fiber and Emerging Technologies
When you think about future technologies, there are so many options to envision. A smart office powered by sensors and voice-driven interfaces. IoT devices throughout the supply chain and physical retail locations, collecting data and relaying it back in real time. Virtual reality, augmented reality and other CX-focused investments. Each of these technologies share something in common: they require a fast, reliable network to deliver the business results that justify digital investments.
Fiber is a network that’s built on fiber-optic cables. Fiber is one of the fastest internet-connectivity options currently available, and it’s able to produce speeds much faster than traditional copper lines. Tapping into that higher speed can be an essential piece of creating the secure, high level of service customers demand.
In fact, notes Forbes, the advantages of fiber include faster repairs for problems and higher levels of security: “Translation: Fiber is awesome. It’s the fastest, cleanest type of last-mile connection, easily surpassing copper and cable. It’s also very secure, since it doesn’t have an electromagnetic field, which could be read by surveillance equipment. Providers often offer the best service-level agreements with fiber, including the fastest mean time to repair (MTTR), which makes it ideal for handling mission-critical data.”
Why You Should Care about Symmetrical Speeds
Think about when you purchased your current internet connection. The vendor probably listed different speeds for downloading and uploading data. Often, these differences don’t make too much of a difference. However, technologies that are gathering and sharing information on a feedback loop may actually demand it. For example, a virtual reality application where a user can react to what’s happening and choose options based on haptic feedback needs to send and receive information in real time to offer a good user experience.
Fiber provides more consistent upload and download speeds — referred to as symmetric speeds — which can be essential to effectively powering certain types of technology such as real-time data gathering applications and immersive experiences. As you plan digital business initiatives, assess how important feeding information back into the technology ecosystem is. Examples where this come into play include real-time experiences, heavy cloud applications, and real-time backup that can sometimes be required to advance these speeds. These faster speeds also translate into lower processing delays, further reinforcing strong performance.
Future Success Requires Flexible Bandwidth
As the technologies that we rely on every day change, there’s an increasing need for more bandwidth. This can play out in a couple of different ways. The first is measured on sheer bandwidth. The second is how fluidly that bandwidth can be scaled. As a point of reference, Recode reports that online video consumption, for example, could triple bandwidth demand in the next five years.
Fiber offers the flexibility to scale up bandwidth as new business opportunities demand. As Forbes notes, “For a growing business, fiber is an excellent choice because you can flexibly scale your bandwidth.” In addition, fiber may actually play a role in bringing new technologies to bear. Consider the excitement about the next-level faster wireless potential of 5G. In one report, Deloitte called fiber the centerpiece of wireless advancement. They write: “Deep fiber is the next front in the battle to lead the world in Internet speed and capacity. Unlocking the full potential of 5G in the United States rests on a key assumption: the extension of fiber deep into the network.” As your digital business initiatives advance, adopting fiber can help you deliver an experience that outpaces the competition while seeing a full return on your overall investment.
Mitigating Digital Business Risk with Fiber
Let’s go back to the idea of digital business investments for a moment. Taking a chance and investing in new technologies carries some risk. For example, buying equipment, training your team and then rolling it out in the market requires an investment of both time and money. Increasingly, midsize businesses are focusing on the role of practical innovation to minimize risk and maximize results.
Choosing a connectivity solution like fiber can be another step in mitigating the risk. Investing in technologies and then not seeing a return on investments can slow the pace of innovation and cool appetites for further investment. CIO recommends making strategic planning a key part of your digital business initiatives: “When managing technology risk, your company should anticipate changes while or before they happen and determine the associated risks. Accordingly, technology risk management should be involved in strategic business planning, embedding risks and adding value upfront, rather than being treated as a cost.”
One aspect of that planning is asking hard questions about the speed and bandwidth new technologies require to really deliver — and then making the foundational investments necessary to maximize your return.
As midsize businesses plan future digital business initiatives, investing in underlying infrastructure is key. Fiber can be the perfect foundation to fuel these efforts and help ensure that your organization gets maximum return on midsize efforts. As new technologies emerge, there’s likely to be an increase in bandwidth’s intensive processes. Investing in fiber now will help you outpace the competition and be in a position to adopt the latest innovations shaping your industry as these opportunities emerge.
Are you ready to embrace next-generation technologies? Learn more about CenturyLink Fiber today.