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The Covid-19 rebound and the gold rush for greater connectivity

Mike Hallam, MD at Wholesale, Virgin Media Business, explains how the channel can capitalise on growing demand for networking technologies

Covid-19 has redefined the nature of work and is fuelling a gold rush for technologies that can help organisations adjust to hybrid working, connect people at home and in the office and meet the digital demands of customers.
As large corporates and public sector organisations transition out of survival mode and look to rebound, investing in networking technologies will help underpin their success. Cloud services, connectivity and data storage have never been in such high demand.

But which solutions hold the key to the Covid-19 rebound? And how can the channel capitalise on the need for greater connectivity?

Data: There to be unlocked

Remote working and digitisation have created new data capacity and storage needs. The next-generation data storage market is estimated to grow from $53.9 billion by the end of 2020 to $81.0 billion by 2025, at an annual growth rate of 8.5%.

A major driver is the massive growth in digital data volumes caused by use of smartphones, laptops and tablets across multiple locations; growth of the Internet of Things (IOT); and increasing penetration of high-end cloud computing.

All of these have been magnified by the pandemic, increasing our reliance on these technologies.

To truly capitalise on the power of data, organisations need an underlying connectivity infrastructure capable of moving information between sites at lightning-fast speed.

This is critical to ensuring employees can collaborate and become more efficient and productive, especially in a hybrid working model with employees collaborating across multiple locations.

Advanced connectivity technologies, such as high capacity services (HCS) and dark fibre, meet these challenges head-on.

Essential, yet invisible to most people, HCS allow organisations to benefit from cloud data storage, applications and point-to-point connected services. With the ability to move large data volumes between local and national sites at high speed and low latency, HCS will play a fundamental role in the Covid-19 rebound, giving organisations the power to support remote working over the long-term.

Dark fibre is another technology with a key role to play in the data revolution. Referring to physical cables without electronic equipment, dark fibre gives businesses ultimate control over how much data is sent down a fibre. It can provide secure and ultrafast connectivity to citizens and organisations at a local level, putting the customer in charge of their own network and helping them to unlock the power of data.

While many dark fibre suppliers are only able to offer service in certain parts of the country, Virgin Media Business is unique in having a fibre optic network that spans the whole country, enabling it to offer national scale and faster delivery for customers.

These connectivity solutions, driven wholesale connectivity providers and their partners, will provide the autonomy, flexibility and scalability that large businesses need to recover and improve connectivity for their employees and customers.

Getting ready for the future

Connectivity infrastructure is also in demand due to the next wave of emerging technologies, in particular cloud innovation, 5G and the IoT.

Business and public sector leaders increasingly understand that to prepare their organisations for these emerging technologies they need to ensure the right connectivity is in place. This, too, is driving the gold rush for networking infrastructure.

Covid-19 is forcing many businesses and public sector organisations to move to the cloud. Spending in this area increased by 37% in the first quarter of 2020 alone and is expected to grow by 19% by the end of this year.

Connectivity infrastructure such as HCS will be vital in supporting this shift, as it empowers businesses to scale cloud and data management services quickly and cost effectively. This is especially important at a time when access to sites is restricted due to continued social distancing measures.

Futureproofing isn’t just about investing in the latest, most exciting innovations.  It’s also about getting the core infrastructure right in the first place so that organisations can benefit from whatever comes next.

The NHS is a clear example of this. Forced to scale its digital evolution and cyber security services while under a national spotlight., it invested £150m in the internet of things, connectivity and digital security solutions at the start of the pandemic and is looking to these emerging technologies to help it cope long-term with the challenges of an ageing population and a public health crisis.

Another critical emerging technology is 5G. This has much higher requirements in terms of densification and generates significantly larger amounts of data than 4G, which can cause new time sensitivities and a need for lower latency. Similarly, the IoT is creating masses of data, all of which need to be instantly channelled towards an end point: a data storage centre.

Advanced connectivity solutions, such as dark fibre and HCS, can ensure the seamless adoption and provision of 5G data networks on a local and national scale. Suppliers with national networks like Virgin Media Business are uniquely able to offer these services to businesses and government organisations across the UK, helping them rapidly take advantage of these transformative technologies.

Don’t forget security

PWC UK’s Cyber Intelligence Unit has identified an alarming increase in cyber-attacks during the pandemic; the World Health Organisation has reported a fivefold rise in digital threats since the beginning of the crisis; and MonsterCloud claims that cybersecurity companies have seen an 800% increase in demand for support against cyberattacks, with IT, health and finance industries experiencing the highest volume of cases. Worryingly, these are also the industries most likely to transition to remote working-focused business models.

Businesses large and small across multiple sectors are on the hunt for new connectivity solutions that can cope with increased pressures, while also bringing resilience and security – another reason why end customers should look towards advanced connectivity infrastructure.

As a dedicated point-to-point circuit across private networks, HCS are secure and almost impossible to intercept, giving network managers and their end customers peace of mind when using the services to connect their businesses.

Leading the revolution

The Covid-19 rebound is a huge opportunity for large corporates and public sector organisations. By dramatically accelerating digital progress, they will be able to seize on the next wave of innovation and make a difference to people’s lives.

At the centre of this will be the sought-after technologies powering transformation. Virgin Media Business Wholesale is working alongside channel partners to ensure as many organisations benefit from the Gold Rush as possible, helping the UK economy to emerge from the crisis with dynamism, resilience and ambition.

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