3 Communications Infrastructure Trends to Watch in 2022
By Brian Daniels, Managing Director, Strategic Sales and Joel Daly, SVP, Product Strategy & Innovation
The future of our society — work, shopping and everything in between — is a digital one. The office as we once knew it is forever changed, with employees more dispersed than ever before. Online shopping is becoming the norm, as convenience and safety become priorities for consumers. Digital media is taking priority, as virtual experiences move closer to real life. Software is taking over every industry and we are quickly moving towards a future that lives in the cloud.
But, what is driving the digital transformation and powering these emerging technologies? Our experts dive deeper below.
1. Private Wireless Powers IoT
The pandemic introduced us to click and collect (also referred to as buy online, pick up in-store), where consumers are placing an order online and retrieving their purchase through curbside pickup. When a customer pulls into that curbside spot, an employee brings out their order, usually carrying a mobile device with fulfillment information on it. That device usually runs on the in-store WiFi, but the moment they step outside, network reliability can go right out the window because they’ve lost connection. Or, consider when you walk into a store and see employees with handheld devices, scanning barcodes on boxes or shelves and having a virtual “conversation” with the store, the distribution center, the cloud, and other entities. All that information has to be transmitted over a secure, reliable network.
Private wireless solves the issues of wireless interference or weak signals in high ceiling buildings like a big-box store or vast areas like a parking lot. In 2022, we’ll be watching the rise of private wireless networks running on Citizens Broadband Radio Service or CBRS, particularly in manufacturing and retail. For manufacturers, CBRS ensures the interconnectivity of the entire supply chain that keeps costs low and efficiency high, identifying problems before downtime occurs. For retailers, CBRS offers connectivity in large warehouses and can blanket multiple buildings on one network, so information can be shared quickly and accurately. The future of business demands agility and accuracy, necessitating secure, safe, controllable networks with coverage and capacity.
2. The Edge Station Will Streamline Data from AV to Cloud
One of the most prominent emerging technologies of the last few years has been autonomous vehicles (AV). From ride sharing to food delivery, companies have been implementing AV into their fleet to cut costs and increase efficiency. But they are more than just your average car — they generate 4TB of data each day and need efficient ways to offload that data. Sometimes that data needs to be uploaded quickly, other times it can wait until the car is parked.
Right now, that process is inefficient: hard drives are manually removed, swapped, and shipped off. The edge station will revolutionize data transfer between AV and data centers or the cloud. With an edge station, that data can be remotely or automatically transferred off the hard drive on a secure, fast fiber network directly to storage and AV can just continue along.
The Biden administration is allocating $7.5 billion towards building a network of 500,000 charging stations — more than half of those will require edge station capabilities. Efficiency is the name of the game, and the edge station will be a huge game-changer for cloud connectivity in 2022.
3. Fiber-To-The-Tower? No, Fiber To Space
Increased demand for bandwidth and capacity has led to many creative solutions to get secure, reliable internet to the masses. That creativity doesn’t stop with the boundaries of Earth, as evidenced by satellite internet constellations. Fiber is the backbone of communications technology, but it isn’t all about fiber to the tower. The future is both new and existing fiber being leveraged by businesses, mobile operators, and others to take internet traffic from Earth into space and back to Earth again.
In 2022, it will be important to watch how communications infrastructure is leveraged in new, innovative ways to connect more people to what they need to be connected to, whether it’s a business meeting, an online purchase, or a family member around the world.
At Zayo, we are excited and intrigued by these trends. With 40,000 on-net or near-net buildings in our network and enterprise-level bandwidth, we are fully prepared to work with our customers and partners to ensure a smooth, secure digital transformation.