June 10, 2021

How to prepare your company for the future of connectivity

Original article by Patrick Ndegwa, SEACOM East Africa Business Sales Lead.

The traditional business model has been changed by modern connectivity solutions and services that give consumers new ways in which to interact with companies. This has helped during the global pandemic as enterprises can now accelerate the pace of innovation through automation, artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud and advanced analytics.

Our increased need for data is also fuelling the improvement of business networks and connectivity. The question is, what does the future of connectivity look like and how can African businesses prepare themselves for this rapidly approaching reality?

New types of connectivity

When the internet first reached Africa, it was really sporadic and expensive, which made it inaccessible to the majority of citizens. However, in 2009, SEACOM introduced 17 000km of undersea fibre optic cable along the eastern and southern coasts of Africa. This resulted in a dramatic reduction in the price of connectivity and gave many South Africans direct access to the internet.

Today, people need more speed and far less latency. The network architecture needs to be flexible to meet rising demands for more data and bandwidth. The fifth generation of wireless technology (5G) is almost here, which will enable up to 1000 times more data transmission capacity, 10 times lower latency and network slicing capabilities. This will help to prioritise specific users, services and devices when the network becomes busy.

Despite this, fibre will remain the backbone of connectivity for the foreseeable future. The speed and reliability of 5G relies on the fibre networks that carry traffic to the 5G transmitters. The rollout of new forms of connectivity will take time to become accessible and reliable for all. Businesses cannot stay idle while this happens, so investment in solid fibre networks is essential.

Cloud is the future

The pandemic has forced companies to migrate to the cloud and move their activities online. Businesses now need to cater to customers online and enable remote working for employees, which largely relies on cloud networks. This massive digital migration has led to better network infrastructure and companies are reporting that they have accelerated their digitisation by three to four years.

Hybrid work models (working from home and on-premise) are not only preferred by employees, but they also introduce cost savings for companies in many cases. This is why cloud adoption is important for both innovation and business resilience. Companies need to take advantage of cloud-based applications and servers for better productivity and continuity.

While many private businesses and institutions have yet to adopt cloud technology, as their knowledge and understanding becomes clearer, we are likely to see rapid uptake of these solutions. Companies need to understand that cloud offers greater flexibility, security and efficiency, but this also relies on governmental regulations and reliable network infrastructure.

The next generation of networks

Networks are being challenged unlike ever before, due to increased digitisation, cloud adoption and internet-enabled devices. African data traffic is expected to increase by 12 times from now until 2025, which is why companies need flexible networks to meet these growing demands.

A software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) is a modern solution that can meet these requirements. It allows companies to manage every aspect of their network from a centralised location. The software intelligently directs traffic across the network to improve speed, efficiency, reliability and security of the connections. SD-WAN also optimises bandwidth usage and costs.

This form of network offers more control, visibility and flexibility than traditional wide area networks (WANs), virtual private networks (VPNs) and multiprotocol label switching (MPLS). African businesses need to embrace these types of future-ready networks in order to meet increasing demands from consumers or business customers.

Preparation is vital

Those businesses that can fully utilise digital technologies will remain highly competitive and at the forefront of their industries. All companies need a clear connectivity strategy that takes into account where they are now and where they need to be in a few years’ time. This will help them to prepare for the future of connectivity and to implement next-generation technologies.

The best way for businesses to prepare is by partnering with a reliable connectivity provider that can offer cloud solutions, high-quality connections, scalable services and new technologies. A dramatic digital transformation is underway and connectivity will form the base for the future digital economy. For more information or to get a quote for our networking and connectivity solutions, email us at marketing@seacom.com or leave us a message.

SEACOM owns Africa’s most extensive network of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, including subsea cables and secure internet connections. We offer a diverse range of flexible, scalable and high-quality solutions for businesses that meet world-class standards for connectivity.

SEACOM is privately owned and operated, making it agile and adaptable to the needs of the customer. This makes us the preferred ICT and internet connectivity partner for African businesses and peripheral service providers. We can guarantee high-speed, low-latency and secure internet connections to corporates and small enterprises.

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