The Rx for DX: Why CPaaS Loves SD-WAN
It’s the stuff nightmares are made of: You’ve organized an important conference call for a few dozen people. It took up way too much of your time but it’s finally scheduled, set up and tested. The big moment arrives — deals to be made, plans to be plotted, slides to be shown — and no one can understand anything that’s being said! The CPaaS web conferencing application cannot get the bandwidth it needs to provide quality voice so all of the planning and execution does not matter.
When you wake up in a cold sweat before your next big web conference, calm yourself with thoughts of SD-WAN. There is a better way. Whether you’re in enterprise IT, network administration or a CSP working with channel clients and partners to deploy innovative CPaaS applications, remember to think about bandwidth. And to think about the need to modernize and optimize branch network management. With SD-WAN and CPaaS enabled web conferencing functionality, you’ll have real-time, centralized control over bandwidth. This will help power innovative new messaging, voice, and video apps to extend collaboration and rich communications functionality to customers, partners, suppliers, and employees.
SD-WAN and CPaaS together enable enterprise digital transformation (DX)
CPaaS and SD-WAN technologies are becoming increasingly central to enterprise digital transformation, and forward-looking network managers should look at them as going hand-in-hand. Messaging, voice, and video streaming are notorious bandwidth hogs — but they are also essential engines of productivity and service in global digital enterprises.
Supply chain collaboration, omnichannel customer service, advertising, remote working and e-learning, live and streaming sports and entertainment, gaming, and much more rely on a reliable, fast and clear app and media delivery. Even natural disaster response is increasingly aided by real-time video sharing (from drones, emergency crews, and endangered citizens), allowing remote specialists to remotely examine conditions, conduct investigations, and shut down industrial systems. In times when cell towers are down or maxed out, we need a reliable, seamless way to route around damaged infrastructure. And when we have one of those important web conference calls, we need a streamlined way to throttle branch network traffic to ensure that everyone can see, hear, and collaborate with one another.
Laying tracks with SD-WAN
In other words, real-time applications (read CPaaS) need real-time network management. We can build all the ingenious applications and CPaaS offerings we want, but if the enterprise network can’t keep up, adoption and innovation will be impeded. We can’t run high-speed trains without the right kind of track. Apparently, network experts agree. For those who have been struggling to make hybrid set-ups of legacy WAN, MPLS services, and Internet broadband connectivity work, the promise of single-pane control through full-featured SD-WAN solutions is compelling.
Gartner survey from October 2016 reports that 45% of respondents claimed that complexities involved in managing WAN topped their list of operational worries. Gartner forecasts predict huge growth in SD-WAN spending: from $129 million in 2016 to 1.24 billion in 2020 (CAGR 57%). Retail and financial services verticals are among the earliest and most aggressive SD-WAN adopters. IDC forecasts show evidence of even more robust growth, driven by the broad adoption of software-defined networking, and DX technologies such as 3rd platform technologies (mobility, social business, big data analytics, etc.) and cloud SaaS applications.
The benefits of SD-WAN go beyond fast and reliable app and media delivery. The optimizations and efficiencies enabled by intelligent, automated network traffic routing are complemented by stronger security, reduced WAN costs, and the resilience afforded by virtualized central management of a robust, flexible mix of connectivity, including MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching), broadband, and 4G/LTE. SD-WAN plays better with IoT, SDN solutions, and public cloud services. Moreover, it provides better options for working in remote and developing regions.
What it means to CSPs
Communication Service Providers (CSP) need to offer their customers more advanced services (going beyond voice) but find it difficult to do this without investing in infrastructure. CPaaS enables CSPs to offer their customers more advanced services like SMS, video, chatbots, advanced voice services, and vertical omnichannel apps for banking, telemedicine, and more.
Partnering with a CPaaS enablement channel partner sets up a revenue share model so that CSPs don’t have to invest in infrastructure. Yet as adoption and use increase, businesses will need to address the requirement of freeing up more bandwidth to operate these advanced communication services. This is where the importance of SD-WAN becomes crystal clear; without it, the potential opportunities rising out of CSP CPaaS offerings will be delayed or complicated.
The nascent SD-WAN market is still shaking out, and its rapid rise is sure to cause some growing pains. As you begin to investigate SD-WAN solutions, think about how you want to use (or enable) CPaaS apps, your future bandwidth and network management needs – and your pain points around distributed app management. Research SD-WAN providers carefully to ensure you are getting the single point of control that you need, including the ability to mix-and-match 4G/5G, broadband, and MPLS. Think about how SD-WAN can open up runways for your brand of digital transformation and virtualized everything. Laying tracks for your CPaaS bullet train will put you on the fast track to a bolder, brighter future.
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