From the explosion of the Internet of Things, to lines between service providers blurring, to new expectations from small business owners, 2018 surely will pose a number of new networking challenges for MSPs.
That’s not to mention the soon-to-be widespread use of software-defined networking solutions, an increasing focus on security, and the adoption of virtual and augmented reality services.
Let’s break down a half-dozen of these networking predictions for the new year, courtesy John Tippett, VP, Datto Networking, and Scott West, Datto’s senior product marketing manager.
Scroll through the gallery below.
Individual Use Cases
The specific business needs of MSP partners will require vendors to further cater their networking products to every individual use case: Vendors will realize that simply providing technical features is not enough for MSPs anymore. They will have to think about who is going to use their products and for what — and adapt to that.
2018 will see the explosion of the Internet of Things: As businesses increase the amount of connected the devices that make up their IT ecosystems, those individual connected devices will become themselves active connectivity nodes.
Since connected devices can now be installed by employees and network users without expert support, this will in turn increase the sensitivity around connected devices and the implications they can have for network security if left unsupervised. The networking management interface will be how everything gets managed from the MSP standpoint. MSPs will have to be ready for the increase in shadow IoT devices if they want to stay relevant and ahead of the competition.
Innovations brought forth to the residential market by leading technology companies will reset expectations of small business owners: Apple, Google, eero, Amazon and others are all creating an experience for consumers with solutions that are simple to deploy and manage.
As the connected home and devices like Alexa or Google’s Wi-Fi and Home product lines become a common sight in the American household, consumers and employees are increasingly going to expect the same level of seamless user experience in the workplace. Networking vendors will have to innovate and adapt to better align with these expectations.
Solving Business Problems
Similarly, MSPs are being forced to solve business problems with technology, more so than solving technology problems: To enable this, they will increasingly look for vendors who simplify technology and make it just work so that they can focus on aligning technology with the business need, and spend less time on the technology itself.
Consumers are no longer asking directly for technology — they are looking for solutions and experiences that require technology, and solution providers must bridge that gap.
The lines between service providers will blur: Specialized services will cease to exist as service providers have to deliver across all types of technologies. The wall between technologies will go away. All devices will interconnect, forcing all devices to communicate with each other and all providers to provide a holistic and comprehensive solution portfolio.
A New Network Approach
The networking ecosystem will become more relevant: With the challenges that will come with the push for more connected devices and environments, networking providers will realize that they can’t force their partners into a specific ecosystem. An agnostic and open approach to partnerships and integrations will be key in the future, and the network will be the backbone that enables everything to work together.