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Network Infrastructure Experts Share Critical Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Effect

The digital transformation and shift in data usage that the industry saw last year was unprecedented. From school to work to video calls with friends, our networks have experienced more traffic than ever before. Even as the world begins to shift back to in-person interactions, it’s becoming clear that the trends in digital media consumption and network-backed activities are here to stay and evolve even further.

With over a year to learn and reflect, JSA asks our network of tech, telecom and data center experts, “What is the top lesson you learned from the COVID-19 Effect in regards to our industry?”

Milad Abdelmessih | Vice President of Business Development, Marketing and Sales; KDDI America

“One crucial lesson learned from COVID-19 is that the need for preemptive and ongoing digital transformation is growing more urgent — and the demand for partners that can help organizations achieve that is growing parallel. Enterprises that already had virtualized environments and leveraged flexible, scalable strategies across clouds, data centers and connectivity were able to react well to challenges. This kind of preparedness makes the difference between success and failure, and it’s now clear that investing in IT infrastructure cannot be delayed. Still, rapidly changing, highly complex requirements can make it hard for any business to adapt and plan dynamically. This is why an IT solutions partner that offers a trusted gateway to digital transformation and adds ease to innovation is often the key to rising above.”

JP Laqueur | Senior Vice President of Marketing; DataBank

Creating goals and strategies is what provides a roadmap for success, but never underestimate the power of being able to adapt. As we know, data centers adapted in the face of the global pandemic and rose to the challenge to accommodate new working norms. At DataBank we were able to achieve loftier goals than we had even set for ourselves due to our ability to quickly pivot to meet emerging IT infrastructure needs. From VPN load considerations to keeping facilities operating at optimal levels with fewer available personnel and of course security considerations, we saw and conquered many pandemic-related challenges by remaining flexible.”

Brian R. Flynn | President; Xtel

Throughout this pandemic, my belief that Telecom is a resilient industry that consistently adapts to customer needs and market demands has only been reaffirmed. At Xtel, we were immediately able to shift focus from providing services primarily to the corporate location, to enabling work from home and mobile employees to have the communication tools needed to continue working effectively outside the office. We are in the business of providing communication tools to customers regardless of their physical location, and COVID-19 certainly forced Telecom companies to adapt quickly to the new normal.”

Phillip Marangella | CMO; EdgeConneX

“The digital world is expanding at a pace few industry leaders might have predicted. The gravity of data is shifting, and the internet is not well-architected to support today’s multi-directional traffic flows- which have only increased due to the pandemic. Now, more than ever before, it’s clear that the volume, velocity, and variety of data traffic flows mandate a dramatic rearchitecting of the internet to alleviate the bottlenecks that might occur and ensure the quality of experience for end users. Customers have always expected to have access to their content and applications on-demand, anywhere, at any time, and always performing. But now, the very fabric of our personal and professional lives depends upon it as our homes have essentially become the new edge as a result of the pandemic.

As data traffic flows continue to surge, cloud and carrier-neutral data centers in Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets that provide peering at the Edge will remain essential in helping to alleviate network bottlenecks. Enterprise organizations, Edge Data Centers, cloud, and network service providers will have to work together to solve computing and networking challenges as data traffic inevitably soars to unprecedented levels.”

Phil Jennings | Partner; Maven Wave

COVID-19 drove home our industry’s ability to quickly enable real change that makes a tangible difference in the world. Pre-COVID, many organizations had a plan in place to slowly evolve their business. The pandemic accelerated plans for nearly every organization. It was no longer an amorphous idea somewhere down the road. Transformation was happening in real-time and there was no avoiding it.

For example, we have seen digital transformation impact healthcare in many ways during the pandemic. From telehealth to contact tracing, technology and transformation have changed the way we navigated the last year. When it comes to remote work, the pandemic has also shone a light on the power of digitization. By fully embracing digital transformation, meetings of the future will extend beyond the boardroom. Video conferencing will continue to impact the way companies communicate and collaborate for years to come.”

Dr. Ishaq Mian | Vice President – Engineering Services; Redline Communications

COVID 19 has simply highlighted that age old lesson for all of us – “manage risks or manage crises”. It has been a reminder that the whole world badly needed. It has brought analysis and management of risks to the forefront of every business function and activity.”

To explore this topic further, join JSA’s Virtual Roundtable on Thursday, August 19 – The COVID-19 Effect: Lessons Learned Around the World for Critical Network Infrastructure. Register here.

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