How would you feel if while trying to pay some bills, you found your bank’s web site overloaded, slow, or down? Online business applications have become the primary means of providing services to consumers, so reliability of those applications is not optional. This was the topic of discussion during a recent Frost and Sullivan and Dialogic webinar.
I had the fortunate opportunity to host a webinar titled “Service Reliability of IP-based Communications is Not Optional,” joined by Michael Suby, VP of Research from Frost and Sullivan and James Rafferty, Product Line Manager for Dialogic. The goal of the session was to understand and address many of the underlying concerns and issues with network reliability and explore techniques to improve the success of application deployments and user adoption.
Michael kicked off the session with some observations and research he had collected about user behavior, online interaction, and application usage. Later in the session, James offered some solutions for network designers that can improve service reliability and scale.
As Michael notes, the time spent connected via the Internet continues to grow at a significant pace. From reading content, social media, online shopping and banking, Michael reported that based on their study “over 60% spend more than two hours daily online and more than one-fifth of connected consumers spend more than four hours per day online (outside of work).” And not just millennials, but older consumers too have seen a steady increase of their online time.
A side effect of the increasing online time is that “online time yields denser and more interactive engagements,” meaning that the time spent online is more than superficial or game-playing. Users are spending and managing money online as financial services, insurance, and other businesses move their customer service to online portals and away from brick-and-mortar service centers.
Michael also mentioned that the business IT environment decisions are also reflecting an increasingly online existence, adjusting their investments toward infrastructure to support online interactions with customers, partners, and suppliers. Businesses are benefiting from hosted IP Telephony and UCaaS due to improved flexibility, speed of access, and ability to direct IT resources to other internal efforts. Again, building on the network and cloud infrastructure with critical business productivity applications is key.
“IP is the new normal for voice and telephony,“ noted Michael. “OTT is more than half of voice service subscribers now,” indicating the growing role of over-the-top services that depend on best-effort network reliability. Driving much of this shift are mobile and smartphones devices, making them “always on” – growth of smartphone device sales has leveled off at roughly 15% growth YoY.
Performance of services and the underlying network continue to dominate the decision process for selection of cloud and network providers. However, the high cost of dedicated and conditioned IP circuits is driving a shift to broadband networks, utilizing Software Defined WAN technologies as a means to maintain quality of service while controlling costs.
As Mike wrapped up his portion of the presentation, he noted a few key take-away thoughts:
- Control what is controllable
- Address application and network performance reliability at the front door (point of entry)
- Recognize the need for supporting specialized communications protocols like SIP and WebRTC
- Don’t let security be an expensive speed bump
- Prepare for the “new normal” of service chaining/mash-ups
All good points, but how do you implement these recommendations? Find out by reviewing the webinar recording, where our panel discusses ways to improve network and service reliability and addresses a number of the questions posed during the session.