Collaboration and innovation

Collaboration and innovation: Key to the future of networking

24 October 2019 | Sarah Mills


Sarah Mills

Blog Author | sector director of network operators, SSE Enterprise Telecoms


There has been plenty of talk around artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), and even more on 5G readiness.

However, rather than focusing on the capabilities of these technologies, there’s been more discussion about exactly how we are going to innovate and deliver them. As a result, connectivity providers are focusing more on diverse networking routes, with particular attention on the capabilities of subsea cabling.

Endless innovation in subsea cabling 

Historically, content providers relied on buying cable from the subsea consortiums. But, it now seems to be they are taking matters into their own hands and going down the route of private deployment.

Collectively, we never stop talking about ‘the world’s growing demand for data’, but the fact subsea consortiums are working to almost double capacity (24 to 40 terabits, in some cases) should be proof to the urgency of this issue. In addition to increasing capacity, there is a clear shift towards private subsea cabling and sending cables directly to data centres. Content providers are looking to select their own landing stations, meaning they can essentially run subsea cables directly to their chosen data centres. This could provide the sort of low latency, high capacity connectivity that’s crucial to powering 5G, and as a result, AI and the IoT.

There are huge opportunities to be had. Carriers and content providers are looking at using very smart optics to run cables over North Scotland, into Northwest Europe. By connecting these cables to data centres in Scotland, you can provide more robust connectivity and help to meet the needs of Scotland’s huge renewable energy market. All the while, helping the government meet its targets to drive overall capacity and connectivity in this part of the world.

Strategic collaboration is more important than ever

An additional topic of intense focus is the delivery of 5G and meeting global demand for data more generally. This delivery will require significant investment and pooling of resources, as the telecoms community knows that no single organisation can provide this alone.

Everyone is acutely aware that it’ll be impossible to unlock the potential of AI and IoT if telcos are not able to nail the delivery of 5G. While there is lots of talk about requirement for high capacity fibre backhaul, without the investment, and infrastructure it will not become a reality.

Encouragingly, this is also a viewpoint coming from the top, with even the biggest global carriers admitting that it is not possible to achieve success in isolation. And so, if telcos are going to thrive and achieve their common objectives, strategic convergence must be the priority.

Above all, collaboration is key. From a telecoms’ point of view, the best approach includes strategic geographic network investment, particularly concerning data centres. Looking to future possibilities, the industry needs to draw on its collective strengths to ensure it can offer more resilient, diverse connectivity.

Out with the old

Embracing the ecosystem of collaboration in this industry is vital and we must be prepared to do things a little differently to work more effectively. We are standing at the face of a hugely exciting time, but for this new world to thrive, we must welcome in fresh ways of thinking, working and investing.

Fortunately, the voice of the industry suggests our global telecoms community is ready to do exactly that.