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When the Internet started out as a strategically important yet humble US defense project, little did its engineers know that it would become the commercial, social and life transforming medium that we know and use so regularly today. Before Facebook and Twitter were even an idea, before anyone thought about being able to sell products online and well before you could call your family or control your home heating system from your mobile, the Internet’s first beginnings aimed only to send a message.

The first message sent between a laboratory at the University of California (UCLA) and Stanford Research Institute (SRI) was sent via ‘ARPANET’, a US Department for Defense project back in 1969. That was the start! It took a further 20 years for Sir Tim Berners-Lee to develop the World Wide Web and really initiate the beginning of the Internet as we know it, a hugely successful, international commercial and social communications tool that has revolutionised pretty much every aspect of our lives both business and personal. Just when you think it can’t get any bigger, new ideas and technologies come along to expand the reach of the Internet even further- we bet back in 1969 their imagination didn’t go as far as discussing connected cars, fridges and wearable devices! Our history of the Internet infographic shows just some of the landmarks in our Internet journey.

internet-history

So, what’s next for the Internet?

People are already talking of ‘the next big thing’ being the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT), which will see us connect all kinds of devices to the Internet to automate and manage even more of our day to day tasks. For example, smart heating systems which can be controlled from your mobile phone enabling you to set the temperature from anywhere, or even systems that learn your ideal temperature and set themselves. Connected cars that alert you when your service is due and send you a list of nearby garages with the option to book an appointment; wearable devices that monitor certain medical conditions and report stats back to your GP automatically; fridges that monitor the food within your fridge and create a shopping list for you which it can then order online at the press of a button. It looks like almost every aspect of our daily lives is getting smarter and getting connected!

Similarly, businesses’ growing adoption of cloud computing means they can create interconnected teams, connecting remote workers and multiple sites or branches easily and effectively. They can easily connect all workers to various software platforms and systems that are centrally hosted, secure and backed up driving efficiency throughout the business, improving communication and delivering a robust disaster recovery solution.

But more daily uses means more bandwidth consumption and increased strain on providers’ underlying networks. Capacity demands continue to rise as we step closer and closer towards the zettabyte era.

How will this affect the channel?

Whilst this will inevitably bring with it some challenges for industry as we continue to invest and innovate to accommodate soaring bandwidth demands, it also brings great opportunities for our channel as more and more residential and business customers become increasingly reliant on their Internet connection and require more from it.

We are likely to see even more demand in the future for Ethernet based services for businesses looking to support growing cloud and hosted service requirements and increasing requests for faster and faster broadband with higher allowance limits.

At the same time, the whole rationale of hosted services is broadening the channel’s scope to help customers move from a capex to an opex model for the applications they use every day in their business. moving away from upfront or phased outright purchase of software and applications to a subscription based use of these tools. In doing so, they’re shifting the responsibility for day-to-day maintenance away from internal team to external providers. Again, this fundamental shift places even greater importance on having the right, fit-for-purpose, connectivity to the Internet that the channel can provide expertise around.

Make sure you’re ready to give your customers what they need and ensure your wholesale provider can support you at every step!

Have your say!

Are you already seeing a growth in interest for higher end services such as Ethernet? Are your customers talking about IoT and connected devices? Are you seeing more awareness and familiarity with services like VoIP and Cloud? Share your experiences with us by leaving us a comment below.

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