What trends are you noticing developing in the industry at the moment?

One of the most invigorating things about this industry is that it is always changing and developing. No matter what the challenges are – shifting customer expectations and aggressive competition being just two – this industry has always proved its ability to adapt and progress.
At the moment, one important trend is the shift in how network design and operations is taking a more software-oriented approach. Programmable network infrastructure is a key requirement to provide the necessary flexibility and reliability to meet market and customer demands.
We’re also seeing increased uptake in intelligent and self-driving networks. Gone are the days when network managers had time to monitor and check every anomaly or perform every tweak. The network that can adapt to surges in demand, impending downtime and potential threats is the one delivering tangible value to the business.
High speed broadband is often described as the fourth utility – how important is universal broadband access in the UK?
I couldn’t agree more, it’s incredibly important that high-speed broadband is accessible to everyone in the country for economic and social progression. Anyone who doesn’t have broadband access is at a distinct disadvantage in terms of access to information, communication and competitiveness. Equal access for all has to be ultimate goal.
How severe is Britain’s digital divide, and why should we worry about it?
Despite efforts by both the government and private sector to curb the digital divide within Britain, it remains a serious technological, commercial and societal issue. The digital revolution is in full swing, and the further behind certain geographical and demographical groups fall the harder it will be to catch up. The technology is available to help bridge the divide, but deployment is a way behind where it should be.  
What are some solutions for reducing it?
Service providers need to be more visionary and in tune with global consumer and business trends to develop a more pragmatic approach on how to design, build and develop scalable networks.  They need to revise the processes and methodologies related to areas like network design, product development, operations and implementation to speed up decision making, boost productivity and simplify how they manage complex networks.
From a government perspective, it is within its power to  introduce programs and incentives to accelerate the proliferation of technologies and skills to under-served communities. Only a coordinated effort across the public and private sectors will suffice.
What predictions do you have for the industry over the next 18 months or so?
At Infradata we believe that machine-learning, AI and automation will become an absolute necessity for service providers wanting to efficiently scale security and operations. There will be a strong demand for vendor solutions that can simplify network complexities, and dynamically scale network infrastructure and security.  The software resources in a network environment will define the standards and effectiveness of service providers, in terms of their abilities to be innovative, reliable and secure.
What new technologies are you particularly interested in at the moment?
In many ways Infradata is led by its customers in terms of focus. Across the spectrum of cloud networking and cyber security we’re seeing that demand for intelligent and adaptable technologies is rising, as is a need to drive complexity out and usher in an era of simplicity. This all points toward automation and orchestration, and technologies that can self-diagnose and self-remediate to reduce the need for human intervention. With no signs of either the skills shortage or digital revolution abating, this will become the norm.
About Infradata
Infradata is an award-winning independent provider of state-of-the-art cyber security and cloud networking solutions and services. We enable customers to drive innovation and value with best-of-breed solutions. Infradata creates the foundation for a secure and thriving digital economy and society. For more information, please click here