The Impact of COVID On Networking

Robyn Foyster Robyn Foyster has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
on 6 January 2021

Juniper Networks has released its 2021 Enterprise Predictions, highlighting the upcoming trends in the world of enterprise technology – pinpointing three areas of focus for the upcoming year:

  • The impact of COVID on networking
  • Networking
  • Artificial Intelligence

Here are the 2021 Enterprise Predictions: The Impact of COVID On Networking and predictions about the future of AI from Bruce Bennie, JuniperNetwork’s Regional Vice President for the ANZ region.

COVID impact on networking

  • Contact tracing will be top of mind for enterprises: With return to work timelines getting pushed out to 2021, enterprises will need to dedicate time and resources to safely return employees to the office, with contact tracing playing a significant role.
  • There will be a shift to more distributed micro-offices: SD-WAN will become increasingly important for IT departments, corporate strategy and real estate planning as businesses will prioritise setting up small micro-offices as opposed to one large campus. For IT teams, this means an increased emphasis on employees and the end-user experience from client to cloud.
  • There will be an increase in network equipment spend: COVID has created an environment of increasing network demand for high-speed connectivity and bandwidth to deliver internet solutions for employees at home. This presents an opportunity for telcos to bundle services and cohesively manage SD-WAN and value-added services, such as location-based geo-mapping, for enterprises struggling with the paradigm shift.
  • Networking and location technology convergence will play a major role in healthcare and retail: Deploying Wi-Fi for drive-through COVID testing was critical, and with today’s urgent and ever-evolving pandemic, healthcare and retail customers expect to get products quicker. Location technology will be important in helping speed up processes such as curbside pickup.


  • Network visibility and analytics will be critical to optimise user experiences: Visibility and analytics give IT teams the data to automate and optimise the enterprise network. This visibility allows IT teams to proactively identify and rapidly fix network performance issues, ensuring the best end-user experience.
  • The network of the next decade will rely on modern cloud architectures: Network agility will be more important to the customer experience than ever before, and the only way to achieve it is to build your network in a modern cloud environment that can match the innovation speed of a business’ digital transformation team.
  • With Wi-Fi 6E and private LTE, enterprises will have more wireless options than ever: Mobile internet connectivity is becoming a necessity for a country and its citizens’ economic prosperity. By late 2021 or early 2022 Wi-Fi 6E, which increases available RF spectrum with the addition of 1GHz of spectrum at 6GHz, will be an enabler for the continued hypergrowth of IoT and mobile devices across all vertical industries. Private LTE in the 3.5GHz band will start to appear in the enterprise, to ensure businesses can provide ubiquitous internet coverage to their employees, guests, customers and IoT devices. The future will be a network of networks and AI will be key in managing the complexity.


    • AIOps for networking will become mainstream:  AIOps will go from theory to practice for many organisations. With the increase of remote workers and the home becoming the new micro branch, AI will become table stakes for delivering a great client to cloud user experience from client to cloud while controlling IT support costs for remote employees. IT teams will need to embrace AIOps to scale and automate their operations. AIOps cloud SaaS will turn the customer support paradigm upside down. Instead of users submitting tickets to IT, AI will proactively identify users with connectivity or experience issues and will either resolve (the self-driving network) or will open a ticket with suggested remediation actions for IT.
    • AI assistants will become part of the IT team: AI assistants will continue to get smarter and become an integral part of the overall IT team. Their efficacy will improve through learning and direct feedback from the IT team gaining their trust as valued team member. The ability of AI assistants to solve increasingly complex user issues will decrease strain and workloads for IT teams.
    • Education will be one of the biggest barriers to AI adoption: Evaluating and implementing AI solutions calls for investment in the IT team. Forward thinking businesses will invest in education of the IT leadership so that they can better understand how to evaluate and implement AI solutions across the business.
    • AI will be a game-changer in helping enterprises shift to remote work: Leveraging AI helps with operational efficiency and helps deliver higher customer satisfaction. It also helps enterprises better align with business objectives and assure outcomes.

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