Life in the cloud

Life in the cloud

Wilco Dekker about the WIN-network

More and more, our life is taking place in the cloud. Everything we listen to, watch, file, look up and discuss goes via the cloud. The younger generations have fewer and fewer devices at home and the dependency on an online connection that is always available is increasing. The lifeline of the digital world has now found its heart in the cloud. We cannot do without it anymore.

And in the next few years more things will change. With our life in the cloud we need access, whenever, wherever. Mobility and accessibility will be the key words. We want to be able to connect wherever we are, or better still, remain connected at all times. With this new form of connectivity, a different lifestyle emerges and a different network design, too, that is capable of enabling all this.

More and more people (including me) designate the WIN network as the new standard. This is a design guideline for the network design – and the architecture – of the future. What is the optimum way this network will serve the customer? The WIN network is ready for the demands the digital society will be making on us. Let me briefly explain the principles of this WIN network, which we will evolve towards more and more in the next few years. Based on this knowledge, architecture and engineering departments can make more focused decisions what to invest in. It will also help marketers to respond to the market better and makers of business models to anticipate changes in time. 

W stands for Wireless.
In the future, the customer will increasingly require a fully wireless experience. This is possible via Wi-Fi, Li-Fi, 5G or a combination thereof. By the way, the fixed network will definitely remain in place, serving as an important link between all those wireless ‘cells’. A wireless experience makes everything a lot simpler for the customer. After all, coverage is omnipresent, which means the ability to access the internet, life in the cloud.

I stands for IP.
The IP protocol is an open standard serving as a basic platform. Other standards and accompanying platforms will slowly but surely become ‘old-fashioned’. The IP network leads to standardisation and simplifies platform management for the administrator. This results in less failures and subsequently guarantees increased availability.

N stands for Nano.
Nano technology makes everything so small that customers no longer need equipment at home. Everything can be controlled through an app and processing takes place in the cloud. The nano technology offers the customer more freedom. All the hardware will eventually become so small (disappears or is reduced to 'boxless' solutions) that it easily fits into one (portable) device. The functionality is arranged in the cloud. Just think about Spotify, Netflix, YouTube but also Buienradar. These online services bring everything within easy reach, whereas in the old days you needed a whole array of electronics at home for this.

Online is therefore nice and easy, but also increases the dependency on the internet/data network. If the network is unavailable for a while, there is nothing you can do as a customer. Which is why it’s important for the design department to not only focus on the WIN starting principles, but also on four consequences of this data driven economy. I describe them as the QCSA focus areas. They constitute the themes that deserve special attention by the architecture and engineering departments in order to keep servicing the customer in the best possible way.

The network must deliver the quality the customer expects. That means the network is not allowed to break down and should always function. This requires adaptations in the current network architecture. Which new technologies will enable this? 

The network must be able to transmit the amount of data the customer needs to use the services. This means anticipating the exponential growth in data and necessary adaptations in the current network architecture. Which measures do we need to take at an early stage to anticipate this?

The network must be secure enough to transmit data without unauthorized people being able to view or use this data. This means changes in the encryption of data and the current network architecture. Which revolutionary development will ensure this?

The network must be fast and easily accessible for the customer. That also means adapting the current network architecture. Furthermore, the customer wants fast and easy access to the information he is looking for. What will this ease-of-use look like? One should be able to find everything intuitively. What changes are needed to enable that?

There are already many new technologies available that we will embed in the new network architecture. I will talk about that in my next blog. The purpose of this blog is to make everyone aware of the changes that are upon us. Everyone’s help is needed in order to design this new world where we live in the cloud, safely and with the utmost care. The WIN network and the QCSA focus areas can serve as a guideline how to achieve that.

The network will be a shared asset. The internet a vital infrastructure. It’s more or less inevitable. It serves a greater social interest. VodafoneZiggo is working vigorously on this network. For the future, being able to count on a carefree connection to the rest of the world is what matters most to the customer. VodafoneZiggo is an important partner to ensure our life in the cloud is as carefree as possible. We know where our focus should lie to meet all these customer demands.

Wilco Dekker
Technology Strategy Manager VodafoneZiggo