02 November 2015

Softwarization steered by future smart terminals, robots, autonomous machines...

It has been mentioned several time that SDN and NFV are addressing respectively a clear separation of hardware and software and virtualization. Two independent paradigms that will benefit each other. Major impact will start by the “edge” of current Telecommunications networks. In fact, in practice, technology today is making possible to distribute, at the “edges” of current Telecommunications networks services and functions that up today were used to be run in centralized systems.

In a few years, smart-terminals (including robots, autonomous machines, etc) will be an integral part of the network, in many cases creating and using sub-networks by themselves. Sensors and actuators will be pervasive, and the services execution and data storage will be widely distributed thanks to availability of ultra-high bandwidth pipes making capillary interconnections at almost-zero latency.

The network will be transformed from a fabric of interconnected closed boxes (todays nodes, e.g., switches, routers, middle-boxes, etc) into a continuum of logical containers (e.g., Virtual Machines, or Dockers) executing millions of software processes, interacting each other. If it will make sense to allocate, move or change a functionality in a smart-terminal, even a User will be able making it.

They forecast that SDN and NFV market is to grow at 86% CAGR from being worth approx. USD 2 Billion in 2015 to USD 45 Billion+ in 2020. Specifically, North America is expected to lead the market; Asia-Pacific including Japan is the fastest growing market and is expected to soon replace Europe to become the second biggest contributor in the market. But it will be much more than that, as SDN NFV will impact not only the network but also the service platforms beyond the centralized Data Centers, up to the “edge” (access, home, office…) and the very final terminals.

Considers that the number of smart-phone being sold versus network equipment is billions against millions, with economic unbalance 70% vs 30%. This means that the overall Telecommunications market is already led by smart-phones, and it is likely that SDN NFV tomorrow market will be steered also by future smart terminals, such as robots, drones, any sort of autonomous machines equipped with processing, storage, communications capabilities and sensors-actuators, becoming integrated part of a “continuum of logical containers”.