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Software-Defined Networking to dominate in 2013: Brocade

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Brocade predicts that 2013 will see fundamental changes in the IT industry, driven by a more demanding and IT-aware end user

BANGALORE, INDIA: The Year 2012 will be remembered for many remarkable events, including the Summer Olympics in London that not only showcased the best in human achievement and global collaboration, but also illustrated how technology-obsessed the world has become.

Indeed, more than 4.8 billion people watched the event, with digital viewers outnumbering traditional television viewers for the first time in history.

This single event epitomizes how much society depends on networking technology, and while 2012 was a breakthrough year for broadcasters, enterprises and consumers, what does 2013 hold?

The top five technology trends we should watch out for in 2013:

1) Software-Defined Networking (SDN) deployments begin - the Olympics proved that consumer demand for information accessibility shows no sign of abating. However, as service providers try to meet said demand, and juggle the complexities of running a profitable business - for instance, to reduce CapEx (capital expenditure) and OpEx (operating expenditure) and increase service responsiveness - they are looking for technology alternatives that will streamline service creation and foster innovative applications and services. Software-Defined Networking (SDN) offers a means of doing this.

SDN links networks and applications, enabling direct programmatic control of both networks and orchestration layers in line with end-user application needs, rather than programming around the network, as is done today.

IDC predicts that by 2016, the market will be worth $2 billion (USD) a year, up from just $168 million today. With the promise of SDN architectures radically decreasing total cost of ownership (TCO), and vendor innovation/support continuing to increase, I predict that we'll see pockets of actual SDN service deployments across the globe...primarily in the U.S. and Japan to start. 2013 will see the start of great things for this technology.

2) Death of the "Transaction-Based" user - users, whether business or consumer, are addicted to their Internet-connected devices. In fact, more than 440 million mobile handsets were shipped in the third quarter of 2012, with more than 25 percent of those being smartphones, indicating the user appetite for connectivity.

However, with the roll-out of higher-performing networks (such as 4G and LTE) and devices that offer seamless connectivity, I predict that 2013 will be the year that we see the decline of the "transaction-based" user and the rise of the "always-connected" user [A "transaction-based user" is an individual that will connect to the Internet to conduct an activity (such as to make a purchase or to stream content), and then log off. The premise is that the user will sparingly use bandwidth and not rely on connectivity for every aspect of their life].

Operators will vie for consumer loyalty by offering attractive pricing models, fuelling the trend for 24/7 connectivity. Businesses will leverage this phenomenon and increasingly turn to social media and communities to host a larger portion of their customer experience and support processes.

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