Guest blog by Ronny Haraldsvik, SVP/CMO KodaCloud
The market intelligence firm Tractica forecasts that the revenue generated from the direct and indirect application of AI software will grow from $1.4 billion in 2016 to $59.8 billion by 2025. Key industries for AI adoption will include automotive, business services, investment, media and entertainment, and legal.
“Artificial intelligence has applications and use cases in almost every industry vertical, and is considered the next big technological shift, similar to past shifts like the industrial revolution, the computer age, and the smartphone revolution,” says research director Aditya Kaul.
The need to outsource enterprise Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi as Network as a Service (NaaS) is starting to establish beachhead in companies with 500 or fewer employees, and could grow to become a multi-billion dollar market in the coming years. It starts with Wi-Fi, then on-demand and employee-based monthly software services will follow (firewall, compliance, UC, presence and more). Why you may ask? Recent research by iGR found that 64% of enterprises are more than willing to outsource Wi-Fi because they want to focus on the core business. The reason is very simple! There’s a scarcity of IT expertise to manage networks in one or more locations.
As Harrison Lewis, CIO with Northgate Markets puts it, “Wi-Fi service enables us to focus on our core competency which is to manage stores and distribute food and goods. With this service, we can easily monitor our many stores, distribution center and our corporate office, as one global network from anywhere, and respond when KodaCloud alerts us to any issues which require human intervention.”
Wi-Fi-as-a-Service: From CAPEX to OPEX
Wi-Fi-as-a-Service, powered by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, enables MSP and Enterprise IT departments to provide highly optimised Wi-Fi service to end users in numerous locations, with little or no on-site IT resources required. KodaCloud and other emerging Wi-Fi companies understand that the subscription economy will take over the enterprise in the move from 80% Capex to 80% OPEX.
Wi-Fi-as-a-Service is changing how Wi-Fi networks are deployed and managed. The service includes a network of indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi Access Points (AP) that are shipped directly to customer location(s), eliminating the need for a customer to buy equipment, or a partner to manage inventory or shipments. The entire network can be installed in minutes — all managed for a low monthly fee. With proactive network monitoring, Wi-Fi as a Service identifies and corrects tens of thousands of daily connectivity or performance issues, and can make 80 percent corrections and issue network alerts to IT teams where human intervention is needed.
“With our many distributed office locations, we needed a Wi-Fi network that could run and fix itself, as well as scale with our growing needs. Wi-Fi as-a-service has re-defined how we deploy and manage our Wi-Fi networks – allowing us to focus more on scaling our business.” Michael Ramsey, vice president of information technology with EmployBridge
Time to catch the AI-train?
Though small and medium enterprise customers are the first to benefit from Wi-Fi as a Service powered by AI – larger enterprises and service providers are now taking notice. If scale is not an issue with cloud and AI, then why not embrace a more flexible and OPEX-friendly model?
But, the vendors in the $12 Billion Wi-Fi equipment market will not stand by idly and let the as-a-service companies erode away high-profit margin equipment sales. Incumbent vendors will continue to make announcements about “Cloud Wi-Fi”, enticing customers to buy and manage Wi-Fi the old fashioned way.
AI has influenced cloud access and network services forever, automating what large IT teams, massive infrastructure products and software normally handle. As a result, more and more investments are flowing into Machine Learning and AI startups.
As the saying goes, “the train has left the station” for AI-powered Wi-Fi. Get on, or get left behind. Some large vendors are starting to embrace the new model and 2017-2018 will see a changing landscape between old and new service vendors.
About the author: Ronny Haraldsvik has 26+ years of experience working with companies in mobile, cloud, wireless, broadband networks, & IP services. Today, Ronny is SVP/CMO for the Wi-Fi startup KodaCloud. You can contact Ronny here.