SD-WAN and the Accelerating Technology Adoption Cycle
We hear a lot about disruptive technology, to the point that business names are being “verbified” to indicate disruption. Take this question that arose after a recent Amazon announcement: Will Blue Apron get Amazoned by the Whole Foods acquisition?
Across the board, retail, food service, and even banking and medical, are facing the threat of being Amazoned or Ubered or Googled. However, as Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, pointed out a few months back in a Q&A session: “Invention is not disruptive. Only customer adoption is disruptive.”1
And not only is it disruptive, the adoption life-cycle is accelerating. This is known as the Red Queen effect.
“In our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else if you ran very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.”
“A slow sort of country!” said the Red Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!
Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll
For example, sentiment analysis by retailers is accelerating beyond textual, clickstream and historical purchasing behavior of customer engagement (including online reviews, social media, etc.) to second-generation biometric analysis, surfacing subconscious emotions (facial expression, galvanic skin response, heart rates, brain activity etc.) retailers can use to assess customer engagement in real time during shopping.2 The retailers that best understand their customers will become the winners as they secure a 360 degree view on purchasing behavior.
The differentiator used to be competitive agility. Now it’s about alacrity, how fast you can achieve agility. The trajectory of SD-WAN is a case study of the Red Queen effect.
Gartner research tells the story
Consider this timeline of statements by Gartner research regarding SD-WAN adoption over an 18-month period.
- JUL 2015: Placed SD-WAN on the Peak of Inflated Expectations point of the Gartner Hype Cycle. The implication was that it was destined for the Trough of Disillusionment.3
- DEC 2015: Predicted that at least five carriers would feature managed SD-WAN services within two years.4
- NOV 2016: Noted that seven vendors and five carriers had already launched SD-WAN-based services and that global adoption had grown to more than 2,000 customers, surpassing the two-year prediction in just eleven months.5
- DEC 2016: Predicted that spending on SD-WAN products would rise from $129 million in 2016 to $1.24 billion in 2020.6
- MAY 2017: Predicts that by 2018, more than 40 percent of WAN edge refresh initiatives will include SD-WAN.7
The December 2016 report noted, “While WAN architectures and technologies tend to evolve at a very slow pace—perhaps a new generation every 10 to 15 years—the disruptions caused by the transformation to digital business models are driving adoption of SD-WAN at a pace that is unheard of in wide-area networking.”
Why? Because SD-WAN delivers more and better services at a much lower cost.
Learn more in the SD-WAN webinar
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1 May 2017 Internet Association Charity Gala
2 Jun 8, 2017 Economist “How retailers are watching shoppers’ emotions”
3 Gartner 2015 Hype Cycle for Networking and Communications
4 Gartner: A New Era for Enterprise WAN
5 Gartner Predicts 2017: Enterprise Networks and Network Services
6 Gartner Competitive Landscape: WAN Edge
7 Gartner High-Tech Tuesday Webinar: SD-WAN Forecast and Opportunity—How SD-WAN Will Disrupt the Router Market