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According to most leading medical experts, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. However, businesses of every size and shape have begun to look beyond the current crisis and plan for what comes next. Certainly, a lot has changed for communications service providers (CSPs) since March. As the nation rapidly shifted to a stay-at-home, work-at-home, and study-at-home posture, network traffic patterns altered dramatically. Instead of using centralized connectivity, most if not nearly all workers and students began to rely on mobile and remote VPN connections to conduct communications. Voice and data traffic increased exponentially as nearly everyone began using video conference tools such as Zoom, WebEx, and Microsoft Meetings.

What will a post-COVID world look like in terms of network usage? Will we simply return to “normal,” or will the way we work, connect, and learn change to some sort of hybrid that combines aspects of both the old and the new? - Read more at @NETSCOUTThe big question on everyone’s mind is what comes next. What will a post-COVID world look like in terms of network usage? Will we simply return to “normal,” or will the way we work, connect, and learn change to some sort of hybrid that combines aspects of both the old and the new? One thing seems certain: there will be no return to the “old” normal.  

For CSPs, the underlying service enablers, such as DNS, DSCP, security, and authentication services, were sized for the way business was conducted prepandemic. But traffic patterns have changed significantly. And although some aspects of society are gradually returning to familiar ways of doing business, it is certain that many things will be done differently, and that means the coming transition will be anything but predictable. For this reason, it is imperative that carriers gain critical insights into their networks, services, and devices—all the way down to the subscriber—to fully understand how to meet the demands of the emerging next normal.

Preparing for the Next Normal: Getting Ahead of the Curve

CSPs have an opportunity now to get ahead of the curve by monitoring changes in traffic patterns in near real-time. By leveraging Smart Data distilled from packet data and gleaning intelligence via smart analytics, CSPs can see trends emerging across their networks. Armed with these invaluable insights, they can make better-informed decisions. For instance, Smart Data and smart analytics can help carriers decide what services need to be migrated to the cloud for optimal performance. Being able to determine whether entire applications or only aspects of applications should be migrated to the cloud can be key to increasing network agility while decreasing operating costs.

AS CSPs continue to roll out 5G, this deeper level of insight will be critical for accelerating the introduction of 5G’s faster connectivity, while ensuring the best opportunity for a return on investment. And of course, to be certain that the enormous investments behind 5G deliver commensurate revenues, it will be necessary to provide the best customer experience, which means knowing how the network is performing regardless of its complexity.     

The Silver Lining: Today’s Preparations Can Lead to Tomorrow’s Advantages

For CSPs, there is a silver lining to the many challenges the industry has been facing. The technologies carriers put in place today, such as Smart Data and smart analytics solutions, can deliver real end-to-end- visibility that enables more effective planning of network upgrades, better assessments of services and applications, greater automation, and an ability to more effectively monitor network performance and enable troubleshooting. The preparations taken today can lead to significant advantages tomorrow, allowing carriers to deliver the greatest value while growing market share, and mindshare.

Watch this video to learn more about smart analytics:

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Find out more about Smart Data and smart analytics

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