Research by networking systems, services and software company Ciena exploring how sustainability, connected industries, and always-on connectivity are driving the UK digital landscape has found that four in 10 (42 per cent) British adults believe the future of the Internet will be driven by our desire to become more energy efficient.
Almost two thirds (65 per cent) are considering doing more activities virtually to reduce their carbon footprint, including healthcare appointments (25 per cent), working remotely (24 per cent), and attending meetings or conferences (22 per cent).
New technologies, including IoT and 5G, have the potential to increase energy efficiency and the research shows Brits are ready to embrace more connected devices. While IoT and smart devices are contributing to a cleaner and greener planet, 70 per cent of respondents see the benefits they are set to bring, with convenience and easier lifestyle, and improved efficiency cited amongst the top.
“Our experience and expectations around the network are changing,” notes Jürgen Hatheier, Chief Technology Officer for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Ciena. “There’s a greater desire to support a more connected, energy-efficient world, through smart devices, connected industries, and new applications underpinned by high expectations for service reliability.”
With sustainability and renewables top of mind for businesses and consumers alike, energy consumption is becoming an even more important consideration in the 5G era. 5G has the potential to increase data traffic dramatically and therefore infrastructure required to handle it, which could result in a two- to three-fold increase in energy consumption, according to a GSMA Energy Efficiency Report. Add to this the growing number of people using smart home systems and consumption control devices (25 per cent), and it is easy to see how these market dynamics are placing new demands on metro and edge networks. There is a clear need to evolve the network to make it more efficient and reduce energy consumption.
To gain better network performance and speed, 43 per cent of British adults confirmed they are planning to upgrade their Internet within the next 24 months, and 36 per cent are willing to pay more for 5G services. In fact, 33 per cent believe they will have better access to the Internet when 5G is widely available.
Home has become the Office and School Center
As the home has now become the remote office for many and at times a school, the reliance on the network is more crucial than ever. Almost a third (31 per cent) of those surveyed say they will work remotely in some form after Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. The desire for reliable connectivity, ultra-low latency, and improved speeds underscores the need for networks that can handle the growing pressures of new applications, services, and tools.
Device Preference and 24/7 Connectivity
The need for constant connectivity is reflected in the way we are using the Internet, with mobile phones handily outranking laptops (25 per cent) and desktops (14 per cent) as the most-used device as cited by 44 per cent of respondents.
Respondents also state that the most valuable part of the Internet is having 24/7 access (30 per cent), followed by the desire to stay digitally connected with friends and family (23 per cent).
“Rethinking our approach to the way networks are built and managed is key to supporting the growing digital landscape,” asserts Hatheier. “While demand and our digital lifestyle will continue to drive the future of networks, it’s critical that they become closer to end users, smarter, and faster to deliver an exceptional customer experience.”