CIO looking at phone with team behind

The Future of Networking Will Be Led By CIO / CTO Artists.


Following my interview on Bloomberg, I received the usual “atta-boy” emails from contacts, but also received inquiries centering on the future of networking, how operations will change, and how an operator’s daily role will change. As I look at our clients’ CIOs and CTOs, one thing is apparent: they are becoming less like operators and more like artists. 

I was thrilled Paul Sweeney and Lisa Abramowicz asked me to discuss the evolution and revolution of networking in businesses on Bloomberg Markets AM in their Manhattan studios. But after my “pink couch” experience, it was apparent I raised quite a few questions. 

Eric Skeens standing in Bloomberg World Headquarters
Eric Skeens, 3 Tree Tech Managing Partner At Bloomberg Headquarters in New York City

As I broke bread with business partners, customers, and friends during my brief trip, our conversations mostly centered around the excitement of the interview topics like 5G and the New Big 3, but those conversations also meandered around the changing of the old guard and marrying of cloud computing and the edge. But also an area I believe is revolutionary: Gen 2 SD-WAN also referred to as NextGen SD-WAN blended with 5G.

Lines Between Technologies Are Blurring

Wireless 5G carriers make audacious claims about the life-changing aspects of this new spectrum. But with all the different claims being made by the “Big 3” wireless carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon), our clients wonder how much is steeped in reality and how much of it is marketing fluff.

As Paul Sweeney indicated in my interview, most people’s understanding surrounding 5G, is that carriers boast it will allow them to download movies faster on their phone, and while that’s certainly true, it’s not where the true value lies in the future of networking. Our team sees 5G’s true value when it’s strategically paired with NextGen SD-WAN, especially when it comes to various IoT applications, according to our director of IoT (Internet of Things), Chris Moeller.

NextGen SD-WAN and 5G blended together have an incredible symbiotic relationship. The method in which enterprises connect to the internet and utilize their business applications today will be revolutionized and commoditized by this blend of tech, diminishing the need and value of expensive MPLS networks. Sadly, as the telecom world shifts, the “Big 3” carriers like AT&T, CenturyLink and Verizon, have opted to keep up by simply dressing up old tech.

What’s the difference between Gen 1 vs Gen 2 SD-WAN? >>>

Alongside Route/Switch manufacturers like Cisco and Juniper, and Gen1 SDWAN providers like VMware VeloCloud, Cisco Viptela, Silverpeak, telecoms are simply repackaging dated technology. It’s not surprising carriers are opting to squeeze as much life out of the big bets they took 25+ years ago, but it doesn’t truly help their enterprise customers. And, unlike the last few years, now those enterprise CIOs and CTOs are watching new telecom alternatives and disruptors enter the ring.

Why Don’t Telecoms Just Outsource?

In the past, keeping up with these technology swings was a matter of outsourcing or acquisition, but this market shift is different as legacy technology companies lose their best talent due to money and relevance.  Money and relevance are drawing the most talented and brightest minds to who I refer to as the “New Big 3” in the carrier space: Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.

The Future of Networking for CIOs and CTOs

Today’s tech infrastructure provides so much more freedom for companies, but not if they stick with the classic “Big 3” who are being ushered out the door. That freedom comes when boards, CEOs and owners embrace their CIO or CTOs not as a manager of technology, but as strategic partners in corporate planning and vision.

Our CIO/CTO clients understand the future of networking is already here, moving from a list of options to switch on or install, into an artist’s palette of colors they blend together to fit their unique organizational structure.

Eric Skeens of 3 Tree Tech

Eric Skeens is the co-founder of 3 Tree Tech in Portland. He is a platform-agnostic tech researcher that transitions siloed organizations into automated DevOps centric businesses. Message him right here.

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