Typography

Digital transformation and disruption is driven by IoT (Internet of Things), increasing cloud IP traffic, artificial intelligence (AI), software-centricity, and pervasive security, according to Josh Goodell, VP, Intelligent Edge, AT&T, speaking at MEF 2017 in Orlando, Florida. Goodell has led the initiative to redefine and deploy AT&T’s first SDN capabilities to enable fully automated service delivery to drive down costs.

"We live in exciting times," Goodell said at the event on Nov. 15. "Digital transformation has really taken off in the last 12 months. There are several key dynamics that are underway in the industry right now and as a carrier we think about this in the context that in the past we used to connect a few thousand buildings and now we see customers with 100,000 end points."

Global IP traffic continues to grow, and for AT&T, that growth is approximately 250,000 percent since 2007. Software-centricity is a dynamic that continues to evolve and drive digital transformation, according to Goodell, as well as public and private cloud adoption. "Around 75 percent of application workloads currently reside in the cloud," he said. "That connection to these cloud environments is essential."

Artificial intelligence (AI) is also driving digital transformation, Goodell added, going from static to agile to eventually predictive - "I think AI will be a driver in that regard," he said. Another area driving digital transformation is pervasive security, Goodell added - "an area where we’re seeing an increase in spending of approximately 40 percent per year because the threats are out there."

But digital transformation and disruption aren’t just about any one of these dynamics, Goodell emphasized. They’re more about the "confluence" of all of them that’s driving them. "If you think about it in the context of business, Airbnb, for example, didn’t exist ten years ago, and today it’s a company with a $31 billion market capital and about $3 billion in revenue last year," he said.

Goodell added, "What’s more, if you think about all of the Fortune 500 companies, the average company took about twenty years to generate their first $1 billion. Google did it in eight years and Airbnb did it in three. That’s what you call disruption. With this type of environment, where things are moving very quickly, one of the essential elements for any company is to have a solid vision."

Last year, Goodell explained, he walked through AT&T’s vision for an intelligent network, and covered all of the elements including having a software-defined core, virtualized services, and SD-WAN. Two years ago, the company introduced its first software-defined services and introduced AT&T dedicated internet on-demand, and the company has continued to add additional services ever since.