Networks are not getting their due importance: Sumeet Walia, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Tata Communications

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August 20, 2020 1:30 AM

"The accelerated shift to digitalisation has increased the demand for bandwidth, bringing network to the fore."

Sumeet Walia, chief sales & marketing officer, Tata Communications (File image)

The role of network has become crucial as enterprises look for a seamless user experience across diverse infrastructure spanning legacy systems, private and public clouds. According to Sumeet Walia, chief sales & marketing officer, Tata Communications, the notion about network needs to change. “With focus on the quality of network and services, it needs to be real enterprise-grade,” he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interaction. Excerpts:

With the surge in bandwidth demand due to work-from-home, what is the role of the network?

The accelerated shift to digitalisation has increased the demand for bandwidth, bringing network to the fore. Our network is the foundation providing mission-critical offerings such as access to emergency services where every single exchange counts. The role of network has become crucial as enterprises look for a seamless user experience across diverse infrastructure spanning legacy systems, private and public clouds.

Our digital infrastructure has successfully enabled tens of thousands of users from large enterprises to switch to new home working realities. Though lesser-known, but under the sea more than 350 fibre optic cables cover about 700,000 miles—enough to spiral the world more than 30 times. Around 99% of data worldwide travels at two-thirds of the speed of light underwater through these subsea cables. We are proud to say that Tata Communications carries nearly 30% of the world’s internet
routes.

Can you clarify on the significance of network transformation in relation to digital transformation?

Digital consists of data, applications and network. Connectivity is vital for digital transformation, yet the networks do not get their due importance. Even a minute of network connectivity disruption can cost up to $5,000. The notion about network needs to change. With a focus on the quality of network and services, it needs to be at a real enterprise-grade. Those of our customers that we enabled network transformation for were able to respond to the pandemic in an agile manner, seamlessly accelerating to the cloud and shifting their workloads swiftly.

What kind of data activity has Tata Communications been observing during the last few months?

As a result of the Covid-19 work from home shift, in March alone we recorded 1 billion minutes of enterprise voice traffic. We also witnessed a 30% growth in internet traffic on our network in March as compared to January 2020. Globally, we have delivered over 650 orders specifically related to Covid, corresponding to 1.35 TBPS of additionally provisioned bandwidth. This trend has continued over the past couple of months as well. This capacity expansion has been possible due to extensive upgrade of our network done over the last three years. All our network elements such as NLD, Metro Area Network, wireless access, and DC to DC connectivity have been made future-ready.

For many customers, we upgraded capacity to support higher demand as well as bespoke solutions to help their employees work from home safely with in-built secure access to their corporate applications wherever they were hosted. Tata Communications’ new-age solutions such as NetFoundry are helping set up a secure network over the internet, enabling quick, secure access and performance acceleration to an organisation’s applications in any location, from any device.

Walk us through the kind of solutions companies are adopting to suit the new normal.

The new normal has exhibited a shift to remote-first setup and accelerated the adoption of technologies, such as virtual agents to reduce the strain on WFH employees by handling routine inquiries with automated responses and deliver a more personal customer experience during this trying time.

Businesses across retail, automotive, BFSI, IT/ITES, BPOs, travel and hospitality industries are offering a seamless, digital-first and secure collaboration experience by using digital video solutions that can replicate key elements of the buying process and retain a personalised shopping experience. Our Secure Connected Digital Experience proposition will support these enterprises to rebuild and adapt their organisations for a post-Covid world. We intend to meet this growing, worldwide demand for new ways of operating, which includes, higher levels of working from home, rising security risks, a shift to digital commerce and more contactless experiences for employees, customers and supply chain partners.

How do you see the role of the internet evolving in the near future?

The digital economy continues to grow exponentially. Once lockdown restrictions are lifted, 50-60% users will still continue to work from home. For secure access to applications and data, regardless of location, device or broadband provider, Tata Communications Secure Connected Digital Workplace, will provide a range of services to enterprises looking to safeguard their employee experience. Tata Communications will provide zero-trust network access through a partnership with its subsidiary NetFoundry.

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