No matter what industry they operate in, progressive companies around the world all have one thing in common: they constantly look for ways of bringing people and technology closer together. By combining human intelligence with the analytical and problem-solving skills of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, organisations can drive efficiencies and boost overall productivity. In short, they are able to get the best out of both worlds. This is what the autonomous enterprise is effectively all about.

But while all these companies share the same vision of becoming autonomous, they also all face the same fundamental challenge on how to make this a reality. Despite being often overlooked, the network that powers all connected devices and enterprise technologies is a good place to start. Networks that form the foundation upon which the autonomous enterprise of the future is going to be built on need to be seen as more than just a basic utility. Modern networks should be fuelled by AI technologies that allow them to become self-healing, self-driving and self-managing.

These networks are able to help organisations completely transform the way they operate and bring them one step closer to becoming fully autonomous. Here are five examples of industries that are ready to embrace the future of networking, today.

Healthcare

Providing excellent patient care is perhaps the most important goal for any healthcare professional and organisation. However, with the rise of connected devices and other technological advancements, patient care now more than ever relies on how advanced medical devices perform and communicate with each other.

This is where an, intelligent, adaptive and secure network comes into play. An autonomous network can smartly manage and prioritise the bandwidth needs of life-saving equipment, for example. Equally, these networks can help automate responses to flag changes in a patient’s condition or deliver critical updates in response to discrepancies across monitoring equipment.

Even relatively minor systems like patient entertainment and guest WiFi can benefit from intelligent networks prioritising bandwidth demands across a hospital. End-to-end visibility platforms, analytics and machine-learning all give medical staff fast and easy access to the information they need, when they need it, which allows them to provide patients with the best possible care.

Retail

Improving service levels and offering personalised, omni-channel customer experiences are the two main goals of both digital and physical retail outlets these days. However, while brick-and-mortar sites have struggled to match the highly-personalised service of online shopping, intelligent networks help turn physical outlets into retail spaces of the future.

Location and analytics applications, WiFi access points and facial-recognition technologies at physical stores can automate numerous processes – as long as they are powered by a strong, reliable and intelligent network. For instance, customer service could be improved as mobile checkout devices, parking sensors and cameras work in tandem to allow customers to buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS).

Education

The classroom of the future is digital and to power all the technologies needed to create these new educational experiences, schools and universities require a powerful, integrated wired and wireless network. Future classrooms will be home to numerous IoT devices such as smart boards and Virtual Reality (VR) hardware. An AI-powered WiFi network can support this by adding wireless capacity and improving radio frequency efficiency to meet bandwidth demands. Such a network would allow students to make use of bandwidth-intensive learning resources (eSports training, 3D-modelling, VR applications) without disrupting the network for other users. With an automated network, staff can focus their attention on providing tech-driven educational experiences that are so crucial to the next generation that enters the workforce.

Logistics

Intelligent networks and automation are already beginning to restructure the UK’s £92.7 billion logistics market. By deploying drones that can independently scan packages, logistics companies will be able to reduce their transit times dramatically. Equally, by connecting these systems to an intelligent network, legacy warehouse management software can be combined with more advanced sensors and, again, drones to streamline the process. The use of mobile devices and strategic deployment of WiFi access-points further allows goods to be tracked every single step throughout the entire supply chain.

Smart cities

More than half of the human population lives in cities and more than 2.5 billion new residents will be moving into cities over the next 30 years, according to McKinsey. The increasing population density of cities will strain existing infrastructure as limited resources are needed by more people. To counter this, urban planners are designing future cities with intelligent networks in mind. Automated systems will reduce traffic congestion, for example, through connected traffic cameras, stoplight timers and a myriad of other sensors. Not only will this reduce rush-hour traffic and reduce maintenance costs, but it will also increase road safety for pedestrians and vehicles alike.

Autonomous networks have the potential to radically change the way organisations run in the future. Rather than providing a substitute for human input and intelligence, these networks and systems complement the work of modern employees, and help companies become more effective, efficient and productivity. The road to the autonomous enterprise is still quite long for most organisations, but by investing in an intelligent, adaptive and secure network, companies can lay the foundations today for the way they will do business tomorrow.


Read more: How smart networks are powering the hospitals of the future