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Current IT infrastructures not prepared for incoming strain of fourth industrial revolution

With the future of business increasingly driven by smart things, applications and digital services that use data for transformational purposes, CenturyLink is undergoing its own transformation

As it was announcing a renaming from its CenturyLink brand and developing a “bold new purpose”, Lumen Technologies has released research that shows nearly three-quarters of global IT decision-makers believe current IT infrastructures are not prepared to support coming increases in users, data volumes and application performance requirements.

Working as CenturyLink, the company offered network, edge cloud, security, communication and collaboration solutions and Lumen believes that with its rebrand, and refocus, it will aim to lead enterprises through the challenges and opportunities of the fourth industrial revolution, a time when smart, connective devices are everywhere.

Founded in 1930, CenturyLink was initially a telecoms provider, but has developed over the years into a complex ecosystem of technologies and digital services. The company has had a transformative 2020. In April, it became the first supplier to receive authority to operate under the EIS programme in a deal worth $1.6bn to provide connectivity to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa). Over a period of nine and a half years, it is providing Nasa with core backbone network services with speeds of up to 100Gbps.

Then, just weeks later, it digitally revamped its sales framework to foster greater unity between business units and promote better information-sharing internally.

Lumen says that at its core, this new age requires companies to effectively acquire, analyse and act upon their data to stay ahead of the curve and be competitive. It is confident that its combination of global technology infrastructure – with 450,000 route fibre miles, business solutions and services – will create a platform to help its customers “excel” in a new industrial age.

“All of our futures will be driven by smart things, applications and digital services that use data for transformational purposes,” said Shaun Andrews, executive vice-president and chief marketing officer at Lumen. “To serve this colossal need and further human progress through technology, we have launched Lumen.”

This new industrial age is indeed placing unprecedented demand on the IT professionals diving industries forward. Lumen’s Global trend report: how the 4th industrial revolution is changing IT, business and the world, for which Quadrant Strategies surveyed more than 1,200 IT leaders in 10 countries during July 2020, shows that over four-fifths (82%) of senior IT decision-makers worldwide (71% in the UK) believe that a century’s worth of technological advancements will take place in the next five years.

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Also in the survey, 91% of IT leaders worldwide (88% in the UK) said a business’s ability to quickly acquire, analyse and act on data will be a key factor in determining whether it will be a technology leader in the future.

And providing the backbone to this growth will be fast networks. Lumen’s research found that 60% of global IT decision-makers require a latency of 10 milliseconds or less for their applications, and one in five require five milliseconds or less.

The vast majority of global IT decision-makers also say that edge compute is vital to their future, with more than 90% of the IT leaders expecting to implement edge compute services to keep pace with the expansion of the internet of things in the coming years.

Market availability appeared to be the only thing holding edge compute back, with 90% of global IT decision-makers saying they would move their organisation’s applications from on-premise to edge compute if it was available today.

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