As we at AFL get ready to begin our new fiscal year in April, we wanted to take a look at some of the trends we see coming for 2019. This will be a banner year for businesses and technology as we look to an exciting year of transition in our industry. While there has been lots of talk about the development of a true Internet of Things (IoT), we really don’t have it yet; however, new technologies now exist to make this possible. Both 5G and 802.11ax are immensely powerful and are staged to enable the true IoT that we have been waiting for.
Setting a base for transformation is the development of Smart Cities and Smart Buildings. We are already seeing this in Greenville, South Carolina (neighbors to our Spartanburg headquarters) as they prepare to build out Smart City infrastructure powered by this new 5G technology. While all of these new technologies are primarily wireless, they are all supported with a backbone of fiber. Both IoT and Smart Cities need the infrastructure to supply the bandwidth and latency necessary. Fiber is going to be a strong component in developing this new infrastructure and enables long term sustainability, reduced OPEX, and an improved environmental footprint.
Lastly, providing broadband to the masses will be a large focus. It is estimated that over 20 million people in the United States still don’t have access to high-speed broadband. In January 2018, the President spoke to the necessity of all Americans to have “access to reliable, affordable, broadband Internet service to succeed in today’s information-driven global economy.” Bringing broadband to the masses will require investments by regional and rural service providers and Utilities. With our “Fiber to the People” approach, we are helping in these efforts to bring broadband to everyone.
As we look to a new year, we’re excited to see what these new technologies and transitions are going to mean for the market, and the part that AFL is going to play in it!