‘Close Enough is Not Good Enough in Case of Digital Experience’

BW CIO World interacted with Bjorn Engelhardt, SVP, APJ at Riverbed Technology to discuss modern Networking technologies and many factors that can affect the digital experience for the customers.

Bjorn Engelhardt, SVP, APJ at Riverbed Technology

BW CIO World interacted with Bjorn Engelhardt, SVP, APJ at Riverbed Technology to discuss modern Networking technologies and many factors that can affect the digital experience for the customers. Edited Excerpts of the conversation below:

BW: What role does Network latency & bandwidth play in enabling consistent and good digital experience? Please share desirable network latency & bandwidth by type of application?

Bjorn Engelhardt: Latency and Bandwidth are quite different with regards to their impact on the business. Riverbed Technology solved the issue of bandwidth costs when it pioneered WAN Optimisation technology, making narrow bandwidth lines look larger. As networks became cheaper, some people thought they could bypass WAN optimisation and just buy more bandwidth, but that did not solve the problem of speed (latency). Riverbed Technology brings solutions to the customers to speed their applications.

With regards to quantitative guidance by network/application type, network latency (speed) & bandwidth (capacity) are certainly the considerations to watch out for; an organization’s ability to deliver great experiences to their users is dependent on multiple factors. Performance can be impacted by a number of things: problematic application code, network congestion, server failures, a missing or broken link, or an end user’s device. Understanding and actually following how users are experiencing applications and services is critical, as is having the right tools to diagnose and troubleshoot issues in real-time.

BW: What are the challenges in improving bandwidth across diverse types of the network?

Bjorn Engelhardt: Network capacity will always get consumed to saturation as new digital technologies get adopted. You can always go out and buy bandwidth but that does not always solve the challenge. Simply boosting network capacity is therefore just a band-aid solution. What is needed are long-term management solutions that allow organisations to effectively control network capacity into the future, and not just the immediate months and years. Organisations are making investments in data centers, but the other challenge is getting quick access to apps and services at new locations. Being able to get a quality network that is secure and easily accessible at a pop-up store for an event, for an example, is what drives the experience across the spectrum.

BW: How is the customer experience challenge different between NEFT, RTGS, IMPS (enables UPI), Payment Banks & Card payments?

Bjorn Engelhardt: What we do is sit below and ensure networks supporting the Payment technologies contribute towards delivering the good customer experience. While we are agnostic about our role in these services, the role we play is two-fold. Ensure that the payment systems work and that our customers have the tools to monitor the network performance and core functions that support the process.

BW: Data security and  privacy are real threats. What are the new innovations in the network security at Riverbed?

Bjorn Engelhardt: Organizations try to improve performance by moving data to the edge (ship to shore, rural areas, etc.) and there are security concerns in this approach. We have a product that replicates the data at the data centre and allows users to get real-time access at the edge, but not in a readable/user format as the data is always encrypted. With this approach, the data is always secured in the data center with no risk of loss at the branch.

BW: What is the value that Software defined networks bring to improving digital experiences for consumers in general?

Bjorn Engelhardt: With traditional networking technologies, the work needed to open a new location or deploy a new app/service can take months. Riverbed delivers a new way of networking that is software-defined. Software Defined-Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is a specific implementation of SDN technology applied to WAN connections. With SD-WAN you can make changes to the network immediately for example, to access a new SaaS application or if you are putting a business rule in place. No routers are required. You can balance traffic automatically.

BW: What role can the Government play in improving the quality of digital experience across the board within the country?

Bjorn Engelhardt: Modi and team have been champions of digital as a way for India to progress quickly. Generally, India is moving away from the mentality of “close enough is good enough”.

Awareness that digital/citizen experience drives competitiveness is building in India. India should make investments in the infrastructure; both at the data centres, but also in the connectivity across the country. Broadband can be made more accessible.


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