‘Future’ Optic: Trends from Life in the Digital Fast Lane (And Dark Fiber’s Role in it All)

Digital Trends

When we think about time passing and the changes that come along with it, many often imagine a steady march of years and a consistent flow of new ideas, information and strategies. In reality, that’s not exactly how it works. 

A digitally transforming world like ours doesn’t have time to smell the flowers and enjoy every step — or at least it doesn’t act like it does. In fact, our technological world has become digitally defined at breakneck speed, evolving exponentially at a rate that quickly makes our past unrecognizable (looking at you, CDs and VCRs) and our future unimaginable. Still, at the core of it all is one immutable aspect: the importance of underlying network foundations. 

Since our inception four years ago, the world has changed a lot. Now, we find ourselves in the midst of new breakthroughs every day that define and redefine how we interact with our friends, families and coworkers, how we interface with our environments, even how we spend our leisure time. So, let’s take stock. 

Becoming More Intelligent (Artificially)

Nowadays, it seems that nobody can go anywhere or read anything without hearing about ChatGPT or its other artificially intelligent brethren. It’s true that our global community has turned a corner with AI, and we now find ourselves immersed in a steep learning curve regarding what these chatbots can do and how they can supplement our human initiatives. In fact, ChatGPT — made available for public testing on November 30, 2022 — had more than 57 million users in the first month of its launch and officially crossed the 100 million users mark in January 2023. 

While the question-and-answer premise at the heart of these AI platforms seems simple, their ability to be trained on practically everything humans have created and stored online (as luck would have it, we’re data hoarders) makes it incredibly versatile. In fact, ChatGPT was trained using the internet’s text databases, which include a staggering 570GB of data from books, webtexts, articles and more — 300 billion words in total. As a result, the use cases and potential of these AI tools are seemingly only as boundless as our ideas are. 

Today, AI is being used to create content, accomplish research, manage customer support, detect fraud and a whole lot more. In essence, we’ve created what could become a whole new world of efficiency and opportunity — if the right infrastructure is in place. 

Are You Not Entertained?

Between a meteoric rise in social media platforms over the past few years and a ravenous hunger for media streaming (to the tune of around 7.2 billion hours of content watched during Q3 2022), there’s no denying we’re in our content era. 

The importance these platforms have on day-to-day life and entertainment can’t be overstated. Some would even go so far as to say that media consumption continues to shape our societal and social mores. Think about how often people select their peer groups based on favorite shows or even how age groups change what they wear according to trends on their social media platforms. Consider the common reaction to statements like ‘I don’t really watch TV’, and you’ll quickly realize that streaming and digital entertainment decisions have become an integral part of the modern self. 

Broadcast and cable screen time is officially in decline, and in its place, streaming content remains king. Why? Many cite cost as a leading factor, and many also just seem to prefer the type of innovative entertainment coming out across these on-demand, online platforms. Of course, for streaming providers, this has created a fervent race to the top — but actually delivering the best experiences depends on a lot more than what movies they stock. 

Cutting the Commute

Increased business mobility and a switch to remote, work-from-home models has been one of the most defining trends of our time. Nobody needs to mention why it happened — we all know. The point is it happened. Now, we’re on the other side of a major life-changing disruption, and work looks a lot different. 

Sure, the reduction in overhead costs was great, but transitioning to a remote-enabled business environment meant making a lot of changes. Cloud-based applications quickly became necessary for keeping important data, files and teams connected in real time. Not to mention, cybersecurity efforts had to get a boost to ensure proprietary information and enterprise networks could stay safe even when the access points moved from on-site computers to at-home laptops. Conferencing platforms became a mainstay of digital collaboration, and water coolers definitely got deposed by Slack as the favorite office gossip location. All of this led to dramatic changes in IT services spending on business applications, collaboration tools, cyber security and the like. In fact, global small and medium-sized businesses are splashing out a projected $330+ billion on these assets in 2023.  

This dramatic pivot has plunged the working world into a full-fledged digital environment, and there’s no going back. Now, global business’s only choice is to keep advancing its IT and supporting collaboration with the best possible connectivity. 

Looking at the Commonalities

The new applications and trends cropping up across the globe are as diverse as the people that use them, but underneath all these individual use cases and technologies is one common theme: A dependence on robust networking. 

Whether it’s keeping streaming content moving quickly and reliably (sans jitter) to the end user, showcasing a constant feed of social media posts, enabling the ever-growing use of quick AI-generated answers or keeping remote teams on-the-go, connectivity is at the core. Network speed, security and reliability are the pillars that support each and every one of these defining trends, and there’s no better option than dark fiber for all of those mainstays. 

That’s why, at Bandwidth IG, we take our work very seriously — because we know it builds the foundations of your day at work, at home and beyond. We’re proud to say that our fast, adaptable, customer-focused approach to delivering diverse, dense mission-critical dark fiber keeps our customers (and their customers) moving reliably at the speed of digital innovation. 

So, the next time you waste an evening binging a show, complaining about your last zoom meeting or tell your kid not to let ChatGPT write their essays for them (all technological wonders for better or for worse), just remember that dark fiber is empowering these digital technologies that are transforming our lives for the better.

To learn more about how dark fiber can empower your innovation, check out our solutions

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