Low Latency Becomes Increasingly Critical in Every Industry

Low latency has become a major area of focus across a variety of industries, as customers’ applications require more efficient network connectivity.

New, bandwidth-intensive applications and increased cloud adoption are fostering innovative business operations across industries. The potential performance delays associated with these applications have implications that range from frustration from slow load times and delayed graphics to far more serious and costly consequences.

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Once an imperative only for the financial services industry, low-latency connectivity is now important across all major industries as minimizing delays in transactions and increasing data speed are critical to business success. 88 percent of IT decision makers cited low latency as one of the most important qualities of their network, according to a survey by Sidera Network.

Education
In education, high-speed networking solutions allow institutions to leverage innovative technologies that provide new ways of teaching, learning, and collaborating. Gone are the days of the simple chalkboard. The “new” classroom relies on high-speed connectivity and includes applications such as video conferencing, live-streaming, rich learning content, e-learning platforms, presentation applications, and dynamic administration tools.

Network speed in the classroom creates a more innovative, interactive learning environment. While applications such as live-streaming and electronic whiteboards vastly improve creativity and collaboration, they become less effective if they are sluggish or delayed. In a 2008 survey of students in higher education conducted by The Economist, 52 percent of the respondents cited collaborative technologies as the top online tool to improve academics. Students can use high-speed connectivity to complete coursework outside their class or dorm rooms in student centers, quads or outdoor spaces, creating their own dynamic learning environments and promoting collaboration.

Campuses across the world are accessing cloud-based applications over fast, secure low latency networks. Cloud computing solutions, such as Software as a Service (SaaS), provide educational institutions increased flexibility and accessibility to information and applications that can be used both on- and off-premises. By providing consistent, high-speed access to information systems and research data, low-latency networks facilitate connections between key stakeholders and other academic institutions worldwide.

Health Care
For the health care industry, high speed networks are integral to the performance of critical applications that drive superior health care, including Picture Archiving Communications Systems (PACS), diagnostic imaging, Electronic Medical Records (EMR), telehealth applications, and patient portals. Faster assessments, diagnoses and collaboration between doctors, hospitals, and outpatient facilities encourage faster diagnosis and recovery, making low latency networks a crucial component to superior quality of care.

Low latency networks support mobile healthcare applications and equipment that make patient information readily available to the medical staff that needs it. Available on laptops, PDAs, and mobile PC carts, these applications require reliable anytime access to information, regardless of physical location.

Health care sector decision makers rely on low-latency networks to leverage the latest cloud-based applications for increased redundancy and backup in a highly scalable, functional manner. According to a 2010 report by Accenture, approximately one-third of the health care sector decision makers use cloud applications, 73 percent of whom indicate that they are planning to move even more applications to the cloud.

Media
The media industry has undergone an extreme transformation in recent years, with digital technology vastly increasing the variety and quality of content, delivery methods and viewing devices that must be supported.

A high-speed network is crucial for today’s deadline-driven media industry, where real-time, low-latency connectivity is essential. From live-streaming breaking news, television shows, and movies over the Internet, to applications that allow media companies to transfer large files, images, and videos from the field to studios around the world; delays in speed and performance not only sacrifice the overall impact of the content, but can also result in a significant loss in revenue.

Government
High-speed networks provide a faster, more efficient infrastructure to improve interaction between communities and their governments. Key applications that require reliable, low-latency connectivity include transportation management, emergency response and general commerce.

State and local governments need the ability to support their growth at a price that meets today’s fiscal challenges. Citizens want access to self-service portals and information. Low-latency networks are a cost-effective way to meet these needs.

Legal
As more and more paper processes within the legal system are being replaced with electronic files, law firms and legal services businesses are relying on data centers and high capacity networks to ensure uninterrupted access to this data at all times. During legal cases, firms must often share large, bandwidth-intensive files between multiple offices quickly and securely. Meeting deadlines is especially critical in this industry, which often necessitates that work occur around the clock. Network delays can slow productivity and make it difficult to meet those tight deadlines.

Law firms, and the businesses that support them, require a network infrastructure that can support productivity through the lowest latency network possible, ensuring secure, high-speed access to critical files 24/7.

Conclusion
Speed is increasingly on the “short list” for network must haves -“ alongside critical qualities such as security, scalability, bandwidth, and unique Classes of Service (CoS) to give customers the flexibility to choose the most appropriate network infrastructure for their unique needs. Low latency is beneficial to nearly every industry, and has become a major focus for organizations seeking an experienced and mindful network provider that will expertly optimize high-speed connectivity, minimize network-related costs and achieve the customer’s strategic business objectives.

Low latency requirements for the Education, Health care, Media, Government, and Legal industries all depend on the same foundation, the ability to design a network tailored to client’s requirements. To ensure your network is ideally suited to support your business needs, consider the following:

  1. For high-speed networks, look for low latency and high capacity. It will enhance your application performance.

  2. High-speed networks provide an ideal platform for important applications across any industry, such as video conferencing, live-streaming media, rich content, dynamic administration tools, and access to real-time information.

  3. Utilizing cloud-based Web applications via a low latency network will dramatically improve reliability and accessibility which can ensure continued business productivity through cost effective, managed solutions.

  4. A low-latency network is ideal for today’s deadline-driven society, providing invaluable, real-time connectivity.

  5. Low-latency networks save organizations considerable time and money by providing a faster, more efficient means of collaboration between employees, customers, staff, students and enterprises overall.

Challenge your network service provider. Discuss low latency as a way to improve the performance of your network and increase productivity throughout your company.

Maura Mahoney is the vice president of Marketing & Business Development for New York City-based Sidera Networks, provider of tailored, high capacity communication services. For more information, contact www.sidera.net/contact-us.