Ciena study explores how sustainability, connected industries, and always-on connectivity are driving the UK digital landscape

Research by Ciena (NYSE: CIEN) has found that 4 in 10 (42%) British adults believe the future of the internet will be driven by our desire to become more energy efficient, with almost two thirds (65%) considering doing more activities virtually to reduce their carbon footprint, including healthcare appointments (25%), working remotely (24%), and attending meetings or conferences (22%).

New technologies, including IoT and 5G, have the potential to increase energy efficiency and the research shows Brits are ready to embrace more connected devices. While IoT and smart devices are contributing to a cleaner and greener planet, 70% of respondents see the benefits they are set to bring, with convenience and easier lifestyle, and improved efficiency cited amongst the top.

Jürgen Hatheier, Chief Technology Officer for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Ciena, said: “Our experience and expectations around the network are changing. There’s a greater desire to support a more connected, energy-efficient world, through smart devices, connected industries, and new applications underpinned by high expectations for service reliability.”

Energy-efficient networks

With sustainability and renewables top of mind for businesses and consumers alike, energy consumption is becoming an even more important consideration in the 5G era. 5G has the potential to dramatically increase data traffic and, therefore infrastructure required to handle it, which could result in a two- to three-fold increase in energy consumption, according to a GSMA Energy Efficiency Report. Add to this the growing number of people using smart home systems and consumption control devices (25%), and it is easy to see how these market dynamics are placing new demands on metro and edge networks. There is a clear need to evolve the network to make it more efficient and reduce energy consumption.

5G Expectations

To gain better network performance and speed, 43% of British adults confirmed they are planning to upgrade their internet within the next 24 months, and 36% are willing to pay more for 5G services. In fact, 33% believe they will have better access to the internet when 5G is widely available.

Home has become the Office and School Center

As the home has now become the remote office for many, and at times a school, the reliance on the network is more crucial than ever. Almost a third (31%) of those surveyed say they will work remotely in some form after Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. The desire for reliable connectivity, ultra-low latency, and improved speeds underscores the need for networks that can handle the growing pressures of new applications, services, and tools.

Device Preference and 24/7 Connectivity

The need for constant connectivity is reflected in the way we are using the internet, with mobile phones handily outranking laptops (25%) and desktops (14%) as the most-used device as cited by 44% of respondents.

Respondents also state that the most valuable part of the internet is having 24/7 access (30%), followed by the desire to stay digitally connected with friends and family (23%).

“Rethinking our approach to the way networks are built and managed is key to supporting the growing digital landscape,” said Hatheier. “While demand and our digital lifestyle will continue to drive the future of networks, it’s critical that they become closer to end users, smarter, and faster to deliver an exceptional customer experience.”

Notes to Editors
The research, which surveyed 1,000 UK adults on their thoughts and opinions around internet consumption and future trends, was conducted by Censuswide in April 2021.

About Ciena
Ciena (NYSE: CIEN) is a global leader in networking systems, services, and software. We build the most adaptive networks in the industry, enabling customers to anticipate and meet ever-increasing digital demands. For three-plus decades, Ciena has brought our humanity to our relentless pursuit of innovation. Prioritizing collaborative relationships with our customers, partners, and communities, we create flexible, open, and sustainable networks that better serve all users—today and into the future. For updates on Ciena, follow us on LinkedInTwitter, the Ciena Insights blog, or visit

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