The next-gen swing: Teeing up AI to support SD-WAN

Video series: How SD-WAN is like golf

Posted on January 9, 2020

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Every golfer knows the tee box is a lonely place. You can have the latest graphite shaft and the most perfectly balanced aerodynamic driver, but it all still comes down to you–your skills and your ability to make contact and drive the ball in just the right way. That same principle applies to how network engineers use AI and machine learning to manage today’s SD-WANs. Here, SD-WAN experts and avid golfers Zeus Kerravala and Masergy’s Chris Werpy tell you all about it in the first installment of “How SD-WAN is Like Golf.”

Obviously golf is a game that’s gone through an immense amount of technology changes over the years. You go to Top Golf, and they are tracking your ball with a sensor, range finders, and using that data to help golfers advance their techniques. 

We’re seeing the same thing in terms of AI, machine learning, and what the next generation of SD-WAN looks like.  

The key commonality there is the fact that AI hasn’t replaced the golfer, and it hasn’t replaced the skill of the golfer. AI only augments their skill set to let them do what they do better. If you think of a golfer, they look at all their shots, trying to understand which one is not working and what type of shot they need to practice. Today, we have all these computer-based algorithms that intelligently advise on what to go do. 

Computer-based algorithms easily have the same impact on network operations.

Now, IT professionals can use this technology to augment their own skill set, offload a lot of the heavy lifting analysis and do what they do best. People just aren’t good at looking through reams and reams of data to try and find a needle in a stack of needles. But machines are. And, so we should use AI as a tool to help network engineers. It’s not meant to replace them. 

In all honesty though, If I could get a robot to replace my golf swing and just ride in the cart and drink beer all day, I think the golf world would be much better. That’s your augmented golf game though.

Watch all the videos in this series

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Chris Werpy

Chris Werpy is senior vice president of solutions and services and has been with Masergy since 2007. He leads multiple teams and is responsible for the Solutions Engineering, Client Services and Emerging Markets organizations. He brings more than 15 years of networking and communications experience with a proven track record in technical and strategic roles in operations, sales and business development. Prior to joining Masergy, Chris held various leadership positions at ICG Communications, LineSider Technologies and Pac-West Telecom. He has published numerous industry articles, spoken on various panels and is a recognized thought leader in the communications and security industries.

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