We live in a world in which we\u2019re regularly streaming Netflix in 4K, using the power of the phones in our pockets to augment our realities with virtual gaming, and even watching basketball from a virtual courtside seat. Our networks have evolved to cater for these technologies, and each evolutionary step has brought with it a technological boom enabled by greater capacity, speed, automation, intelligence and programmability.\nThe next step has arrived and it\u2019s just in time, because when you thought we were finally content with, well, content, new technologies have emerged that push beyond what we ever thought possible.\nAt the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Intel Studios unveiled what it\u2019s calling Volumetric Video \u2013 and it\u2019s nothing short of stunning. Volumetric Video uses multiple cameras to shoot a 360-degree field of view, but it differs from standard 360-degree or VR video in that it captures footage \u201cfrom the outside in\u201d. To picture how it works, visualize the action scenes from The Matrix, in which the cameras pan around a frozen-in-mid-air Keanu Reeves. But now imagine being a viewer with the ability to zoom in on any part of that scene or look at any part of the footage from any angle you want, at any point in the action sequence.\nThankfully 400G has arrived and will enable the kind of bandwidth and compute needed for such a revolutionary technology. It\u2019s easy to forget that just 10 years ago, we\u2019d hit the limit of what we could do with simple direct detection of 40G waves. Fortunately, Coherent Detection provide the breakthrough that allowed the world to re-think what the network was capable of.\nFuture-proofing the network edge\nToday the edge of the network is rapidly moving from single Gigabit speeds to 10, 25 and even 100G rates. Carriers are beginning the densification of the fiber at the network edge needed to build the 5G infrastructure that will support the Internet of things and network cores are becoming flexible and programmable.\nWe\u2019ve watched the world become dependent on smartphones and tablets for everyday work and leisure, and the capabilities of those devices drive an ever-increasing need for data. We now live in an app-driven world allowing us to consume Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and 4K content regularly. Through the power of opening the network we\u2019ve watched the world innovate and drive more connectivity across more industries than ever before. Once an industry gets \u201con-net\u201d and becomes both smart and connected, the innovations accelerate, driving even more demand onto the network. This virtuous cycle, where connectivity drives innovation, which drives consumption, which drives further connectivity, shows no sign of slowing from the demand side.\nWe\u2019re now well along with 400G in commercial use and we have 600G, 800G and even more around the corner. Along with the rapidly increasing data rates, it is the software in our networks that is ever increasing in importance. It is what allows our networks to adapt to the needs of network operators. It is what enables the convergence of network analytics and intelligence. It is the software control and automation that enables a programmable infrastructure. Operators can now ramp network services up or down with the click of a mouse \u2013 and with the use of artificial intelligence and software, the network can even adjust itself.\nUnshackled innovation\nThe shackles that held innovation back in a networking sense a decade ago are now gone, and you\u2019re about to see a new technology boom.\nIn the near future it\u2019s conceivable that you could be enjoying a 4K-based, AR enhanced, streaming video while sitting in your self-driving car. Or you could even be watching and interacting with a Volumetric film as you sit onboard a high-speed train.\nSmart cities can now take the leap from a series of connected but disparate devices and services, to one in which they both connect and inform each other and are able to react to each other\u2019s conditions. Let\u2019s say a traffic light is out on the main street of a city. The smart city can alert public safety agencies of congested areas and re-direct emergency vehicles along less-congested routes. Other connected cars will also be alerted and advised to automatically avoid the congested areas to avoid any approaching emergency vehicles \u2013 all without the passenger having to lift a finger.\nThis is all on the horizon, but it\u2019s a horizon that\u2019s becoming within reach because we\u2019ve set the stage for more adaptive networks that foster innovation and enable us to deliver more advanced services. Volumetric, VR, AR, 4K, 8K, 16K: consider these revolutionary next steps because there\u2019s bound to be more where they came from as the new, adaptive network gives us the freedom to imagine beyond tomorrow.