Predicting the future can be a tricky, contentious business. But when it comes to projections about the volume of mobile data traffic companies will soon face, it’s simply not controversial to say that a flood is coming, and it could be a problem. Here’s one eye-popping projection, from Cisco: Monthly global data traffic will surpass 24.3 exabytes per month by 2019, compared to 2.5 exabytes per month in 2014.
It’s imperative for companies to prepare for this massive increase in traffic now, before it’s a crisis. Today, you can scale as your needs scale. That’s a lot cheaper than waiting for things to reach a breaking point tomorrow.
This week, I’m at Mobile World Congress, where industry leaders are discussing evolving trends. As companies prepare their data strategies, I think there are a few critical factors to consider:
1) Technology is forcing new interactions between traditionally disparate ecosystems
A single mobile payment, for instance, involves four separate ecosystems: 1) Mobile – Device manufacturers, operating system providers, network operators; 2) Financial – Issuing banks, payment networks, acquiring banks; 3) Enterprise – Point of sale providers, merchants; 4) Advertising.
These ecosystems can’t just be loosely linked, their interactions must be fast and secure. An advantage with Equinix is that as the only global neutral provider of connectivity, our customers include the top companies in the major ecosystems worldwide – cloud, networks, enterprise, telematics, advertising, retail, financial services, etc. If a customer shares their expected data volume and strategy, and who their important suppliers and customers are, we can help them colocate with or near them, wherever they are. No one else offers that kind of interconnection.
2) Proximity to partners is critical for application performance, security and controlling costs
The emerging Internet of Things will connect billions of devices to the Internet and is creating what Cisco estimates is a $19 trillion market. But it will come with unprecedented data demands.
One of the most promising use cases for IOT is remote patient monitoring – which gives doctors and caregivers the ability to monitor patients with greater health risks via connected devices. IOT could enable a heart patient’s doctor to gather data directly from the patient’s pacemaker and track whether he or she is taking medication on time, via pill boxes that send alerts when they are opened. At every step, the amount of data increases – from the data being gathered from patients via different devices to the data being created by the doctors who analyze and share it with others. Handling that expanding big data load can get incredibly expensive.
But the cost plummets if a company doesn’t have to pay to use public or private networks for every transaction, if they can directly connect inside an Equinix data center – through a cross connect or services like Performance Hub or Equinix Cloud Exchange. And direct connections aren’t just higher-performing connections, they’re safer. They eliminate hacking opportunities because there’s no exposure on public or private networks.
3) Your data strategy must be much more than an IT strategy
Any company that provides any service over the Internet needs a data strategy that’s a product of multiple departments: engineering, marketing, product development, etc. It’s not just an IT issue, and that’s largely because technological capabilities have increased so dramatically. Big data analytics enables companies to know more about their users than ever. Companies can even know if a user is sleeping, eating, texting, based only on phone movements. Businesses need to be able to react to that information – now. Designing a marketing response, IT architecture and service delivery that’s flexible and scalable is a company-wide task. Equinix’s massive and diverse customer ecosystem offers the interconnection essential to reach the partners, customers and employees that make it possible.