Powering the Industrial Internet Side of the Internet of Things

Ryan Mallory

dan-horner-250pxOur Global Solutions Architect (GSA) profile this month takes us to Washington, D.C., where Dan Horner, Lead GSA, works with large enterprise and network service provider customers out of the Equinix DC11 data center. Dan lives in Warrenton, Va., a rural county west of D.C., where he also puts his “creation” skills to work in his free time as an avid blacksmith, glass blower and restorer of old muscle cars.

Before coming to Equinix, Dan ran a team of application engineers at Alcatel Lucent that focused on the development of virtual reality and multi-format media proof of concepts. Dan has managed sales engineering and technology innovation functions at multiple Internet service providers and product organizations that specialize in next-generation IP services. Additionally, Dan managed the UUNET engineering group that validated all the network gear deployed into the worldwide UUNET network.

Dan believes the combination of Internet connectivity and secure, high-grade data center space and cloud services is changing the old, on-premise model in a way that should radically increase efficiency. He also thinks newer technologies, such as software defined networking (SDN) and the Equinix Programmable Network (EPN) services, promise to enable dynamic bandwidth in a way that can bolster flexible data models for forward-thinking companies.

“SDN is changing the face of the Internet,” he said, “and that change is only going to accelerate.”

Q: What are the top challenges your customers are trying to solve today?

A: Customer education is paramount right now. Many customers are trying to assess new technology effectively, which is good. With new technology comes new business models, which customers need to digest and assimilate into their own businesses.

The Industrial Internet, and corresponding interactions with the Internet of Things (IoT), is driving companies to radically re-assess the value of information. For example, Google has already proven that online advertising can provide a dominant revenue stream. As more interactive, interconnected uses of that information are combined with physical sensor data, companies will realize new, untapped monetization potential. All of that meta- and usage data will become one of the primary differentiators for all sorts of industrial and technology services. The complexity of all these moving parts is something that we need to make sure we educate our customers on, including showing them how they can leverage existing business strengths.

Q: In working with General Electric (GE), what innovative things are they doing with Equinix?

A: GE is a fascinating company. They are a key catalyst behind the Industrial Internet, a sub-market of the Internet of Things (IoT) that describes the integration of complex physical machinery, sensors and application/analytics software.

GE is leveraging large-scale data lakes and data analytics to apply innovation that optimizes already-efficient industrial machinery, such as turbines and jet engines. They call this initiative the “1% Rule.” For example, in the traditional railway business, by optimizing route and fuel usage by 1%, companies can potentially yield about a $27 billion savings in ongoing costs over 15 years. Just by realizing a 1% efficiency gain, GE customers can make significant progress in reducing energy consumption and lowering costs.

If you apply that general theory to each industry they have large investments in, the extraordinary value GE can add to its customer enterprises across the board has the potential to deliver a pretty significant economic impact. To successfully achieve these optimizations, all of that sensor data and logging needs to be centered on an IT infrastructure that is close to public clouds, large scale storage, in-house processing, compute stacks and network interconnectivity. Equinix is the perfect place for all of that to come together with the maximum flexibility.

See our recent article on the industrial Internet and GE’s Predix PaaS Solution.

Equinix Sponsors Minds + Machines, GE’s Deep Look at the Industrial IoT

Follow our GSA Profile series by linking to these articles:

Luke Harrison: High Density Data Centers – Driving Efficiencies and Lowering Costs

Klaas Mertens: Taking the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) Out of Deploying Clouds in Germany

Bob Goban: Bringing Cloud Migration and WAN Optimization to the Financial Services Hub