Shorten the Distance to Drive Better Digital Business Performance

short-distance

Archimedes said, “The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.” In today’s world of digital business, we see more and more enterprises taking the straight, or more accurately, the “direct” line to deliver products and services to their customers.

Take the recent launch of Amazon’s Prime Air fleet of 40 Boeing 767 freight carrier planes, which supports Amazon’s vision of providing same-day delivery service to its customers. By leveraging its own independent air delivery fleet, along with enabling drone drops and building out more global distribution centers, Amazon is shortening the distance to its customers by taking a “straight line” to them via direct, private interconnection.

In a recent Recode article on the launch of Amazon Prime Air, Amazon SVP of Operations Dave Clark said, “You can almost think about the difference between commercial flight and private flight. We have the ability, with our own planes, to create connections between one point and another point that are exactly tailored to our needs, and exactly tailored to the timing of when we want to put packages on those routes – versus other peoples’ networks, which are optimized to run their entire network. We add capacity, we add flexibility and it gives us cost-control capability as well.”

Amazon Prime Air is a great illustration of why today’s businesses need to shorten the distance between their people, locations, clouds and data and their IT infrastructures to win in a global digital economy. As Amazon has figured out, connecting goods to those that need them in a straight line mitigates the forces that can slow down the speed, reliability and customized service that defines their business.

Apply this concept to legacy enterprise networks and for many businesses, the force typically slowing down communications is high latency. Latency causes traffic congestion, losses and delays ̶ especially when data is traveling out to the edge of the corporate network, where most users reside.

Because latency is determined by the distance your data has to travel from one point to another (typically over fiber optic cable) – it stands to reason that the shorter your cable, the faster your data will arrive at its destination.

For today’s high-transaction digital businesses, shortening the distance between two endpoints requires direct, proximate connections that deliver ultra-low latency, coming in at less than 20 milliseconds. Let’s take a look at how this plays out in the real-world:

Financial Services High-Frequency Trading

Some financial institutions leverage high-frequency trading (HFT) to gain a significant speed advantage over their competitors. HFT uses an automated, algorithmic trading platform that harnesses high-performance computers to transact huge numbers of trades at extremely fast speeds. In his book “Flash Boys: Cracking the Money Code,” author Michael Lewis describes how high-frequency traders installed a fast, straight line by laying “the shortest, and therefore straightest, possible fiber-optic cable between the Chicago exchange and the New York exchange based in New Jersey…” This direct connection reduced the round-trip travel time from Chicago to New Jersey to 13 milliseconds, and the first 200 high-frequency traders to use it paid out a combined $2.8 billion.

Internet of Things (IoT) Wireless Communications

Device-to-device, microwave and mobile wireless communications in IoT applications rely on sub-1 millisecond latency. For example, smart cities need ultra-low latency interconnection to activate the fast wireless connections between intelligent cameras and traffic command centers that improve urban traffic control. Healthcare providers can greatly improve patient outcomes if they are able to connect their smartphones to wireless sensors that update them on patient vital signs without delay. Manufacturing robots communicating wirelessly along an assembly line can speed products to market with fewer errors. These examples of the positive business impact of “shortening the distance” will continue to grow as, according to Gartner, 5.5 million new things get connected every day.

Download the Gartner report, “Colocation-Based Interconnection Will Serve as the ‘Glue’ for Advanced Digital Business Applications,” and learn how your digital business can gain a competitive advantage by shortening the distance to your people, locations, clouds and data.