Are We Connected for IoT?

Bill Long

What does it mean to be connected? Is it your Smartphone in your hand? An augmented reality helmet on your head? Or the wireless sensors that surround us everywhere we go? We now have multiple ways to be plugged into both the physical and virtual worlds. But would it surprise you to know that today’s businesses that bring you the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and those connected products, could be more connected to you as a consumer? Or to the IoT and digital supply chain partners that enable them to develop and distribute those connected devices on a worldwide basis?

Today’s businesses, regardless of the industry they are in, are going to need to step up their interconnection game to compete. Why? Because the demands for direct and secure interconnection to privately exchange information have increase exponentially to keep up with the accelerated data growth rate from connected things. Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data, according to IBM’s “10 Key Marketing Trends for 2017.” And, with new connected devices and technologies emerging, the rate at which we produce data will more than likely accelerate even faster over the next decade.

The IoT is driving connectivity to the edge

As digital transformation accelerates, key trends, such as greater technology use, urbanization, cybersecurity and data sovereignty, as identified in the Global Interconnection Index, a market study published by Equinix, are creating the need for real-time interaction and forcing digital services to the edge. Within all of these trends, the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT) industry is playing a huge role in increasing the significance of computing at the edge.

Gartner’s September 2017 research note by analyst Thomas J. Bittman, “Maverick* Research: The Edge Will Eat the Cloud,”[1] provides an interesting perspective into what’s happening. According to Bittman:

“The growth of the Internet of Things and the upcoming trend toward more immersive and interactive user interfaces will flip the center of gravity of data production and computing away from central data centers and out to the edge.”

We are seeing this phenomenon now in our global Equinix data centers. Increasingly, our customers are embracing IoT and digital technologies that require greater connectivity to people, locations, clouds, data and things out at the edge. In this accelerating IoT/digital business environment, businesses require new commerce and collaboration models to compete. They also need to manage IoT data, analytics and security, and enforce regulatory control locally. And given that IoT technologies and practices are still emerging and evolving, digital businesses and their supply chain partners will require a more flexible and agile interconnected IT infrastructure to react quickly to change.

This is one of the many reasons we are taking the next leap in the evolution of our global data center and interconnection platform through the direct physical and virtual connection of our International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers around the world.

A global interconnected platform for digital business

By interconnecting our global IBX data centers, we are enabling our customers to reach everywhere, interconnect everyone and integrate everything. The Equinix Cloud Exchange™ (ECX) Fabric, formerly known as the Equinix Cloud Exchange, provides them with a global interconnected platform for digital business. It leverages the software-defined networking (SDN) capabilities, currently built into the ECX, to enable any customer to dynamically connect its own infrastructure across our more than 190 IBX data center locations or connect to any other customer on the Equinix global platform, regardless of location. This includes gaining access to our vibrant business and digital ecosystems, which include network, cloud and content providers and businesses in the financial services, media and entertainment, online advertising industries, and a growing IoT ecosystem.

Our customers can now customize their connectivity to partners, customers and suppliers through an interface that provides all the benefits companies have come to expect from “as-a-service” models. This includes real-time provisioning via a portal or API, pay-as-you-go billing increments and the removal of friction in establishing elastic connectivity between metros. This is exactly the type of flexible and scalable interconnection platform we see IoT and digital businesses needing to succeed today and well into the future.

Take an interconnection-first approach to the IoT and digital

To simplify and facilitate the expansion of our customers’ IoT and digital business presence worldwide, Platform Equinix provides the solutions and services they need to leverage an interconnection-first strategy that takes centralized, constrained and inefficient siloed business/IT infrastructures and re-architects them into a more distributed, scalable and effective digital business platform (see diagram below).

This approach allows you to reach every destination you need to on demand, access everyone that matters and bring things together in previously impossible ways on a single, global interconnected platform. The ECX Fabric on Platform Equinix enables you to more quickly and cost-effectively access the largest interconnected ecosystem of enterprises, suppliers, clouds, networks and IT providers to achieve the differentiated advantages you need to scale and expand your digital business at the edge.

Our customers are taking this interconnection-first approach by deploying an Interconnection Oriented Architecture (IOA) strategy -a proven and repeatable architectural framework to directly and securely interconnect people, locations, clouds, data and things. Our IOA Playbook and IOA Knowledge Base provides companies with the blueprints and design patterns necessary to scale networking, security, data and applications for digital business at the digital edge, as well as implement IoT infrastructures.

Build here, go anywhere

We believe that in this fast-forward IoT and digital world, your business possibilities have no limits and neither should your IT. When you deploy your digital infrastructure everywhere, you can connect to everyone that matters and securely scale the integration of your business at the digital edge.

Check out Gartner’s “Maverick Research: The Edge Will Eat the Cloud” and the learn more about our Platform Equinix Vision.

[1] Maverick* Research: The Edge Will Eat the Cloud, 22 September 2017, ID: G00338633.