Intelligence at the Digital Edge

Why Asia-Pacific is leading the IoT charge to the Edge

Eric Hui

Most of us will have heard about the internet of things (IoT), which refers to the creation of a network that connects physical objects embedded with sensors and enables these objects to collect and exchange data. With IoT proving to be a key focus for companies and governments throughout the world, as a region there is nowhere that exemplifies IoT in action more than Asia-Pacific.

According to the latest IDC Worldwide Semiannual Internet of Things Spending Guide,1 Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) is projected to be the global leader in IoT spending in 2019, accounting for approximately 36.9% of worldwide spending.

So why is Asia so far ahead? It’s mainly due to the region’s potent mix of government advocacy, manufacturing roots and R&D know-how. Our previous blog series highlighted that Asia-Pacific is ahead when it comes to Smart City rollout, with a staggering $63.4 billion earmarked for investment in Smart City technology in the region. As the backbone of smart cities, IoT is a key focus area for development in the region.

Unsurprisingly, markets in Asia-Pacific are investing heavily in research and development to support the rollout of IoT. Various governments in the region, e.g. Hong Kong and Australia, are earmarking substantial amounts to build out accelerators and innovation hubs. Meanwhile, Asia-Pacific’s longstanding roots as a manufacturing hotbed have caused the region to witness the rollout of IoT firsthand in its production lines and factories, showcasing efficiencies and vertical integrations.

Moving to the edge for IoT success

As the IoT market matures and companies seek to derive value from it, new considerations and best practices are emerging. IoT relies on a highly distributed network capturing data. This data needs to be analyzed in real time as it can rapidly lose value over time. This leaves enterprises facing the same question: How can I process data while the intrinsic value is still high?

In order to do this, analysis needs to happen at the ingestion point, on the network edge. The laws of physics and latency dictate that, given the complex processing and speedy responses required by IoT, analysis is best done in close proximity to devices. By building out an IoT environment which includes edge architecture, enterprises can factor in filtering, processing and analytics closer to both the input devices and end users. Not only will this help with faster analysis and better predictive models, but it also enables the optimization of network costs and can improve application performance.

Interconnection Oriented Architecture® (IOA®) best practices enable this kind of real-time, secure interaction between people, locations, clouds, data and things to connect all these dots at the digital edge, close to where everything resides.

Early generation IoT relied on a device gateway to offer limited control and communication between sensors and IoT networks. The resulting latency and bandwidth restrictions resulted in a response time that was tremendously longer than the 5 milliseconds required by to be considered “real time.” By adopting edge processing, enterprises can fill these crucial gaps, filtering data to reduce the quantity that needs to be transferred and gaining greater control of devices and services.

Combining an IOA approach with distributed exchange points allows connected device makers to meet, collaborate and innovate with partner ecosystems via direct and secure interconnection. That makes it easier than ever before to scale operations, optimize supply chains and deliver on the promises of IoT.

The edge is already delivering IoT success

With more than 9,800 customers worldwide, Equinix has built up the expertise, tools and best practices to help any company customize and drive its digital edge strategy forward.

Asia-Pacific-based ride hailing services such as PickMe are challenged with increasing volumes of data from multiple sources at the edge. Data management services provider, Iguazio, empowers these companies to manage their data intelligently and gain actionable insights for better efficiency and revenue growth. By partnering with Equinix, Iguazio now has the freedom to work with multiple service providers, on-premises, in the cloud or as a hybrid architecture out at the edge, anywhere in the world. For PickMe, this has meant the ability to build a powerful matching engine that combines application, passenger and driver data at the edge to support with real-time rate adjustments.

In the manufacturing sector, Equinix works with certain enterprises to architect dual edges—one internal and one external. The external edge processes external government, weather and holiday information, which, when combined with value chain data, can help optimize pricing and inventory decisions and get products to market faster, especially during seasonal peaks. Meanwhile, internal analytics from Industrial internet of things (IIoT) sensors, distributed across manufacturing components, enable predictive maintenance and the ability to repair issues before they negatively impact the manufacturing process and end-user experience. By embracing an IOA approach, manufacturers can optimize their architecture across multiple edges and focus distribution to support with both internal analysis for improvements and external analysis for their end users and customers.

Ultimately, successful IoT initiatives will rely heavily on interconnection, requiring digital infrastructures that can physically link dispersed sensors, devices and machines that make up public systems, services and experiences, so they can exchange information in real time.

IoT deployments can involve interactions between more than a dozen players across a single or even multiple ecosystems. Making these complex IoT ecosystems work together intelligently requires a foundation of direct and secure interconnection that can deliver the performance, scalability and security required to build a smarter world.

1-     IDC, Worlwide Semiannual Internet of Things Spending Guide https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=IDC_P29475

 

 

 

 

Eric Hui
Eric Hui Director Business Development - IoT Ecosystems, Asia Pacific