Charting a Secure Path to the Interconnection of Things

How interconnection provides the performance, scalability, and security required for advanced IoT use cases

Henrik Nieminen

The steady progress of industrial automation and the rise of digital technologies is accelerating the implementation of advanced use cases based on the internet of things (IoT). With the convergence of 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), and software-defined everything, applications that may have once been science fiction are quickly becoming a reality across many sectors. Examples include:

  • Manufacturing: remote maintenance and repairs, connected supply chain, factory automation and robotics
  • Healthcare: remote assisted surgery/diagnoses, personalized medical care, health monitoring
  • Agriculture: remote moisture sensing, disease identification and weather tracking
  • Entertainment: immersive reality experiences and real-time gaming, streaming video
  • Retail: AR/VR and personalized shopping experiences
  • Smart cities: smarter transportation, emergency response, remote monitoring (infrastructure, environment), disaster recovery
  • Transportation: self-driving cars + vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications, autonomous fleet conveying

Companies looking to take advantage of this trend need to understand the limitations of their current infrastructure and develop a strategy for getting to the next level. Traditional, centralized IT infrastructure can’t effectively integrate or scale distributed IoT capabilities. By interconnecting IoT systems and controls at the digital edge, closest to users, assets and applications, companies can gain the performance, security and scalability needed to generate value as an IoT-enabled business.

Internet of Things - Digital Edge Playbook

Internet of Things (IoT) platforms can be deployed by businesses to enhance operations and user experience. Placing distributed IoT solutions at the digital edge and interconnecting them to digital technologies accelerates the production of more accurate insights.

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Internet vs interconnection of things

Today, many organizations connect physical things over the internet via isolated implementations to support specific use cases, such as a smart building or autonomous vehicle. Even if that entails some form of a dedicated network for security, it often means creating a separate, private intranet of things for each use case. However, many enterprise IoT use cases depend on linking multiple isolated projects to build an efficient, responsive digital ecosystem capable of supporting real-time interactions, analytics and machine learning (ML) at the edge. Equally important, these ecosystems must ensure data security to support regulatory requirements and protect privacy.

In Equinix parlance, this translates to a flexible, reliable and secure “interconnection of things” platform.  And I’m very excited to see how companies like Swedish network provider Tele2 IoT are taking advantage of Equinix Fabric™ on Platform Equinix® to make this possible.

Scaling digital infrastructure for enterprise IoT requirements

In a typical IoT implementation, organizations work with different vendors to roll out separate projects –factory automation, traffic control, V2X communications etc. Each of these initiatives may rely on different networks and clouds that can’t easily be integrated with other vendor solutions. Moreover, project-specific connectivity solutions such as Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) wide area networks (WANs) don’t scale easily, resulting in inefficient processing, delayed insights and limited market agility. This type of infrastructure also lacks visibility and control across multiple projects.

Building an effective and efficient IoT digital infrastructure that can overcome limitations like these means taking multiple domains into consideration. These include:

  1. Wireless Domain: Analyze and prune real-time streaming data and insights at the distributed edge. Consider the bandwidth and transport costs needed for data transfer.
  2. On-premises Domain: Aggregate and organize data from on-premises and the distributed edge. Sensitive and private data must be protected across locations, networks and clouds.
  3. Distributed Data Domain: Applications and databases must be distributed to ensure consistency, performance and quality of experience (QoS) at the edge.
  4. Application Exchange Domain: Highly interactive applications, such as augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) require low latency to ensure responsiveness and an immersive experience.
  5. Hybrid Multicloud Domain: For data sets too large to effectively move, consider tradeoffs between bandwidth, latency and time. To utilize best of breed cloud applications, efficient connectivity to multiple cloud service providers is essential.
  6. Ecosystem Domain: Digital infrastructure must easily and cost-effectively scale to support ever greater amounts of data, often exchanged between partners. Consider the cost and time requirements of consistent data distribution not solved by traditional WAN technology.

Interconnection services, such as those found on Platform Equinix, enable private access to cloud, IT, network providers and other industry ecosystems at the digital edge. This allows businesses to integrate IoT capabilities and deploy IoT strategies faster, driving greater operational and customer value.

Sweden’s Tele2 IoT creates a foundation for global interconnection on Platform Equinix

Demonstrating the importance of secure interconnection, Swedish network provider Tele2 IoT recently launched a new IoT security product, Private Interconnect, which takes advantage of Platform Equinix. Private Interconnect allows Tele2 IoT customers to move their data to their own dedicated fiber connections via Equinix Fabric software-defined interconnection. By leveraging Equinix Fabric, Tele2 IoT Private Interconnect bypasses the enterprise security risks inherent in the public internet, achieving more secure and predictable performance. It also simplifies private connectivity between partners, providers and users of IoT ecosystems, enabling enterprises to establish private connections from anywhere in the world in a matter of minutes.

Adding Private Interconnect to our 2ACCESS[i] family completes our solution, making it relevant for customers where security really matters. Working in partnership with the best vendor of interconnection services makes our portfolio stronger, and we know customers are demanding this.” Cyril Deschanel, CEO, Tele2 IoT[ii]

Source: Tele2 IoT

With Platform Equinix, service providers and enterprises can securely interconnect IoT digital infrastructure across more than 220 Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers in 63 markets on 5 continents. Interconnection services on Platform Equinix enable IoT use case designers to establish private access for data exchange to a digital ecosystem of ~10,000 companies, including 1,800+ network services providers, 2,900+ cloud and IT services providers, 1,250+ financial services firms and more.

Download the Internet of Things Digital Edge Playbook to learn how to fast-track your digital advantage by integrating and deploying IoT capabilities faster – anytime, anywhere.

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[i] Tele2 IoT, 2ACCESS product page.

[ii] Equinix, Tele2 IoT Launches Cybersecurity Product on Platform Equinix®, Feb 2021.

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Henrik Nieminen Global Principal Solution Architect
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