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How to Solve for Digital Infrastructure in the IoT Era

The Internet of Things creates exponential data growth and complexity; enterprises must adjust their digital infrastructure accordingly

Ramchandra Koty
Vanjikumaran Sivajothy
How to Solve for Digital Infrastructure in the IoT Era

At the CES 2022 event in Las Vegas earlier this month, we saw how the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution is in full swing, across both consumer and industry use cases. Whether it’s smart home solutions like connected security cameras, video doorbells and smart lighting[1], self-driving cars[2] or health and fitness monitoring solutions[3], there were certainly a lot of groundbreaking IoT applications on display at CES this year. More importantly, CES demonstrated that IoT has finally transitioned from a random assortment of incompatible gadgets to a true plug-and-play ecosystem based on industry-wide connectivity standards.[4]

However, if we had to summarize the one key IoT takeaway from CES, it would be data growth. Across smart homes, smart manufacturing, smart cities and more, IoT applications are already creating tremendous volumes of data, and this trend will accelerate as IoT devices continue to proliferate. IDC estimates there will be 55.7 billion connected IoT devices (or “things”) by 2025, generating almost 80B zettabytes (ZB) of data.[5]

In this article, we’ll go into more detail about what IoT is, the platforms that support it, and how those platforms rely on next-generation digital infrastructure to handle the influx of data and effectively distribute it across the IoT ecosystem.

IoT Digital Edge Playbook

This playbook outlines how 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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IoT Playbook

What is the Internet of Things, and what role do IoT platforms play?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of connected devices that interact with other devices and the world around them via embedded technology. An IoT platform monitors and manages different IoT endpoints, often using business applications running on the platform. The platform can be deployed as either an on-premises software suite or a cloud-based Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering. IoT platforms generate massive volumes of data that must be transmitted, processed, integrated and stored beyond the connected “things” themselves.

IoT networks consist of billions of smart, connected devices capable of performing actions that help improve the quality of life for consumers and productivity for enterprises. This could include heart-monitoring implants that detect potential health issues and alert users in advance, refrigerators that remind us to order groceries, automobiles with built-in sensors to help avoid collisions, or any other object that can be assigned an IP address and exchange data over a network.

IoT growth is driving digital infrastructure demand

The sheer number of new IoT devices that will spring up across the globe over the next few years—and the massive volume of data they will create—will force enterprises to completely rethink their approach to digital infrastructure. Traditional, centralized IT architectures simply can’t provide the level of flexibility and scalability that modern IoT use cases demand. Specifically, organizations face five main challenges when it comes to managing IoT data growth and complexity:

  • Data gravity: IoT data is intermittent, granular, unstructured and unfiltered, making it more difficult to collect and manage than data from traditional sources.
  • Security: IoT devices are often the weak link in the cybersecurity chain. Attackers target them to gain access to enterprise networks, since they typically have limited built-in security capabilities.
  • Multicloud complexity: Heterogenous cloud-based analytics platforms typically don’t interact or share data seamlessly, making it difficult and time-consuming to extract insights from IoT data.
  • Scaling for exponential growth: IoT data growth has outstripped the available bandwidth of legacy systems, and trying to rearchitect those systems to increase capacity is untenable.
  • Monetization: New monetization opportunities for IoT arise quickly; if enterprises are building out new IoT services from scratch, they won’t be able to move quickly enough to capture those opportunities.
80B ZB

According to IDC, IoT devices will generate almost 80B ZB of data by 2025.

Instead of trying to adapt legacy siloed architectures for the IoT era, enterprises need an entirely new approach, one based on interconnected, distributed digital infrastructure that can scale on demand. They must bring together edge infrastructure that helps connected devices store and analyze data locally and core infrastructure such as cloud-adjacent colocation and interconnection facilities.

In addition, enterprises can’t tackle IoT working in a silo. They need a global ecosystem of partners offering digital services and network connectivity, and they need to be able to interconnect with those partners quickly and easily. Taken together, these three components of digital infrastructure—digital core, edge and ecosystems—can help solve the capacity, latency and business agility challenges of IoT use cases on a global scale.

Equinix helps unlock success in the IoT era

Platform Equinix® can help IoT platform providers access the distributed, scalable digital infrastructure they need, when and where they need it. In addition, our ecosystem of more than 3,000 cloud and IT service providers and 1,800 network service providers helps our customers easily interconnect with the services they need to overcome IoT challenges.

Equinix provides a rich set of APIs to help developers provision infrastructure at software speed using Infrastructure as Code (IaC) best practices. To streamline IoT application deployment, scale applications faster, reduce multicloud complexity, and limit risk and cost, Equinix also provides a complete reusable Terraform template[6] on top of our Equinix APIs. Customers can leverage Equinix APIs to completely automate the configuration and provisioning of their digital infrastructure, helping them quickly break through the limitations of legacy IT architectures and prepare for the IoT era.

If you’re planning to deploy customer-centric IoT solutions in your organization, schedule a consultation with one of our Global Solutions Architects (GSAs) today for expert advice on how to support IoT use cases with our complete product portfolio, including:

  • Equinix Fabric™, our software-defined interconnection solution.
  • Equinix Metal™, our automated, interconnected Bare Metal as a Service (BMaaS) solution.
  • IBX SmartView™, our fully integrated data center infrastructure monitoring (DCIM) software platform.
  • Network Edge, which provides on-demand virtual network services from leading providers.

Connect with a GSA today to get started, or check out our IoT playbook to learn more about the Equinix approach to IoT.

 

 

 

[1] The Verge, “All the smart home gadgets worth knowing about from CES 2022.” January 2022.

[2] IoT World Today, “CES 2022: Indy Challenge Features High-Speed, Self-Driving Race Cars.” Chuck Martin, January 2022.

[3] Popular Science, “Health and fitness gadgets from CES 2022.” Mike Epstein, January 2022.

[4] Forbes, “CES 2022: Matter and Thread Win The IoT Connectivity Wars.” Bill Curtis, January 2022.

[5] IDC Blog, “Future of Industry Ecosystems: Shared Data and Insights.” Jeffrey Hojlo, January 2021.

[6] Terraform Equinix provider on GitHub

Instead of trying to adapt legacy siloed architectures for the IoT era, enterprises need an entirely new approach, one based on interconnected, distributed digital infrastructure that can scale on demand.”
Ramchandra Koty
Ramchandra Koty Director of Engineering, Global IT
Vanjikumaran Sivajothy
Vanjikumaran Sivajothy Senior Engineering Manager, API & Developer Experience