Most industries are facing digital transformation imperatives, but perhaps none of them are as pressing or complex as that of travel and transportation. To say the least, the past two years have been chaotic for the industry, starting with a near-total shutdown in early 2020 and continuing through a promising yet uneven recovery in 2021. Even today, business and international travel have a long way to go to normalize: a Deloitte Corporate Travel Survey found that only 54% of companies expect their business travel spending to return to 2019 levels by the end of 2022.
Industry leaders can’t control fluctuating demand, but they can control the digital infrastructure that helps them adapt to change. As companies continue to welcome customers back—many of whom are traveling for the first time in over two years—it’s essential they give those customers the best, most responsive experience possible. Travel and transportation companies can achieve this by deploying digital infrastructure at the edge to get closer to more customers in more places. With this in mind, it is no surprise the Global Interconnection Index Volume 5 found that the industries hardest hit by the pandemic, including transportation, are now experiencing the fastest digital infrastructure growth.
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Better digital infrastructure supports a better passenger experience
It’s important to remember that transportation infrastructure such as airports, train stations and ports are just as much a part of the geographic footprint of a company, as their back offices and call centers. These locations are the primary point of interaction between transportation companies and their passengers, so it only makes sense to deploy edge infrastructure to help make those interactions as smooth as possible.
This is particularly important in the case of customer service. Passengers that reach out to customer service are doing so because they’re already having a bad experience, such as a delayed trip or lost luggage. For this reason, it’s essential for representatives to respond to passengers’ concerns as quickly and helpfully as possible. Increasingly, customer service interactions tend to happen via chat applications. These apps require extremely low latency to help passengers send and receive chat messages in real time. The only way to ensure this is by deploying edge infrastructure near passengers, thus ensuring traffic doesn’t have to travel far to reach them.
An Equinix travel customer drives higher performance and cost savings
Equinix is currently helping one customer, a major transportation provider, build out its distributed infrastructure across the United States. The customer’s relationship with Equinix predates the pandemic. Although the benefits of better performance in more places and increased cost efficiency were clear before, they’ve taken on greater importance in light of everything that has transpired since.
The customer first worked with Equinix to move infrastructure from private data centers near its headquarters into Equinix colocation facilities in the same city. This move helped the company increase cost efficiency and flexibility, and place on-premises infrastructure adjacent to cloud services.
From the early days, it was clear the true value of working with Equinix would come from scaling the solution, rather than deploying only in their home city. Equinix went on to host a Cloud-Optimized WAN workshop for the customer, which involved collaboratively designing the ideal architecture for the customer’s business needs. Equinix then presented the results, showing the customer a distributed digital infrastructure that would pass traffic through centrally located Equinix regional data center hubs, thus enabling low-latency connections between hundreds of locations across the U.S.
Using Equinix Fabric™, the customer is able to tap into a dense ecosystem of thousands of different service providers, interconnecting with its chosen partners quickly and easily. The customer can use software-defined interconnection functionality from Equinix Fabric to lower latency, increase scalability and business agility, and reduce security threats—all of which were key concerns heading into the project.
Crucially, we were able to help the customer see that not only would the distributed digital infrastructure meet their needs around lower latency and higher performance, but it would do so in a way that kept costs low. Longer connections between customer locations and core data centers inevitably lead to higher costs and latency. By giving the customer access to data centers in many metros across the U.S., Equinix helps keep those connections short, and therefore keep both latency and costs down.
When complete, the Equinix-designed architecture will help every location the customer services connect into the regional Equinix hub closest to it. The end result will be lower latency across the customer’s entire U.S. footprint, greater performance and cost efficiency for key cloud and network services, and a better overall passenger experience—at a time when ensuring a good experience is more important than ever.
Learn how the Equinix approach to distributed infrastructure can be applied across industries
We have discussed the importance of investing in modernized, distributed digital infrastructure for the travel and transportation industry, and how one Equinix customer successfully did so. However, the lessons learned from this customer’s experience can be applied to any industry that depends on many geographically dispersed locations.
Platform Equinix® is unique because it includes Equinix IBX® data centers in more than 65 metros across the world, allowing businesses to deploy infrastructure wherever it best suits their strategy. In addition, Equinix Fabric can help businesses do private, secure interconnection on a global basis, allowing them to scale hybrid deployments wherever they’re needed in a matter of minutes.
To learn more about software-defined interconnection from Equinix Fabric and how it can help any distributed business get closer to its customers—no matter where those customers are—download the Equinix Fabric data sheet today.