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The key role of colocation data centres in powering IoT

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The rapid rise of 5G networks, cloud computing and automated technologies has changed the way we all do business. Ushering in the age of the Internet of Things (IoT), these advancements have enabled organisations to cultivate innovation by connecting devices across diverse local and global networks.

It comes as no surprise that so many businesses are jumping on the IoT train. The technology seamlessly connects our ‘real’ world to the digital sphere, leading to improved customer experiences, streamlined processes and greater operational efficiencies. In fact, research by McKinsey has found that the Internet of Things could unlock between $5.5 trillion and $12.6 trillion in global economic value by 2030.

However, capturing the true value of IoT implementation isn’t a given for any business. First, they must ensure that the right infrastructure foundations are in place. This involves modernising legacy IT infrastructures and migrating systems to the cloud, so that organisations can fully leverage an ever-growing variety of connected devices and IoT applications. 

The value is in the data

Having low cost and low latency application performance is imperative with IoT-driven businesses – but this can be challenging to achieve. The most powerful IoT applications need to be built upon a robust infrastructural foundation, enabling them to ingest enormous volumes of data in real-time. Furthermore, businesses must secure enough bandwidth to bring big data for analysis, utilising it for much more efficient decision-making. This capability will become even more critical as IoT data processing is increasingly pushed to the edge.

IoT implementation is a complex and individual process that currently faces two key obstacles. Legacy systems, which often lack scalability and flexibility, are a persistent barrier for organisations, as products built and installed over a decade ago are unlikely to have the agility needed to process, store and analyse huge volumes of unstructured data. At the same time, current shortages in competence to fully engage the business with IoT technology presents its own set of challenges.

Clearly, there are gaps in the IoT landscape that need to be filled. This is why today’s data centre colocation providers are best equipped to deliver a broad spectrum of IoT solutions to meet a plurality of needs. They can offer a cost-effective means for managing, storing and organising big data and low-cost connectivity, as well as providing the expertise needed to guide businesses through the implementation step-by-step.

The changing face of colocation

Colocation data centres effectively serve the IoT framework and help businesses realise the unique requirements and tangible benefits IoT can bring to them. In practical terms, colocation can both enable and facilitate the connections needed to support IoT, while ensuring the highest levels of protection against increasingly common and sophisticated cyber threats. 

More generally, the role of colocation is changing. It is rapidly becoming the most efficient and flexible means to manage and analyse the enormous amounts of IoT sensor data for factories, supply chains, power grids, distributed products and even cities. Smart cities have now moved beyond the point of speculation in ways that integrate utilities, services, security, transportation and much more – all under the IoT banner. And it is colocation providers that are leading the way towards making that a reality in major cities around the world.

For most businesses that have implemented IoT within their business model, network connectivity will continue to require expansion. This involves developing an interconnected mesh of both international and regional access hubs that can further hybrid cloud strategy benefits through colocation networking. The goal is to deliver data across the shortest path from point A to point B with the most cost-effective connectivity charges.

The right colocation data centre provider will empower organisations to push their resources out to the edge and essentially bring the data centre to their customers through the cloud and IoT innovations. This will become increasingly critical to business success in years to come. As the vast majority of IoT platforms and applications today are already ‘as-a-Service’ and ‘cloud first’, any business keen to tap into the benefits of scale will first need to move their data into the cloud. This is because of the sheer abundance of IoT platforms and application providers operating today – something that is only set to rise.

Businesses can then draw on the capability of trusted colocation providers, not only to access storage and compute capabilities in the cloud, but also to capitalise on ‘anytime, anywhere’ interconnectivity to the as-a-service providers. This provides them with a golden opportunity to achieve the scale needed to bring together the digital and physical worlds and create long-lasting business value with IoT.

Picture of Bo Ribbing
Bo Ribbing
Senior Director & Head of IoT for KDDI Europe

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