The digital economy is booming and global enterprises are generating massive amounts of data from transactions, machines, and social media. With this, the use of Big Data is now becoming the focus for many industry leaders as businesses start to recognize the value that lies in the data they’re holding. Along with cloud and colocation making it easier than ever to securely store large volumes, and with Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) advancing by the day, the time is now for companies to start making the absolute most of their data.
Of course, it’s not that easy. In order to harness Big Data, enterprises require the technologies and strategies to understand it, process it, and analyze it. So, where do they begin? Here, we get insights from Omer Wilson, Head of Marketing APAC for Digital Realty, a leading global provider of data center, colocation, and interconnection solutions.
Omer sheds light on how industry heavy-weights are supporting the proliferation of data, and its management, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, and discusses how enterprises can effectively unlock the benefits of the excessive data volumes that are being generated by a growing digital landscape.
Coming to grips with the Asia-Pacific market
The demand and growth in the colocation and connectivity market in Asia Pacific has undeniably shifted in the last twelve months, particularly as the events of 2020 have prompted many challenges and opportunities for different verticals in this region.
“Providers of digital technologies and data centers are commenting that the pandemic is enabling industry growth, because the need for technology, communication, and connectivity is at the fore,” says Wilson. “However, this doesn’t mean we are immune to the global economic direction,” he says.
While the demand for airlines, tourism, and leisure has been hurting in recent months, and is expected to continue on this downward trend as the pandemic progresses, the region is experiencing major growth in other verticals including the digital and virtual industries. The eGaming and eSports markets are in full force, according to Wilson, which is seeing companies like Razer and Garena rise as big names coming out of Asia.
The financial services sector is another big driver in Asia currently, as well as manufacturing, shipping, and logistics. Wilson anticipates that we’ll see a big impact on supply chains which will prompt an even greater increase in demand across these verticals.
The region’s core markets are on the road to recovery after the year that’s been, and they’re expected to grow aggressively in 2021 and beyond. “The traditional hubs like Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Sydney are all experiencing strong growth which will continue into next year,” Wilson says, adding that other metros including Osaka, Jakarta, Seoul, and Indian markets like Mumbai and Chennai, will be the ones to watch.
With almost three billion people still not connected to the Internet across the world, two-thirds of which being in Asia, Wilson believes that Jakarta, Mumbai, and Chennai will lead the charge in empowering emerging markets with connectivity, while he anticipates that local markets like Indonesia and India will require huge investment in order to capture such pent up demand.
All in all, it’s been an interesting year for colocation and connectivity in this region, but the demand for digital technologies, and the proliferation of data, remains strong as related verticals and growing markets push to the forefront of the economy.
Supporting the proliferation of data
In a world that is more connected and digitally-competent than ever, the volume and exchange of data is rapidly increasing. Mentioned in Digital Realty’s Data Gravity Index (DGX) which we explored in a recent blog post, this proliferation of data is being driven largely by the impact of mergers and acquisitions, digitally-enabled interactions, and the stewardship of enterprise data.
Service providers, like Digital Realty, have identified the potential in Big Data and how it can be utilized by the businesses who possess it, so they are looking at how best to support this process that is quickly becoming an important strategy for decision-makers.
Wilson notes that Digital Realty has shifted to a more network-driven infrastructure to facilitate the proliferation of data that’s being generated by the growing digital economy. The global provider is focussing on their Software Defined Network product, Service Exchange, to enable dedicated access to data center facilities, the cloud, and valuable analytics applications. Wilson says this is allowing customers to quickly reach Digital Realty locations across the globe, achieve hybrid cloud strategies, and use cloud services in a secure way.
The company is also shifting their focus to their suite of solutions around metroconnect, while connecting metro-to-metro, and within cities, is becoming key to enabling the movement of data more rapidly, according to Wilson.
The DGX identifies that there are specific metro pairs which present flows between each other that directly increase their Data Gravity Intensity both within their metro and with their high attraction between metros. Pairs of significance in the APAC region include Beijing and Shanghai, and Hong Kong and Tokyo, which are both projected to feature in the Top 10 metro-to-metro connections by 2024.
Digital Realty anticipates this shift in importance towards digitally-enabled interactions across global enterprises to increase data exchange volumes exponentially.
Building out their suite of offerings has also been top of mind for Digital Realty, who are concentrating their efforts on offering not just scale products, but retail colocation products, too. In Asia, the company has launched retail colocation in Osaka, and are planning to do the same in Singapore next year.
“We’re catering not just for the large footprints, but also for any enterprise that just needs a few racks,” Wilson says. “We want to provide an end-to-end offering that will enable small-to medium-sized enterprises to gain more value out of their data.”
Strategies for managing and maximizing data
Wilson is certain that data will become the center of what enterprises need moving forward in order to thrive and remain competitive. “Every company will become a digital data company; every company has to become a digital data company,” he says, because “...if you’re not acting on the data you have, you’re going to get left behind.”
For companies wanting to capture this Big Data opportunity, there are key strategies that enterprises can undertake to understand, manage, and maximize the potential of their collected data.
For one, having the right infrastructure in place is mission critical. Ensuring that the correct networks are used to enable sufficient access and interconnection is highly important, as is taking a connected community approach, according to Wilson. “Ultimately, utilizing an underlying data-centric architecture structure will continue to be key,” he says.
Another strategy that is proving to be crucial in getting the most out of your data, is having the right analytics solution for your business. No matter their size, companies can access compute power much easier than ever before, and they can expand in the cloud without having to purchase excess physical infrastructure, which allows them to access and store large volumes of data, with ease. However, “...as companies collect this data, it’s all about making sure they have the right analytics in place,” Wilson says, as this is what will drive algorithms and enable companies to provide a more tailored offering.
The Machine Learning we are seeing enterprises adopt more and more is fuelled by the data that is being applied to it. “The ability to generate proper AI from this now that these technologies are moving into different sectors, is key,” Wilson says, and this all comes from having the right data in the right places.
The AI sector is being driven by the giants that are Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Tencent, Baidu, Apple, and Amazon - not because of their size, but because of the tremendous amount of data they currently have. Wilson, and many other industry leaders, understand that the underlying data these companies possess has been fundamental to their success, and that analyzing the data they aggregate will be the defining factor for enterprises as they grow. “Those that can access, optimize, and work on the analytics of their customers’ data are the ones that will flourish in this digital era,” Wilson says.
As the digital landscape continues to expand, so too will the adoption of analytics and enterprise strategies to manage excessive data loads. In this space, the Asia-Pacific market will surely grow as its traditionally smaller metros start to flourish, while the Machine Learning and AI sector will surely advance as more managed data continues to fuel it.
Contributor: Omer Wilson, Vice President of Marketing – Asia Pacific, Digital Realty
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Omer Wilson is Vice President of Marketing for Digital Realty across Asia Pacific. He joined Digital Realty in 2011 at the Company's regional headquarters in London as Director of Marketing for EMEA.
Prior to joining Digital Realty, Omer was Head of Corporate Solutions Marketing for Jones Lang LaSalle across EMEA, based in London. In that role, Omer was responsible for leading the organization's go-to-market activities and driving the strategy for competitive bid responses.
Omer is a regular Keynote Speaker at Industry Events across the globe, focusing on Technology, Data Infrastructure, Marketing Trends and Futurist themes, and has held a number of Marketing Leadership and Product Development roles within the IT, Consulting, Real Estate & Media industries.
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