Despite Political Uncertainty, London’s Digital Growth Shows No Signs of Slowing as Capital Accounts For Over 35% of Interconnection Bandwidth Growth in Europe
Digital transformation is accelerating for every company in every industry, everywhere around the world.
As a part of this necessary transition, people, software and machines are creating and consuming data faster and in more distributed locations than ever before, creating dissonance and driving businesses to private and direct Interconnection to solve their complex integration challenges.
According to the second annual Global Interconnection Index (the “GXI”), a market study published by Equinix that analyses traffic exchange globally, Interconnection, or direct and private traffic exchange between key business partners, is becoming the defacto method for companies to operate in today’s digital world. Interconnection Bandwidth provisioned for this purpose is forecasted to grow by 2021 to 8,200+ Terabits per second (Tbps) of capacity, or the equivalent of 33 Zettabytes (ZB) of data exchange per year, a dramatic increase over the previous year’s projection and ten times the projected capacity of internet traffic1. This represents a significant five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 48%, almost double the expected 26% CAGR of global IP Traffic.
The second annual GXI reveals that Europe is projected to lose its second space spot behind America to Asia. Although Europe’s Interconnection Bandwidth is still growing fast (48% CAGR) and expected to contribute to 23% of Interconnection Bandwidth globally by 2021, Asia is not only projected to overtake Europe, contributing to 27% of global Interconnection Bandwidth, but will grow faster at 51% CAGR. America still holds the top spot, and is projected to have the largest capacity for Interconnection Bandwidth globally, contributing to more than 40% of global Interconnection Bandwidth by 2021. Latin America is on track to be the fastest growing market, with a CAGR of 59%.
Across Europe, Interconnection Bandwidth in London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Paris are expected to outgrow other European markets by at least 10% CAGR. Frankfurt and Amsterdam are both projected to outpace London in terms of growth. London’s Interconnection Bandwidth will grow by 52% CAGR, Frankfurt by 58% and Amsterdam by 57%. The wholesale and retail trade sectors are expected to have the fastest growing Interconnection Bandwidth in Europe (75% CAGR). The securities and trading sectors, along with healthcare and life sciences, will have the joint second fastest growing (69% CAGR). Both the business and professional services industries, and banking and insurance industries, are projected to grow rapidly, with 65% and 66% CAGR of Interconnection Bandwidth respectively.
“Significant macro, technology and regulatory trends are converging to form an unprecedented era of complexity and risk and forcing the integration of physical and digital worlds,” said Sara Baack, Chief Marketing Officer for Equinix, Inc. “The second volume of the Global Interconnection Index has found that companies are solving their increasing digital requirements by directly connecting to key business partners through Interconnection, as traditional forms of connectivity do not meet the demanding requirements of today’s businesses.”
“Despite Brexit and political uncertainty in the UK, the GXI reveals that London is projected to show strong growth, accounting for more than 35% of Europe’s Interconnection Bandwidth growth,” states Russell Poole, Managing Director UK at Equinix, Inc. “London’s digital acceleration shows that post-Brexit, Interconnection Bandwidth continues to be driven by the secular growth of global data traffic and the massive shift in IT to support this data explosion. Equinix’s 12 data centres across the UK and the recent expansion of Equinix’s LD4 data centre in Slough, is an example of the continued investment and growth in London’s digital sector.”
Some of the key macroeconomic, technology and regulatory trends that have driven Interconnection growth in the past year and will impact its future growth include:
- Digital Business Transformation, which drives the need to support real-time interactions between people, things, locations, clouds and data to enable value capture. At least 50% of global GDP will be digitised by 2021, with growth in every industry driven by digitally enhanced offerings, operations and relationships2.
- Cybersecurity Risk, which expands Interconnection consumption as firms increasingly shift to private data traffic exchange to bypass the public internet and mitigate against digital threats as data is distributed across a growing number of vulnerability points. Large-scale cybersecurity breaches are one of the most serious risks facing the world today, and the scale of the threat is expanding drastically. By 2021, the global cost of cybersecurity breaches is projected to reach US$6 trillion3.
- Business Ecosystems, which are experiencing an increase in mix of customers, partners and employees and require digital ecosystems and Interconnection to scale. By 2021, organisations using a mix of intermediaries are projected to more than double, and active engagement with industries outside the organisation’s native industry are projected to nearly triple4.
In a separate independent study commissioned by Equinix of 133 senior IT professionals across the UK, over three quarters (77%) of senior IT professionals believe that as the public internet becomes more saturated, Interconnection is key to digital business success. Despite Brexit, 64% of the senior IT decision-makers surveyed think that due to the flourishing data centre industry in the UK, the UK is still the best place in Europe to Interconnect with partners, customers, supply chain and cloud service providers.
To capture digital value, companies will need to support real-time interactions by more strategically interconnecting the workflows across people, things, locations, cloud and data. The second volume of the GXI identifies four classes of Interconnection use cases5 along with an IT maturity model. Adopted in combination, these use cases create a digital-ready infrastructure for today’s businesses:
- Network Optimisation to shorten the distance between users and services applications.
- Hybrid Multicloud to connect and segment traffic between multiple clouds and private infrastructure.
- Distributed Security to deploy and interconnect security controls at points of digital engagement.
- Distributed Data to deploy and interconnect data analytics in proximity to users.
“The explosive global demand for streaming video content, has meant that Content Delivery Management (CDM) companies have had to turn to cloud in order to survive” said Ben Foakes, Managing Director at BASE Media Cloud. “And as cloud becomes a vital component to the media and entertainment industry, so does Interconnection. BASE Media Cloud and its customers will only be able to meet this rapidly increasing demand for video data by leveraging Interconnection. This year’s GXI highlights the importance of our relationship with Equinix, as by 2021 Interconnection Bandwidth among CDM companies is set to increase at a 41% CAGR.”
Highlights/ Key Facts
- The GXI provides significant insight into regional differences in how growth in Interconnection Bandwidth is accelerating in different regions of the world.
- United States: As an early adoption market for digital business and the headquarters for the largest number of multinational enterprises, the United States is expected to see compound growth of 45% per annum, contributing more than 40% of Interconnection Bandwidth globally.
- Europe: A growing number of regulations requiring data compliance is serving as a catalyst of growth for Europe, which is predicted to grow 48% per annum, contributing to 23% of Interconnection Bandwidth globally.
- Asia-Pacific: Benefiting from rapid urbanisation and home to many of the largest digital content providers, Asia-Pacific is anticipated to grow 51% per annum, contributing more than 27% of Interconnection Bandwidth globally.
- Latin America: Emerging market dynamics and growing digital business adoption positions Latin America for expected 59% per annum growth, contributing more than 9% of Interconnection Bandwidth globally.
- The GXI also forecasts Interconnection Bandwidth growth by counterparty categories, estimating the Interconnection behavior of each. Surpassing all other categories, Interconnection between Enterprises and Cloud and IT Providers is projected to grow 98% per annum through 2021, supporting businesses building out new digital services and migrating existing workloads to third-party cloud platforms.
Industry Perspectives on the Global Interconnection Index
- Eric Hanselman, Chief Analyst at 451 Research
“As enterprises chart their paths to greater digitisation, they seek pathways that avoid the turbulence generated by the growing complexity of integrating various digital services. New architectures anchored by Interconnection smooth this complexity and, increasingly, enterprises are finding that they also yield improvements in security, performance and capacity. Equinix’s Global Interconnection Index provides useful insight into these digital trends including why businesses are directly connecting with strategic partners to build their digital business ecosystems.”
- Christopher Purves, Head of Strategic Development Lab at UBS
“The majority of FX Spot trading is already electronic, and we see the ratio of digital business increasing at pace across other asset classes. Maintaining low latency is critical to our digital business, with fast, reliable networks provided by Interconnection forming a core part of that mission.”
- David Hicks, Vice President of WW, ISV, OEM and Java Business Development at Oracle:
“As enterprises increasingly adopt hybrid cloud architectures to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives, Interconnection is a proven design strategy for reaching cloud services such as Oracle Cloud Infrastructure in an efficient manner. Direct and private interconnection to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure FastConnect network connectivity platform helps provide predictable and consistent performance, isolation and availability.”
How to use data to protect and power your business
By Dave Parker, Group Head of Data Governance, Arrow Global
Employees need to access data to do their jobs. But as data governance professionals, it’s our job to protect it. Therefore, we must perform a fine balancing act to weigh robust data protection against the productivity of workers who need the data to maintain business-as-usual working processes.
Data grows exponentially, and most organisations will admit that they simply don’t know what data they have, where it is, and the controls that exist around it. This creates 2 challenges:
- Burgeoning amounts of unstructured data makes the business increasingly vulnerable from external attackers or internal data breaches.
- Because data is the key to understanding a customer’s wants and needs, if the business can’t identify its data and unlock its value, it’s at a competitive disadvantage.
As a European investor and alternative asset manager, here at Arrow Global we take care of £50bn of assets and own a data estate exceeding 160TB. How we manage our data is key to our success. We understand the difficulties involved in opening up environments to allow people to work productively, while at the same time locking them down to protect our organisation.
When it comes to analytics, I believe that Arrow is highly proficient because we employ a talented team of data scientists. But even for us, the sheer volume of raw and processed data, that resides in both our structured systems and unstructured data repositories, has the potential to put our business at risk.
We know there’s always more that can be done to strengthen our security posture and ensure regulatory and contractual compliance, while at the same time using our data to drive the business forward.
Data protection isn’t just about compliance
For many organisations, data protection has centred on demonstrating compliance with the GDPR. At Arrow, our efforts have gone one step further to include our contractual exposure.
Being a more mature data organisation, we had previously tried to develop an application in-house to manage our data estate. However, with 160TB across the company in production data alone, we simply couldn’t achieve the scale we needed to handle the sheer volume of data. Of course, the volume is just the start – once you know what data you have, you then need to be able to categorise the data and put it into a structure, so the business can analyse it for a specific use case.
We knew we needed to go to market to find an industrial-strength data discovery product to replace our in-house application. By aligning our choice of product to our overall IT and change strategy, meant that ultimately, we ended up with a far better outcome than we’d anticipated.
Position data as both a risk and an asset
Data touches every part of an organisation, so when it came to building a business case for buying-in a data discovery software platform, we approached it in a way that would speak to different people at the same time. We did this by posing the question:
“What do we want to do with data in a way that is GDPR-compliant, contractually-compliant and enables us to better service our clients?”
These are the black and white tests of data governance – to recognise the importance of securing and protecting data. They’re applied in a way that enables us to commoditise data and use it to drive the business forward, by forcing us to consider how we would use the data – for example, creating value-based pricing for our clients.
In aligning the business case to initiatives that were already priorities within the boardroom, we knew that we’d gain the attention of the senior leadership team and it would be easier to get the buy-in and budget we needed. And in the end, everyone wins – we get what we need to protect the data, and the business gets to distil the data’s value to better meet our customers’ expectations.
Get visibility of data at scale
For us, things got really exciting once we were able to see all of our data at scale. We chose Exonar because it allowed us to discover our data in ways that other products couldn’t. And the interface between the user and Exonar meant that everyone – both technical and non-technical users – could understand the technology and the findings it revealed.
When we saw exactly what data was in the estate, where it was and who had access to it, data security became much easier and the risk of data being compromised was dramatically reduced. We can see exactly where the vulnerabilities are and restructure how our data is stored to strengthen security. Then over time, we can use search, workflow and analysis to optimise the infrastructure and continually identify new areas to improve.
Commercialise the data
From a wider-business perspective, once people can see the data, they can start asking “What if…” to query it and distil its value. But it’s more than just the data itself. It’s not uncommon for data relating to the same thing to exist in unconnected systems across the business. For example, customer interactions and incidents or events.
Exonar is capable of joining the dots in disparate data sets. By stitching these data sets together, we can get a better overall view of our customers and use the outcomes to think of new, different or better ways of serving them through enhancing or adapting our offerings.
Why other financial services businesses should also take a smarter approach to data
- By changing the way you approach data, you can use it to protect and power your business and the people you serve.
- By positioning data as both a risk and an asset, you elevate its position to give it priority in the boardroom. Ultimately, it’s data that helps the business make informed strategic decisions about how to strengthen its competitive advantage.
- By gaining visibility of data at scale, you can see exactly what data you have and where it is. This gives the business confidence about the actions needed to ensure it is secured in both a regulatory and contractually compliant way, and that people are doing the right thing with data at all times.
- And joining different data sets provides you with a single view of ‘X’ within your data, no matter where it is. Helping to support your wider-business strategy and priorities, it gives you the information you need to secure a business advantage and generate value.
How business leaders can find the right balance between human and bot when investing in AI
By Andrew White is the ANZ Country Manager of business transformation solutions provider, Signavio
The digital world moves quickly. From keeping up with consumer behaviour patterns, to regulation and compliance, the most successful organisations are always on the cutting-edge of technological developments.
However, when it comes to investing in artificial intelligence (AI), a hard and fast strategy does not guarantee a top spot amongst the league of tech greats. Instead, it pays to take a considered approach to balancing reliance on automated processes with a human touch. Why? Because creative and strategic thinkers are the true propellers of innovation; automation is simply the enabler.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) developed the ‘Routine Task Intensity’ (RTI) index as a measure of which processes are likely to benefit most from automation. According to this metric, jobs requiring analytical, strategic, communicational and technical skills score low on the RTI index, while simple, repetitive tasks scored highly.
The lesson for business leaders here is simple; your digital investments are just as important as your stake in talent. When deciding which processes to automate, start simple, and remember to value the skills and potential of your people.
Keep customer-centricity at your core
Customer-centricity means that every business decision, dollar spent and new hire is centred on one question: how does this benefit my customer? Investments in AI are no different. To be truly successful, they must have a customer-focused outcome.
Where companies get this wrong is by implementing cost-saving measures or ‘copy and paste’ software that fails to improve the customer experience – often having the adverse effect.
Take the virtual chat-bot, for example; if implemented poorly, it can send your customers into a frustrating and seemingly infinite cycle of dead-ends. The modern consumer is far too digitally savvy for this shortcut, and will quickly move onto the next merchant offering a more seamless customer service experience.
To guarantee your investments are delighting rather than infuriating your customers, it helps to take an outside-in perspective of your business processes, aided by Customer Journey Mapping (CJM).
Before you commit to digital investments, CJM can trace and map each customer touchpoint, signalling pain points or conversion rates throughout their journey. These data-driven insights lead you to the areas that would benefit the most from automation, instead of implementing a broad band-aid solution.
Avoid the ‘set and forget’ method
When investing in enterprise-wide AI, the ‘set and forget’ method rarely works. Real transformation requires an ongoing dedication to refining and improving AI-driven processes, as well as adapting them to the evolving needs of your customers. This is the best way to achieve customer loyalty, by proving that your organisation listens to, and understands its users.
A human perspective is invaluable here, paired with process mining – a method that thrives on finding process inefficiencies – to create a consistent feedback loop of improvement.
During periods of uncertainty, customer loyalty is everything, so aim to protect it at all costs.
The power of your people
The rise of automation can be linked to the corporate world’s obsession with speed and efficiency. However, the psychology behind this goes deeper than being the biggest and fastest producer; it’s also about reallocating resources into attracting and retaining the brilliant minds that drive companies into the future.
When communicating digital change, it’s critical to highlight the valuable impact AI has on augmenting jobs; removing the burden of mundane, repetitive tasks and allowing for more strategic skill-sets to shine through. For lower-skilled workers, invest in upskilling or re-education where possible.
Successfully rolling-out digital transformation plans means that every employee across all tiers of your company understands the value of AI. The starting point here is education to achieve buy-in. Change communications must be accessible, constructive and value-focused, supported by key culture influencers who champion automation within teams.
Enterprise-wide buy-in is an important element of refining and improving digital processes, as cross-functional collaboration can offer valuable insights into common pain points or inefficiencies ripe for automation. Supported by process mining, collaboration provides a holistic view of how each investment will impact other processes. There is no point investing in automation that streamlines one process and makes another more people-centric, so be sure to take a balanced approach to your investments.
Remember, AI is not about creating an army of robot workers; it’s about increasing efficiency and productivity so that an organisation, and its people, can work smarter.
Are you a fighter or a freezer? The 4 “F’s” of Surviving Danger
By Dr.Roger Firestien, Author of Create In a Flash.
The fight, flight, freeze survival response – or FFF for short – is designed to mobilize our brain and body to fight an enemy, run from a tidal wave or freeze to hide from a predator.
FFF is how humans react when they encounter a dangerous situation. It is a primal response that happens instinctively even before we are able to think about the situation we are confronting.
The FFF alarm causes our brain to focus on negative memories, probably to scan them to avoid repeating dangerous situations and negative outcomes. We get tunnel vision as our pupils dilate to increase our focus and long-range vision, but as a result we lose our peripheral vision.
Humans use the FFF response and so do organizations.
When organizations encounter dangerous situations, like, say, trying to survive a global pandemic, they can respond by either fighting the situation, fleeing from the situation, or freezing and waiting for the situation to pass.
I would like to propose a fourth strategy for organizations to deal with a danger like the pandemic. It is the fourth “F.” The farm response. More on that later.
What kind of organization is yours?
The fighter organizations were the ones that fought the idea of a global pandemic or pushed back against the research that reported how serious the virus was. Think of the meat processing plants that didn’t provide proper protective gear or the religious organizations that refused to take a break from large services.
The results were catastrophic for the organizations and deadly to the employees and worshippers.
It is pretty easy to identify the fleeing organizations. You don’t see them anymore. Unfortunately, this is the organization that just doesn’t have the resources or the energy to fight. You will recognize them by the “For Rent” signs in the windows of the buildings they used to occupy.
The organizations that freeze are a little more difficult to identify. They are still around but are frozen by fear. They are the organizations that, although they are in a position to move forward, are too frightened to take a risk or even look at the periphery of their business. Their tunnel vision blinds them to opportunity. The freezers hide and wait for the danger to pass. They are the ones who miss out on possibilities.
For example, if you are in the business of supplying concessions to sporting events, airports and national parks, your business is in deep trouble now. So, what are some ways to keep people buying food and drinks with so many venues closed?
Many national parks are now open and visitors need to eat. How can you sell food while supporting social distancing? Answer: Sell picnic meals to your patrons. And, sell a blanket that commemorates the park that diners can spread out and have lunch while social distancing with their families. Then, they’ll keep the blanket that reminds them of their visit to the park.
Sound like a good idea? It sure does. You can keep your park concession business, allow people to social distance and add to your product line with that commemorative blanket. Did the company implement the idea? Unfortunately, they did not. They froze and missed the opportunity.
However, businesses are finding ways to optimize their organization and capture opportunities. They are the farmers. The farmer organizations study the situation, just like farmers study the weather and the land. They look at the resources available to them and get to work.
Farmer organizations pivot and get creative.
Distillers, who before the pandemic, were making vodka, whiskey, gin and other spirits quickly changed their operation from distilling booze to distilling sanitizer.
Telemedicine, which had limited acceptance before the pandemic, almost immediately became the accepted way to deliver care. Now, the doctor comes to you.
Fitness trainers are conducting their sessions via Zoom or in person outside on sidewalks in front of their gyms so they can social distance.
My favorite ranch, SK Herefords, sells their beef at local farmer’s markets in the Western New York area. This spring when the large packing houses shut down and grocery stores were limiting the amount of beef customers were able to buy, my farmer friends were there at the markets with locally produced farm-raised beef. Sales soared and demand skyrocketed.
Why? The farmers were ready. They used their resources and were not afraid to optimize them in a rapidly changing and volatile environment. Farmers live with constantly changing weather conditions and market prices and are accustomed to rapid change.
To operate with constant change, all of us, like farmers, need to be constantly creative. Phil Keppler, my philosopher farmer friend from SK Herefords says, “Creativity helps you to not look at things as a problem. It’s trying to find the solution – and that’s the exciting thing about it. Things aren’t problems anymore. It’s just difficult situations and you’re trying to find a solution to that situation.”
A good mindset for what our world is experiencing now… it’s a difficult situation and we are creating solutions daily.
Fight, flight, freeze or farm. What kind of organization is yours? And, what can you learn from “the farmers?”
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