The rise of the machines and the future of Data Centre
By Gavin Milton-White, VP of Enterprise, APAC, Commscope
The machines are coming. IDC predicts that there will be 8.6 billion connected devices in the Asia Pacific region (excluding Japan) by 2020, accounting for 29% of the world’s connected devices. Consider then, that there are currently more than 7.6 billion people in the world, whose devices are generally switched on, sensing, analysing and transmitting data around the clock. Billions of machines are required to keep these connected devices running, and by talking to each other, they put an extreme amount of stress on any network.
With 5G coming to market in the next five to 10 years, and IDC predicting that the IoT market in Asia Pacific could reach $583 billion by 2020, this stress is only going to become more profound, not least on data centres, which must adapt to cope with the additional demand.
Machines can process information nearly as fast as they can receive it. In the data centre in particular, decisions are made instantaneously, requiring a strong supportive network backbone. Indeed, where data centres once simply acted as storage units for data, they now compute, analyse and process information, and they need to do this in real time. It’s little surprise then, that one of IDC’s top predictions for 2018 is the ‘modernisation’ of data centres, in which they make ‘heavy use of predictive analytics to increase accuracy and reduce downtime’.
The advent of 5G is going to change everything, and network operators and data centre managers alike will need to prepare. The sheer volume of devices communicating with each other and with humans will lead to a significant increase in the amount of fibre being deployed, for example, although much needs to be done behind the scenes before this can happen.
Wireless networks need a lot of ‘wired’ assets to effectively deliver fibre backhaul to the core and edge. The densification of cell sites, adding more cell sites to increase the amount of available capacity, will be required to enable 5G, and we’ll also see a number of different types of powering solution come to market, offering operators a cost-efficient way of powering up many devices at the edge of the network.
Deploying copious amounts of fibre is a best-case solution, however, and may not always be feasible. The most efficient scenario in allowing fast machine-to-machine communication would be to deploy high density fibre from the start, future proofing the investment by using a modular, high-speed platform capable of supporting multiple generations of equipment.
Not all plain sailing
As the number of devices continues to grow, and the volume of machine to machine communication with it, there will, inevitably, be problems. Machines are only as good as their algorithms and programming, after all, which makes them vulnerable to manipulation by humans and even other machines. As a result, there are certainly concerns around data privacy; with more devices than people in the world, it’s fair to say that we’ll become increasingly vulnerable to hackers and data thieves. This is even so in Asia Pacific, a region that is perceived to be the most vulnerable to cyberattack in the world, with organisations here taking 1.7 times longer to discover security breaches when compared to global average, according to Mandiant’s 2017 report.
With the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI), there is an additional concern that machines will take over jobs previously only performed by humans. Undoubtedly, it is inevitable to see some roles being replaced. However, this does not necessarily translate to people losing their jobs. What we will see is a shift in roles, with people being equipped with new tools to make their jobs more efficient. The explosion in machine-to-machine technology will require a change in mind-set for it to be fully adopted.
However, with network operators and data centre managers taking steps now to ensure that they are ready for what’s ahead, the ground will be laid for the rise of the machines in an increasingly connected world.
About Gavin Milton-White
Gavin Milton-White is the Vice President of Enterprise, leading sales across Asia Pacific. He is responsible for driving innovative solutions for use in business enterprise, telecommunications, cable television and residential broadband networks. Gavin is based out of Singapore.
Previously, Gavin held key sales and general management leadership roles with TE Connectivity, Huawei and Avaya.
With over 20 years of experience in telecommunications and network infrastructure and a background including that of reseller, distributor and vendor, Gavin believes in delivering a success driven culture and customer focused environment by driving best business practices using coaching, common sense, flexibility and team empowerment.
CommScope (NASDAQ: COMM) helps design, build and manage wired and wireless networks around the world. As a communications infrastructure leader, we shape the always-on networks of tomorrow. For more than 40 years, our global team of greater than 20,000 employees, innovators and technologists have empowered customers in all regions of the world to anticipate what’s next and push the boundaries of what’s possible. Discover more at http://www.commscope.com.