The Internet of Things and the Interconnection Problem

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly growing and today, is no longer just computers and phones.

According to David Evans, former chief futurist at Cisco, “Today, literally anything can be connected, including tennis rackets, diapers, clothing, vehicles, and, of course, homes. And although people may find this unsettling, the network is also starting to include biological things…pets, crops, livestock, and the clothing on your body can be connected. We’re not far from an Internet link you can actually swallow as a pill.”

As the world propels toward a Matrix-esque future, the statistics on IoT growth show rapid expansion and investment in the sector. Every second, 127 new devices are connected to the internet. Autonomous vehicles are coming and by 2023, 70% of automobiles will be connected to the internet. Companies will invest up to $1.1 Trillion in IoT by 2023 and there will likely be 41 Billion IoT devices by 2027.

Growth in IoT doesn’t only mean growth in devices though, it also means growth in interconnections needed to support these devices. “IoT will require data centers to reinvent themselves. They will need to boost the number of connections and overall speed in order to keep up with IoT – especially 5G IoT”.

As enterprise use cases expand with IoT applications, many global IT decision-makers believe interconnection is a key facilitator of digital transformation and a third of these decision-makers are using interconnection to increase the speed of connectivity.

But building an interconnection isn’t easy.

“Many global IT decision-makers believe interconnection is a key facilitator of digital transformation and a third of these decision-makers are using interconnection to increase the speed of connectivity.”

Let’s Crunch the Numbers

Interconnections connect networks to other networks and because no two networks are the same, creating new interconnections can easily take months. This may sound crazy, but consider the time it takes to order circuits, equipment, and then to configure, install, and test. Even if you have all the gear on hand, turning up a new interconnect can easily take at least two weeks.

Due to IoT and other emerging applications, interconnection demand is poised to grow at a 50% CAGR over the next few years. If turning up a new interconnection typically takes more than two weeks, how can we keep up with this massive demand growth?

Let’s do some quick math on this. Assume that it takes 2 weeks to deploy a new interconnection and the estimated demand for new interconnections from a base of 1,000 supported customers is 89. At 2 weeks for each connection, it would require 178 weeks (3.5 yrs) just to meet the demand for the next year.

There is no way that the traditional ways of building interconnections can keep pace with the future growth of IoT. 

Turn Up Interconnections in Minutes and Seconds, Not Weeks

Hardware-centric provisioning, manual processes, and rigid functionality lead to delays and can no longer support the interconnectivity needs of the future. With emerging technologies and the rapidly changing applications and requirements, service providers need to be able to turn up interconnections in minutes and seconds, not weeks.

The Internet of Things will continue to grow which drives a need for simple and nimble interconnectivity.

Explore software-defined interconnections.

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