IoT has been hailed as the gateway to business transformation, driving both opportunity and business revenues. IDC projects the Asia Pacific region will account for 36.9% of global IoT spending this year, mainly due to IoT being seen as the backbone of smart cities.
The Data Management Edge
Hui pointed out that lately, the challenges to manage and process exponentially larger scales of data quickly has created a trend towards edge environments.
When the adoption of IoT began, sensors used to send light numeric data like temperature, humidity, and oxygen levels to the cloud. However, sensors are now starting to transmit heavy data, like videos that have frequent timestamps.
What Hui saw as Equinix’s value was in providing a platform for all this IoT traffic at the edge before it got upstreamed.
"Edge is basically an aggregation point, a gateway. All traffic coming from various directions goes through a gateway before going to the cloud. The edge itself used to be a dummy pass through...but now that data has become so much richer, it has to be treated timely to get the best value out of that data."
Equinix is enabling the edge in "becoming more intelligent." Hui explained that "many see our data centers as perfect edge locations because of the number of locations we can cover, and the connectivity that we can provide due to our carrier customers." All the data being captured has to be immediately processed and analyzed before it goes upstream. Also, a lot of the new data coming in need more sophisticated processing tools such as AI, ML, and natural language.
“All this means that edge play is increasingly becoming the new paradigm for new IoT deployments. At the same time, it can also capture information close to where the data originated and do pre-filtering. You process it right there and decide whether it goes upstream...In essence, you’re reducing the load to be upstreamed to the core and relieving the bottleneck at the core because the edge is now more intelligent.”
The Interconnected Edge
Another key differentiator with the Equinix platform is its focus on interconnections.
“We’ve built our business primarily on the idea of interconnecting. It is helping a lot of businesses reduce latency in general. At the same time, we try to find other data providers who can make the captured IoT data more valuable to the business,” continued Hui.
For example, data coming in from the user is connected to a service provider and also potentially to other data providers for analytics. The customer and all the providers are on the same platform, and there is no public internet (and hence latency) connecting them.
Hui noted that companies find value in co-locating with Equinix because of the company’s interconnection capabilities. While there is no one size fits all, it offers a variety of choices.
“I always give the example of a shopping mall where if it’s one big store that gives you everything, you’re forced to take whatever offerings from that store. But if you go to a shopping mall with a thousand different stores, let’s say you were looking for bread, you can choose different types of bread and perhaps even discover bread machines, buy the flour and decide to make your own bread. Our platform is very similar and gives choices to people for interconnecting. That’s our value.”
Practicing IOA at the Edge
Citing successful use cases that include ride-sharing, smart metering, and telematics, Hui elaborated on how IoT leveraging predictive analytics has been able to anticipate demand, failure, assess risks, improve processes, and flows.
Processing an increasing volume of data from multiple sources due to a growing customer base, PickMe was spending additional time and money managing infrastructure pressures, detracting from its ability to support business growth.
Leveraging Iguazio’s Continuous Data Platform and interconnection services from Equinix, PickMe was able to maximize data and operational efficiencies to launch more services and improve user experience.
Iguazio’s Continuous Data Platform processes vast amounts of real-time data from multiple sources such as news, weather, and social media via a secure, scalable interconnected service. Deployed on Platform Equinix, Iguazio’s analytics and data platform delivered intelligent insights for PickMe, enabling it to enhance its services with heatmaps showing spikes in demand and flagging suspicious behaviors which detect fraud in real-time rather than after periodic updates.
As a result, PickMe was able to enhance its services and profitability by matchmaking more rides and ensuring that drivers had less "empty time." Maximizing driver profits and reducing passenger wait times via improved data analysis and AI has increased driver effectiveness and rider satisfaction.
“PickMe’s move to Iguazio on Platform Equinix® has helped us to focus on our core business while reducing infrastructure and data pipeline overheads. Iguazio’s Continuous Data Platform has made it easy for us to combine all of our data together, make better business decisions and ultimately improve the service we offer riders and drivers,” said Asanka Perera, lead data scientist at PickMe.
Central to PickMe's accelerated efficiency is the ability to leverage the Interconnection Oriented Architecture (IOA), which allowed Iguazio to collect and process its data from multiple sources, while ensuring reduced latency, maximized performance and fine-grained security via edge and hybrid cloud deployments.
This interconnection-first approach has also helped accelerate PickMe’s ability to quickly move from proof of concept to production, speeding up its ability to expand both the geographical reach and diversity of its services.
“Better technology allows for faster growth, and faster growth is definitely the way to stay ahead of the competition, which Iguazio and Equinix are helping us achieve,” said Jiffry Zulfer, PickMe’s chief executive officer.