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Connecting to the customer of tomorrow

From how we communicate with our friends and families, to how we educate children and get a diagnosis from the doctor, people have been able to achieve things through digital connectivity over the past year that we thought were only possible face-to-face before the pandemic.

Covid-19 has changed the way people stay connected to one another and there is now an increased reliance on technology to enable connections. To keep in touch with our colleagues, we looked to video conferencing apps. Figures show that Microsoft Teams saw a massive surge in users during the pandemic, rising from 20 million users in November 2019 to 44 million in March 2020, then 75 million by April 2020. Away from the workplace, we turned to video streaming for entertainment, 21% of households purchased a new video subscription during the initial lockdown period in the UK alone, taking the average number of subscriptions to 2.3 per household.

The cloud and cloud-based applications are being used more than ever before, increasing dependence on the data center to support the servers and applications needed to run these services. This has reinforced the importance of the data center’s connectivity.

Demand is only set to continue

Even as we start to navigate the new normal and return to work, using connectivity to supplement the way we live is set to stay. Organizations looking to buy additional data center space must consider several key factors when it comes to connectivity to support applications.

1. Keeping things neutral

One of the most significant aspects is the data center’s neutrality. If a data center is carrier neutral, it allows interconnection between many colocation and interconnection providers, providing diversity and flexibility for organizations. This approach enables a connectivity-rich data center network that can provide a scalable and resilient platform wherever you need it. This is important to be able to create density.

2. Ecosystem density

The data center’s ecosystem density is crucial. Buyers must consider the mix of providers available within the data center. For instance, is their key connectivity provider in that data center, and can they access a blend of local connectivity, national connectivity and international connectivity to interconnect sites, partners, and services?

3. Location, location, location

Proximity to the customer and partner ecosystem must also be considered. Organizations need to be as close to their supply chain ecosystem as possible to improve connectivity and the service they’re able to provide.

This is something that we consider when deciding where to build and invest in new data centers. With London 1 Data Center, for example, we chose to build the data center in Dagenham, East London. This location is within easy reach of the Docklands, which has become the UK’s internet hub and backbone for the global internet network that facilitates most of the London Internet Exchange’s (LINX) infrastructure.

Dagenham is also well situated for Shoreditch, which has recently become known as the ‘Silicon Roundabout,’ as many technology companies and startups are based in the area. This approach to investing in data centers allows us to ensure that our clients can be as close to their customers as possible. It’s also important to note that if partners or customers are also in the data center, organizations can benefit from improved connectivity by having a private B2B connection.

4. Latency

Lastly, but by no means least – many businesses today care about latency. Understanding the time it takes for data to travel between two points is one of the key factors to maximize the performance of applications. Some industries may require low latency network for their day-to-day jobs like financials. If a data center is low latency enabled, organizations can ensure their connectivity is as efficient and responsive as possible.

Connecting to the future

At NTT, we know that because connectivity is now integral to the way we live our digital lives, it is at the heart of all digital transformation journeys. The data center is just one element of this journey and needs to be considered within the context of an organization’s broader transformation initiatives.

One of the unique things about our Global Data Center Division is its combination of capabilities across the wider NTT Group, as the largest ICT provider globally. This helps us deliver market-leading connectivity solutions, whether it’s cloud connectivity, IP connectivity or connectivity between our data centers. Our multi-service interconnection platform is a single doorway to all of our connectivity services through a single access port in your infrastructure.

In addition to this, our full stack of ICT services helps us better serve our clients and their challenges – whether this is enabling a hybrid workforce model or helping them develop a better customer experience. Our broader expertise ensures that all elements of their digital transformation initiatives are connected from end-to-end.

A digital future is inevitable, but how businesses enable this change is sometimes unclear. At NTT, we help our clients every step of the way to ensure they can build their business for the customer of tomorrow.