Digital acceleration increases

The latest Global Interconnection Index (GXI Vol. 5), an annual market study published by Equinix, reveals that the pandemic has forced economies into digital overdrive, with global business leaders who were already implementing a digital-first strategy, moving four times faster than pre-pandemic levels. In the UK, enterprises have compacted the time to deploy their digital infrastructure to multiple regions, expand to multiple edge locations and integrate multiple clouds—what might have taken two years is now achievable within six months.

This accelerated pace of digital transformation is predicted to continue to fuel the rapid growth in interconnection bandwidth. According to the GXI Vol. 5, overall interconnection bandwidth, the measure of private connectivity for the transfer of data between organisations, is forecast to reach 21,485+ terabits per second (Tbps), or 85 zettabytes, per year by 2024, representing a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 44%. This growth is aligned with the increasing demand for the digital infrastructure needed to bring more businesses online, facilitate electronic integration with partners and supply chains, and reach more people in distributed hybrid work environments.

Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam and Paris are predicted to be the top locations in Europe for interconnection bandwidth growth by 2024. London, representing the biggest core metro, is expected to grow at a 45% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) year-on-year, contributing 1,735 Tbps by 2024. This bandwidth is almost three times higher than Paris, more than twice the Tbps of Amsterdam and double that of Frankfurt. This further cements London’s position as a strategic interconnection hub for digital businesses looking to compete on a global scale, despite the UK’s departure from the European Union and disruption brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The latest version of the GXI reveals that UK enterprises see the rapid expansion of their digital infrastructure as a key priority in their recovery from the pandemic. There is now a real sense of urgency, with companies significantly accelerating their digital transformation to meet the increasing demand for the real-time transfer, storage and processing of data” explained Russell Poole, Managing Director, UK, Equinix. “As a result, infrastructure deployment times are reducing from several years to just six months. It is now more critical than ever for UK industries, many of which have been hit hard by the pandemic, to implement a digital-first strategy to improve efficiency and develop new business revenue models that will aid their post-pandemic revival.”

Additional Insights from GXI Vol. 5

• In Europe, the core metros of Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam and Paris are expected to grow, on average, at a 45% CAGR by 2024, together contributing 3,994 Tbps. While London is predicted to expand to 1,735 Tbps, Frankfurt is forecast to contribute 878 Tbps, Amsterdam 767 Tbps and Paris 614 Tbps.

•Close to 30% of enterprise infrastructure globally deployed in carrier-neutral facilities has moved to the edge, in proximity to points of data consumption. Service Providers are also expanding at the edge, growing their edge infrastructure 2x faster than their core infrastructure, enabling them to support increasing demand from enterprises.

• Global digital leaders are interconnecting with 10 times as many partners, enabling them to ride the wave of digital transformation and enjoy best-in-class services from a vast pool of service providers and partners.

• The growth in interconnection bandwidth has been tracked across 12 industries and three regions for traditional companies, cloud native, service providers and even hyperscale providers. London continues to be a leading metro, topping the GXI table for a significant number of these industries in EMEA.

• London is the leading metro in EMEA for 9 out of 12 industries measured, reliant on interconnection. For example, Cloud & IT Services, Banking & Insurance, Securities & Trading, and Business & Professional Services. It comes second in the remaining three industries, behind Frankfurt and Amsterdam. Manchester is the only other UK city included in the top ranks, appearing once in fourth place for the Wholesale & Retail segment.

• Among global industries, the Financial Services sector is expected to deploy more than 50% of Enterprise interconnection bandwidth, with Manufacturing as the second-largest industry.

• Worldwide, the Public Sector, Healthcare & Life Sciences, Industrial Services and Transportation industries are expected to experience the fastest digital infrastructure growth, which is forecast to drive a 48% or more CAGR in interconnection bandwidth from 2020 to 2024 globally. These industries that were previously lagging in interconnection adoption are now leading in interconnection growth rate as a result of the pandemic.

“While COVID has forced businesses to innovate in many ways, by both expanding existing and introducing new digital services, the infrastructure underpinning these services must keep pace,” said Claire Macland, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Equinix. “As a result, savvy businesses are now moving four times faster than pre-pandemic levels in deploying this necessary digital infrastructure.”

Industry Perspective

• Joachim Goyvaerts, Director, Benelux and Ireland, PayPal:

“A pioneer in the digital payment industry, PayPal has evolved to become a trusted strategic partner to more than 400 million global users. Financial services need to move faster than ever and leverage a robust digital infrastructure to support their clients. Our comprehensive platform powers global commerce and provides exceptional payment experiences in a quick and convenient way, helping customers build a solid foundation for their services and growth.”

• Courtney Munroe, Research Vice President, Worldwide Telecommunications Research, IDC

“Companies that have adopted a comprehensive digital strategy as a core business pillar—connecting with and leveraging digital platforms with partners, ecosystems, and customers, consistently emerge as disruptive market leaders. Adopting digital platforms and services is essential to achieve the level of agility and resiliency that is required to outpace and out-innovate the competition.”

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