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As the digital divide continues to impact businesses and individuals seeking to leverage digitization to evolve their businesses, regional data center providers convened to discuss the shifts required by operators and the growing need for network aggregation points, interconnectivity, regional network partnerships and more at The INCOMPAS show 2020. The panel, organized by the Independent Data Center Alliance, explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, shifts in operational requirements and the growing need for neutral aggregation points to ensure content, cloud and applications can serve the greatest number of people at the edge.

Mary Stanhope, CMO of Unitas Global, opened the conversation, titled: Data Center Interconnection Trends and Capabilities, touching adaptability and agility when dealing with unforeseen instances such as the pandemic.

“One of the key phrases is that everything is changing, and adaptability and agility becomes really important for working with customers… The ecosystem that we exist in is a very different edge from more people working in different locations…. So if we really look at what’s changed in the last six months, for us, it’s really been the conversation with our clients. [The pandemic] really has impacted what people are buying and how people are growing and shifted that but I think it’s some interesting times and very interesting times about how we’re connecting people to data in cloud centers, and how that conversation is changing.”

Ed d’Agostino, of DE-CIX North America added to the conversation:

“I think more and more networks want to be ready for what’s coming, not just accommodate what they’ve seen. And to that end I’ve seen a lot of growth capacity with existing networks connecting to us. We see traffic changes often into the evening from what was not necessarily as much traffic but we also see many ISPs who are looking to extend to connect as a neutral exchange. There’s definitely a big growth and we’ve seen it in Dallas in particular, you know, with ISP growth, it’s continued to come.”

Bill Norton, co-founder of NOIA Network, shed some light on the shifts related to work-from-home culture, and how providers now need to be ready to provide service around the clock.

“During my time with Equinix, I spent a lot of time working with participants in the ecosystem, identifying eyeballs on access to content and content providers. So now, as a co-founder of NOI Network, we believe that the internet fundamentally needs to have a security wrapper around it. And fundamentally, it also needs to take advantage of the richness that’s inherent in the transport networks that exist underneath the covers. So what NOI Network is doing is building an overlay on top of the public Internet that provides those security capabilities. So every packet is encrypted. And with this mesh network, this encrypted mesh network, it allows folks to optimize traffic. So if there was a path through an intermediary that happens to be faster. When I say faster, I mean measured, because all these nodes are measuring the one way latency to We believe what’s actually needed now, during this pandemic, is no longer sufficient for folks to work at home and send all of the traffic to a faraway data center where a VPN server handles all the traffic and then allows you to go out to the internet from there. That’s not the work from home environment. Instead, we believe the workflow environment is going to be what produces a thin overlay that provides direct, secure communications with their work colleagues, and with folks and suppliers that they need to interact with. So that’s basically how we’re pivoting. we’re shifting now more towards the one of the use cases of our platform, which is the work from home, where you can set up an encrypted mesh network to your work colleagues in a matter of seconds.”

Dave Tomassoni, of PacketFabric, also touched on the company’s pivots undertaken during the pandemic.

“As far as the pandemic. I don’t think any company was really ready for it, but from the way our workforce was deployed, and still is deployed, we were pandemic ready. Meaning that our workforce was globally dispersed. So we were utilizing a lot of the collaboration tools that are already out there such as Slack and Zoom, we don’t really have a “headquarter office” where everyone was going to. So, the transition for us to go into the pandemic has been, has been easier than then it has been for other companies. That being said, we’ve seen a nice shift from our business going, many more customers going to the cloud, many more customers needing something today versus waiting 30 or 60 or 90 days. And with our platform, which is software defined, it allows that customer to go in and provision services real time. So strategically, the last six months, we’ve seen a nice uplift, specifically in the cloud providers such as your AWS.”

You can listen to the whole panel by visiting: