R&M, the globally active Swiss developer and provider of cabling systems for high-end network infrastructures, expects double-figure growth to continue in the new 2016 financial year in some market segments. Data Center operators in particular are expected to show increasing demand for fiber optic cabling system solutions. R&M anticipates growth of around 20% per year in this segment. "The increase in data traffic means that Data Centers are having to invest in higher performance network architectures and in the consolidation of their infrastructures. Over the next three years, these trends are set to influence the industrial sector to an extent never before seen by the market," says R&M CMO Andreas Rüsseler, with an eye on current international market studies.
According to these studies, Cloud applications are among the driving forces for this. The number of companies using IT services from external Data Centers is growing. Cloud Data Centers are already responsible for 70% of IT work around the world. Private users are increasingly using the web and the corresponding Data Centers for transferring images and videos. Recent studies show that around 91% of internet data traffic is related to the transmission of videos. "Over the last year, global traffic handled by Data Centers reached the barely imaginable volume of five zettabytes," says Andreas Rüsseler (one zettabyte is equal to about a trillion gigabytes or the content of 250 billion DVDs which, if stacked, would reach a height of around 300,000 km).
According to R&M, consolidation, automation, and increases in efficiency are today some of the most important challenges relating to the operation of Data Centers. "We recognized these needs and adapted our product development accordingly," says Andreas Rüsseler. R&M is also supporting the industrialization of Data Center operation. The recently expanded network monitoring system R&MinteliPhy enables the fully automated monitoring of the cabling infrastructure across all distances and in all magnitudes. "Data Centers with large numbers of plug connections will no longer be able to handle them all in future without an automated infrastructure management such as that offered by R&MinteliPhy," says CMO Andreas Rüsseler.
The latest developments, such as the dramatic increase in the private use of action cameras and cellphones with extremely high resolution, allow data traffic to keep on growing. They enable functions such as the transfer of live pictures via the internet and cellular phone networks. "We also now have the Internet of Things, which is currently on the rise," says Rüsseler. Today, around nine billion things are connected to the internet, transmitting data constantly. Other estimations suggest there are in fact 25 billion pieces of terminal equipment, including surveillance cameras, industrial robots and robotic vacuum cleaners, agricultural machinery, aircraft engines, electric cars, living room thermostats, smartphones, fitness bracelets, and many more. Various predictions suggest there will be up to 30 billion things online in 2020.
According to a McKinsey study, a "smart home" will operate between 50 and 100 online applications in the future. Market researchers from Parks Associates determined that one third of the private homes in western Europe with broadband connections want to buy a smart home product in 2016. The cameras on a self-driving car will collect hundreds of gigabytes of traffic data per hour and will exchange this data with servers in the Cloud in order to make it useful for other road users. "The connectivity of the end devices is often based on WiFi or cellular phone networks. However, almost all the antennas required for this need to be connected via cable to broadband networks, which now must in turn be further expanded," says Andreas Rüsseler, thus explaining the rising demand for higher performance cabling in this age of digitization of production environments, services, buildings, and public and private spaces.
In the end, most data from the Internet of Things will end up back in Data Centers, which must enhance their infrastructures accordingly and provide networks that are available permanently. "It's a growth spiral," summarizes the CMO of R&M in his annual forecast. R&M firmly believes that the right response to these developments is modular, robust cabling technology that is flexible in its use and intuitive in its installation. Andreas Rüsseler: "The less complicated these connections are, the easier it will be for the Internet of Things to grow." Seamless, secure connectivity is a fundamental requirement if we are to truly benefit from the Internet of Things.