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How can edge computing help your business?

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December 01, 2020

Old telephone exchanges put the cloud on your business doorstep

If you’re thinking that New Zealand’s old copper-based telephone exchanges are a relic of the past and fit only for museums, you may be surprised to find that the old buildings are a key pillar in Chorus’s strategy to bring the cloud right into your business neighbourhood.

The law of physics says that the further away something is, the more time, money and power it takes to communicate unless companies like Chorus can provide the data and broadband fibre infrastructure for the likes of Microsoft, Google and Netflix to move in next door to your business (virtually speaking).

The reason old telephone exchanges are getting a new lease on life is Edge Computing or for a more formal definition a ‘distributed computing paradigm which brings computation and data storage closer to the location where it is needed, to improve response times and save bandwidth’.

Empowering the regions

Chorus product manager co-location, Will Dodson, says the old telephone exchanges are helping to facilitate a level of connectivity for businesses – particularly in the regions – that was only available to corporations with the vast budgets to rent or build their own local data centres.

Chorus EdgeCentre Colocation is about turning these old exchanges into state-of-the-art facilities with a world-class power supply, cooling, space and security to host cloud servers virtually under your nose.”

To help achieve this, Chorus has partnered with Nlyte, a leading data centre infrastructure management (DCIM) software solutions provider, to provide the software platform that enables Chorus and its customers to manage the equipment and services from an operational perspective, complete with 3D visualisations.  Chorus has rolled out EdgeCentre Colocation at Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch to date and has plans to continue rolling out to up to 30 sites over the next 5 years. With 600 telephone exchanges spread around New Zealand, the potential is significant.

Dodson says it’s a partnership that means Chorus customers (and potential customers), including retail service providers (RSPs) can now rent ‘rack’ or server facilities for their customers or even their own business..

“But Chorus EdgeCentre Colocation means more than that. It’s good for the regions.”

“For example, a media rendering company that has customers in Hollywood needs super-fast broadband and lots of computing capacity. In the past, that company would have had set up shop in Auckland or Wellington. In the future, they could relocate to Te Kuiti and rent the capacity they need from their RSP via a local Chorus EdgeCentre.”

But what does this mean for your business?

  • Better security: The shorter the line, the less chance there is of something going wrong somewhere along the line, e.g. a natural disaster that interrupts your connection.
  • Lower latency: Think less lag.
  • Speed: It’s never about achieving maximum internet speed, but about maintaining optimum speed levels as continuously as possible, which is easier over a short distance.
  • Less cost: Your business can host services offsite, but locally, at a fraction of what it would have cost you previously.
  • Guaranteed uptimes: Your fibre is very safe because Chorus guarantees 99.74% uptime.
  • More cashflow: Businesses don’t have to spend money on building or renting bespoke data facilities.
  • Independence: Chorus EdgeCentre Colocation effectively means regional businesses are less dependent on main centre or offshore infrastructure.
  • Improved quality: Day-to-day business operations, like your Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)-based PABX, will be more crisp, efficient and reliable.
  • Earthquake bracing of facilities and ample power supply mean that guaranteed uptimes and continuity are now within the grasp of even the smallest businesses.

Smart rubbish bins and other sexy things

Driverless cars and rubbish bins that tell the collection company when they’re full and ready for emptying are all part of the IoT which, in theory, sounds exciting and cool.

Dodson says, however, that like many technology concepts, it’s easier said than done unless an infrastructure company like Chorus can bring the facilities for hosting data processing/cloud technology to ‘almost’ every street corner.

“While there isn’t a telephone exchange or EdgeCentre next door or on every corner, local data processing is the virtual equivalent. Imagine the efficiencies, productivity, savings and opportunities – especially the opportunities – that present themselves when you localise the IoT.”

For example, smart rubbish bins that tell collectors when they are full, or nearly full or still mostly empty will allow those collectors to plan and optimise collection routes targeting just the full bins. Collectors will also know which bins fill up the quickest, which means they can install bigger bins to reduce collection runs, labour and resource wastage.

Beating physics at its own game

“The laws of physics can’t be broken, but Chorus EdgeCentre Colocation infrastructure will certainly help local businesses defeat the historical restrictions of time and space,” Dodson says.

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