Craig Doyle joined CommScope, a partner to Host in Ireland, in 2004. He has held various sales management positions in key regions before becoming Senior Solution Market Manager for the EMEA region in 2017. With 20 years of experience in telecommunications and networking, Craig is well-versed in helping address customer challenges — from both an enterprise and service provider perspective.
Craig’s extensive experience in strategic business development has enabled him to successfully support distribution relationships, drive sales and promote solutions initiatives throughout the U.S., UAE and EMEA regions. In his current role, he supports CommScope’s sales, technical and marketing groups in promoting the company’s enterprise solutions portfolio and providing an interface to product management, R&D and manufacturing.
Host in Ireland Founder and President Garry Connolly recently spoke with Craig about CommScope’s role in today’s data centre market.
Host in Ireland, Garry Connolly (HIR-GC) Question: Who is CommScope? Can you give me some background on the company?
CommScope, Craig Doyle (CS-CD) Answer: CommScope is a U.S.-based company, located in more than a hundred countries around the world.
CommScope helps design, build and manage wired and wireless networks around the world. As a communications infrastructure leader, the company is focused on shaping the always-on networks of tomorrow, investing approximately $200 million a year in research and development.
CommScope has been a substantial partner in enabling communications for 75 percent of the world’s population. In its 40-plus years, CommScope made three transformative acquisitions that built on market opportunities and created its prominent role in the network infrastructure industry today:
- 2004 – Avaya Connectivity Solutions and the SYSTIMAX portfolio
- 2007 – Andrew Corporation
- 2015 – TE Connectivity’s Broadband Network Solutions business
Today, CommScope is a multi-billion dollar global leader and innovator in the communications infrastructure industry that employs approximately 20,000 people in all parts of the world.
HIR-GC Q: The Edge is everything and IoT is everything. So, where does CommScope fit in terms of the Edge and IoT?
CS-CD A: Evolving applications such as Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous vehicles and Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR and VR) all require data processing to occur closer to the edge. Moving the computing closer to the data origination point reduces the latency from tens and hundreds of milliseconds to five milliseconds or less. This is required to enjoy the immersive experience needed for these applications.
Edge computing is an attractive investment, both from the telecoms and cloud sectors as well as vertical sectors like retail and manufacturing. At their 2017 Data Centre Conference, Gartner forecasted that 40 percent of large enterprises will be integrating edge computing principles into their projects by 2021. The current figure is at less than one percent, so we’re anticipating continued interest from customers. And no wonder, because the demand for a better and faster customer experience is constantly increasing, along with latency as our networks grow and become more widely distributed.
Speed, in terms of time to deploy new data centres, becomes the largest challenge. Whether it’s improving capacity, finding ways to decrease latency or creating connectivity, fibre is the foundation for networks in the future.
CommScope helps customers respond to the impact of increased machine-to-machine communications. Deploying high-density fibre from the get-go to allow fast machine-to-machine conversations is the ideal scenario. A modular, high-speed platform that can support multiple equipment generations is the best option.
HIR-GC Q: Do you see a time where CommScope becomes a “smart” solution provider. For example, the “smart” building, the “smart” data centre. Is that the ultimate objective?
CS-CD A: Half the world’s population is connected — it’s not a luxury anymore. Cities are already connected with fibre, and broadband is the de facto service, but IoT devices will require much deeper fibre. Consider that IoT devices may be placed on every light pole in a city, for example. Citizens expect the same user experience outside of buildings that they receive inside connected buildings. 5G technology will offer higher bandwidth, massive machine-to-machine communications, and low-latency, high-reliability communications for outdoor applications such as autonomous vehicles. To enable 5G, mobile operators will have to build denser and more capable wireless networks.
CommScope’s strategic goal is to be the primary provider of connectivity infrastructure for smart cities worldwide. CommScope connects buildings, cell towers, street gear, people, sensors and other devices throughout the city and within commercial buildings and venues with a broad portfolio of fibre, copper cable and wireless connectivity solutions. Any public or private network, whether wired or wireless, can be enabled by CommScope infrastructure solutions.
To facilitate its strategy of becoming the primary connectivity infrastructure provider, CommScope participates in the broader Smart City ecosystem through memberships and active participation in several relevant consortia:
Smart Cities Council – CommScope is a member of this industry-wide organization that conducts research and workshops for municipalities on the smart city development path.
US Ignite – CommScope is currently a sponsor in the Platform for Advanced Wireless Research Project (PAWR) and Smart City Forum.
TIA – CommScope is currently a member of the TIA standards body and joined their Smart City Committee and Edge Data Centre Workgroups.
IEC – Through TIA, CommScope participates at IEC meetings as a US TAG member and on the Smart City Systems Committee.
HIR-GC Q: Because you spent time in the both countries, let’s talk about the differences between the U.S. and Ireland data centre business.
CS-CD A: There is an evolution of the data centre business in Europe: facilities have evolved from the private enterprise to colocation and hosting models, and now, to the hyperscale data centre. Requirements are not being driven by the data centres, but rather the data itself. Questions that are being asked today are: What is the application? What is the data? What is the transaction?
There are many hyperscalers based in the U.S. As large enterprises migrate more applications to the cloud, they decentralize computing as well as these applications. This is creating a movement away from major metros such as New York and New Jersey into states such as Virginia and Utah with the infrastructure to support their data.
The goal is to maximize customers’ cost-to-value, cost-to-process and cost-to-store. This move has driven the development of the specialist data centre. These are close to the city centres and close to the big metros, and offer a mixture of private client, colocation and the Edge. This trend is happening in Europe. Tier I cities are changing their data centres. Tier II marketplaces now also have the infrastructure and all of the data centre requirements any Tier I city may have.
HIR-GC Q: In terms of the whole world’s proximity, is it the “things,” or is the data centre?
CS-CD A: There’s no avoiding the fact that, with the number of connected devices continuing to grow, and the volume of machine-to-machine communication growing at the same time, problems will arise. After all, machines are only ever as good as the programming and algorithms that control them, and this will always make them vulnerable to manipulation by humans and, in some cases, other machines.
As I stated previously, evolving applications such as IoT, autonomous vehicles, and AR and VR require that data processing occur closer to the edge. Cloud computing, on the other hand, provides the base needed for complex analytics, artificial / assisted learning (AI) and long-term data storage / warehousing.
From a regional perspective, we’re seeing many hyperscale and cloud providers using multi-tenant data centres in the region, which frees up the enterprise to focus on their core businesses.
In Europe, we’re seeing a growth mindset in secondary cities where prices are more favourable. For example, Marseille powers Africa and the Middle East, while Stockholm caters to Eastern Europe and Russia.
HIR-GC Q: Let’s discuss scale when it comes to fibre points like Point of Presence (PoP) exchange rooms for global clients and how that is growing. One of your colleagues in North America told me they were heading into a meeting to discuss 10 million PoPs. Ten million!
CS-CD A: In the past, the drivers were hyperscale or specific telecommunication operators that were at that scale. Now, we’re seeing many different organizations with requirements to dedicate the infrastructure to what they’re doing. The reality is that the infrastructure created at the base of the technology is expanding and density is becoming very important, but then it becomes scaled. So, you’re seeing environments inside data centres that were hundreds to thousands of connections now becoming thousands to hundreds of thousands. Requirements are driving the evolution in which companies build their data centres. This point is also driving change in terms of what they consider as white space that customers bought, leased, or required for their back office operations. These points are becoming part of the evolving data centre concept to grow with customers and successfully grow as a company.
HIR-GC Q: Thank you for your time today, Craig. For more information about CommScope, visit www.commscope.com.
To learn more about Host in Ireland, visit www.hostinireland.com.