Data Center POST Interview with John Hewitt, President of the Americas, Vertiv

By Contributing Editor, Kathy Xu

John Hewitt is President of the Americas at Columbus, Ohio based Vertiv. Vertiv designs, builds, and services critical infrastructure that enables vital applications. Its portfolio is comprised of power, cooling and IT infrastructure solutions and services, extending from the cloud to the edge of the network. Hewitt has been with Vertiv since October 2017, and oversees operations and business development in the United States, Latin America, and Canada.

Data Center POST recently had the opportunity to speak with Hewitt in preparation for Edge Congress 2018 in Austin, Texas.

Data Center POST, Kathy Xu (DCP-KX) Question:  Tell our readers about your company: What do you do and what problems are you attempting to solve?  

Vertiv, John Hewitt (V-JH) Answer: Vertiv brings together hardware, software, analytics and ongoing services to ensure our customers’ vital applications run continuously, perform optimally and grow with their business needs. Vertiv solves the most important challenges facing today’s data centers, communication networks and commercial and industrial facilities with a portfolio of power, cooling and IT infrastructure solutions and services that extends from the cloud to the edge of the network.

DCP-XX Q: We understand that edge is a popular topic in computing today. What does the edge mean to Vertiv?

V-JH A: We have been hearing about edge computing for years. What that meant in the past was typically better described as distributed computing. Now edge has expanded far beyond distributed models to encompass any method of computing that is moved outside a traditional data center to be closer to the end consumer of the data. Vertiv recently researched this topic and found more than 100 common edge use cases. Based on similar features of the data sets and compute requirements, we identified archetypes that will help businesses better understand how to address challenges such as latency and data capacity, and learn how to future-proof their infrastructure. Some of the fastest growing use cases include HD content distribution, autonomous cars, smart cities and buildings, digital health and augmented reality.

DCP-XX Q:  Let’s take look at Vertiv’s solutions. How has the market been adopting Vertiv? Are there any surprising ways that companies are using your services that are unique?

V-JH A: Our customers often surprise us with unique needs, and we are happy to rise to the challenge. Some recent edge cases include fish farms looking for new ways to apply technology for more sustainable operations – monitoring fish health and managing the feeding schedules by applying sensors, monitors, servers and communications technology. 5G is revolutionary for the communications industry, and telecom companies are finding ways to efficiently update the infrastructure supporting cell sites and other connections, enabling a transition to 5G technology while continuing to support their current equipment.

DCP-XX Q: Let’s look at trends as it relates to retail. What major trends and technologies do you see as transformational to the edge space and how Vertiv plays a role?

V-JH A: Retail is racing to transform all aspects of their business to optimize customer experience, from in-store to online to warehouse. Some brands are deploying unique experiences in brick and mortar stores – such as smart mirrors that allow shoppers to browse for other sizes and accessories in the fitting room, and augmented reality apps to navigate the store space. Warehouses are deploying robots and digital tools that reduce cost and provide improved access to data that enables a faster and more reliable experience. Online availability remains a focus, with more businesses adding or growing their online presence.

DCP-XX Q: Smart cities is a hot topic today. Is there a connection between edge computing and Smart Cities and infrastructure?

V-JH A: Another segment making a huge impact on edge computing is Smart Cities. More cities are moving toward using data collection and sensors to intelligently manage resources efficiently, changing how we live and work, and changing the landscape of edge computing.

In terms of technology, the movement is toward scalable, intelligent infrastructure to support all of these transformational applications. An agile infrastructure allows for rapid deployment and change, and intelligence allows distributed architectures to be centrally monitored and managed.

DCP-XX Q:  Let’s take a look at future possibilities for Vertiv. What new developments and initiatives can we anticipate from Vertiv as we head toward 2019?

V-JH A: Vertiv will be sharing a new cloud-based monitoring platform that empowers customers with deeper insights across the data center and remote sites, to identify and predict problems before they occur. This allows businesses to optimize physical and human resources while securely accessing the information needed to meet SLAs.

You can also expect to see more integrated edge infrastructure solutions that meet customer challenges of fast deployment, scalability, availability, security and efficiency.

DCP-XX Q: Edge will be a major topic at this event.  What do you look forward to learning and discovering at Edge Congress?

V-JH A: Vertiv partners with many of the industry leaders contributing to the conference and attending the sessions. I’m looking forward to listening to their ideas and hearing about what excites them about the edge. We have a lot to learn from each other, and I’m excited about collaborating on ways to surprise our customers with innovations and solutions to meet current challenges and to ease the path for future changes.

DCP-KX Q: Thank you for your time, John. We are looking forward to Edge Congress 2018.