March Basketball and Data Centers: Swish!

By: David Meredith, senior vice president, CenturyLink
March is the time of the year for college basketball’s biggest tournament. For basketball fans, and millions of college students, the next few weeks will contain action-packed excitement as they watch their favorite teams compete for this year’s championship.

However, many of us basketball fans have other time commitments (family activities, work, travel, etc.) that preclude us from being able to watch live games on network TV. Enter smart devices: Items like our smart phones, tablets and smart TVs allow us to watch the games in real-time, on portable devices, from anywhere at any time. Even airplanes have Wi-Fi capability now; I can get my hoops fix from 35,000 feet in the air!

Smart devices are everywhere and new ones are introduced to the market constantly; many users own and use more than one device to access the Internet every day. By the end of 2014, the number of global Internet users was expected to be almost 3 billion, according to the International Telecommunications Union.

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Internet of Things

We refer to the myriad of connected smart devices (the Apple Watch, smart TVs, smart cars, etc.) and the communication between them as the Internet of Things (IoT). As the numbers of connected devices grow, so, too, does the demand and strain placed on IT networks. For perspective, last summer 1.5 million viewers live-streamed the USA-Belgium World Cup soccer match from their Internet-enabled devices. This level of traffic, in addition to the large amount of computing power we use daily, takes a lot of back-end infrastructure to support it.

Also, smart devices create huge amounts of data that needs to be transmitted and analyzed, while we users expect fast, secure and always–on Internet service. For companies supplying the IT muscle for the Internet’s back-end infrastructure, providing uptime, security and storage is paramount. Plus, today’s savvy businesses want the ability to scale their IT needs up and down to meet their users’ and customers’ demands. According to IT hardware maker Cisco Systems, the number of connected objects making up the IoT is expected to reach 50 billion by 2020.

Businesses need an IT plan executed with Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski precision and cannot rely on a lucky half-court shot to win.

IoT, Big Data and Data Centers

As billions of devices are connected around the globe, and the enormous amount of data generated rises, so does the need for powerful back-end computing power. The connection between the IoT, huge amounts of data (aka, big data) and the need for state-of-the-art data centers are intertwined. Without reliable, secure and fast IT infrastructure to support it, our ability to watch some of the best March basketball games on our smart devices is diminished.

CenturyLink is proud to provide the reliable connectivity and support needed to power today’s and tomorrow’s connected devices. And we provide the same reliability, security and uptime to our enterprise customers. Our data centers are built to very exacting standards. We’ve pledged to certify all of our 58 global data centers to Uptime Institute’s Management and Operations Stamp of Approval. No other global data center provider has committed to this same level of excellence in data center operations.

In our opinion, the slam-dunk winner behind all of the best sports programming available via our smart devices is the data center. The next time you stream your favorite sports game, send a text or order a pizza through an app, think about the computing power behind the device in your hand… the data center deserves a lot of credit in this always-on, connected world.
See one of our global data centers in action; take a tour of a CenturyLink data center near you.

This blog originally ran in ForbesBrandVoice

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