If one thing is certain in 2024, it is that technology will continue to drive remarkable advancements. Artificial Intelligence (AI), increasingly becoming integrated into our daily lives, continues to evolve, promising efficiency gains and groundbreaking insights. Quantum moves closer to practical application, which will be another paradigm shift in computing. The flexibility and access cloud computing enables will continue to reshape industries, reaching new heights of innovation and resource optimisation. And, of course, sustainability remains a central focus as organisations aim to reduce their carbon footprint and combat climate change.
As 2024 unfolds, four technology trends will capture attention and shape the future of business.
Quantum is not mainstream yet…
While quantum technology remains in its early stages, Australia stands poised for significant advancements in this field. The Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Science and Resources recognises the nation as a global quantum leader, ‘with some of the best minds in quantum research and applied technology’.
Amid the government’s active support for quantum technology growth, substantial global advancements are quietly underway, albeit less prominently than mainstream technologies. Notably, in Japan last year, Oxford Quantum Circuits democratised quantum adoption by installing its quantum hardware in Equinix’s TY11 Tokyo International Business Exchange (IBX) and leveraged on-demand interconnection solution, Equinix Fabric, to enable companies around the world to trial and experiment with the groundbreaking technology. Cloud providers have also begun integrating third-party quantum tools, such as IonQ and Rigetti, into their infrastructure while developing their own quantum technology.
Undoubtedly, quantum computing holds unprecedented potential, offering problem-solving capabilities distinct from conventional computers, set to revolutionise industries like finance and cybersecurity. Despite being an emerging technology, any progress made in this field carries significant meaning and promise.
The Rise of Private AI
While Chat-GPT brought AI to the mainstream and fueled subsequent hype cycles, enterprises are now carefully evaluating the industrial implementation of AI within their organisations. With generative AI in the wild for just over a year, Gartner predicts AI’s substantial role in enterprise IT in 2024 as organisations look for new business opportunities and cost efficiencies.
Amid the vast opportunities AI offers, there exist corresponding risks that boards and executives must address, particularly after the widespread bans of public AI tools across enterprises and governments. Using public AI is risky for enterprises because any training or inference data they feed into a public AI service could be accessed and stored by the service provider. Also, deploying distributed infrastructure for AI workloads while balancing both costs and performance can be challenging in the public cloud. We can also expect stricter requirements for data sovereignty and privacy for AI; enterprises need to be ready for anything.
Given concerns about data management and protection, the rise of private AI will become a significant trend in 2024 and beyond. Enterprises will adopt private AI strategies to retain control and custody over their data, ensuring AI models are trained on private data for specific use cases.
Ongoing Test of Cloud Economics
Despite facing challenging economic conditions, hyperscalers maintain staggering growth rates. According to an analyst firm, Future Market Insights, the hyperscale cloud market was projected to reach US$221 billion in 2023 and likely reach US$280 billion by the end of 2024.
While these providers offer unparalleled efficiency and capacity to meet the escalating needs of digital organisations, relying only on public cloud storage presents challenges like high data transfer fees, storage costs, and potential egress charges. This has led to some applications being re-platformed away from the cloud, fostering the corresponding growth of a cloud-adjacent storage strategy, which scales evolving storage infrastructure requirements.
Moreover, although the public cloud remains a critical path to the market for storage, hyper scalers are heavily investing in enabling partners and customers to consume their services on-premises, capitalising on favourable economics. Consequently, as cloud providers continue to enrich their technology stacks to create platform value, organisations are increasingly gravitating toward hybrid cloud as the default architecture to enhance flexibility and efficiency.
The growth of our digital footprint must align with sustainability, a commitment underscored by numerous technological and social achievements reflecting our pledge to achieve climate neutrality by 2030. Our metropolitan hubs consistently garner recognition for spearheading significant and measurable sustainability achievements – milestones like leveraging AI for energy efficiency, implementing effective temperature controls, and adopting alternative renewable energy sources mark substantive progress toward our climate neutrality.
Power purchase agreements (PPAs) are a high-impact way for data centres to procure renewables and add new renewable energy sources to local markets. In 2023, we added 15 new wind and solar PPAs in Europe, including Sweden, Spain, Portugal, and France, reaching 20 PPAs and more than 900 megawatts under contract. We’re looking forward to reaching the milestone of one gigawatt in 2024, including Australia. Last year, we also spent US$34 million on 109 efficiency projects in Asia-Pacific, which helped us exceed our power usage effectiveness (PUE) target.
In 2024, driving efficiency remains a crucial metric for both innovation and sustainability. Together with our partners, we eagerly anticipate further collaborations, paving the way toward a brighter, more sustainable, and interconnected world.