In order to ensure that Canadian businesses can more effectively compete in the global marketplace, municipalities and private enterprises need to further invest in IT infrastructure design and connectivity upgrades, according to London-based economic developer Kadie Ward.
Ward recently founded Build Strong Cities, which is an ICT infrastructure advocacy group that traveled by train from Halifax to Vancouver in May to promote the many benefits that cities and businesses can realize with increased connectivity. In a recent interview published on the Cisco Canada blog, Ward noted that many parts of the country lack optimal Internet connectivity, and that is hampering enterprise growth in those locations.
“The purpose of the ride is to continue the discussion around infrastructure in Canada,” she said. “[Fifty-three percent] of our roads are in need of repair, over 80,000 bridges are falling apart, investment in transit is being cut across the nation, and still many parts of our country do not have access to reliable Internet. Our country was founded on the notion of connecting east and west. In the 19th century building the railroad sealed the deal for confederation, and yet we are still very disconnected. The 21st century offers a new platform to connect our vast nation i.e. fibre, and that must enter into the dialogue as we plan for future prosperity.”
A key example of this problem, according to Ward, is how spotty Internet connectivity is in more remote parts of Canada. Although the IT infrastructure design in cities like Toronto is state of the art, many rural geographies lack consistent Wi-Fi access, for example. As a result, businesses located in these regions may be far less likely to succeed over the next few years.
Why Internet connectivity is more important than ever
Too often, Internet connectivity and the infrastructure that supports most of the today’s enterprise-critical processes is an afterthought at many businesses because it is often not a visible entity, Ward said. However, municipalities and enterprises cannot afford to neglect this, as it has become far more central to ensuring continued business success.
“In my opinion, ICT infrastructure is not well understood,” she said. “It’s ephemeral to most. However, fibre-optic cables run the bottom of the ocean and under-ground much like hydro lines, sewage pipes, and all other forms of infrastructure. It’s very physical and as we move forward in upgrading infrastructure or building new infrastructure for Canadian municipalities, it should very much be considered a utility and prioritized in planning.”
According to Cisco’s most recent global IP traffic forecast, the amount of data being transmitted over the Internet worldwide will go from 523 exabytes in 2012 to 1.4 zettabytes in 2017. By that year, the number of global Internet users should reach 3.6 billion, with 19 billion networked devices in existence by then. As the number of people and businesses reliant on the Internet increases, so too do networking demands. To meet the needs of tomorrow, companies and cities should consider what steps can be taken today.
Organizations looking to update and refine their IT infrastructure design in light of these issues and expected trends should leverage a managed IT services firm like FlexITy. By taking a thorough and holistic approach with its IT consulting services that accounts for all variables, FlexITy’s expert staff ensure that the solutions provided today are capable of meeting tomorrow’s needs as well.