Clement Goh (Asia) - Singapore Swings Ahead in 2013 Trends

After a year of robust growth, 2013 is poised to be another season of data-driven acceleration for the Asia-Pacific data center markets. Singapore has been uniquely placed to take advantage of the data surge. The new data stimulants of cloud services, mobile content, personal content, social media and the big data demands of MNC-driven sectors are set to take us to new data consumption highs in 2013. We spotlight the key themes facing the Singapore market.

Data protection
The Singapore government has committed heavily to the issues surrounding security and regulation for storing structured and unstructured data. It has implemented a lot of law and regulation around how this data is housed, providing a safer environment for data and protecting local investors.

A regulatory trend is emerging across Asia-Pacific where data housing must be localized as countries have different key industries they want to protect. Data center operators that can invest locally will be well placed to be the heroes in the battle for data protection.

Geography and digital destiny
As a regional subsea cable hub, Singapore enjoys the established position of being one of the biggest ports in the world for trade and for digital sailing. This is not just an efficient way to distribute traffic through the region but also the safest in terms of insulation from natural disasters.

Recently we have seen a shift in the types of investors in those cable consortiums, from pure telecommunications players to content providers like Google, Facebook and Yahoo! who are investing heavily in new cable projects. As bandwidth demands accelerate, the new protagonists driving the subsea cable investment market will emerge from the digital content sectors.

Singapore's data honey hub
The Singapore government knows how to attract the Queen Bees of the economy. The strategy is simple, by attracting the big players in key sectors like the finance sector, the smaller competitors inevitably follow. This will lead to an increase in demand for data housing. To draw high value businesses and services into Singapore, the government offers a range of indirect or direct incentives from tax incentives to low cost industrial rate land allocation, to creating the right university courses to stimulate the talent pool for IT graduates in demand.

Skills pipeline
Producing the right talent for emerging industries is core to the Singaporean agenda. Looking ahead we will see an increase in the talent pool with local universities producing more graduates in electronic engineering and cloud specialists. Singapore has evolved from being manufacturing-focussed to a technology and biotech center of excellence.

Data growth gets deeper than cloud demand
A driver that will remain key in the year ahead is mobile. The increasing use of mobile devices means that a constant stream of structured and unstructured data is being created. The next evolution will be the mining of this fixed and mobile data in more pervasive ways. Data mining will emerge as the dominant force for market analysis, decision-making and trend forecasts.

The mobile battle will continue
The rise and growth of the mobile app economy will be unstoppable in the year ahead but the battle across competing standards will also continue without a resolution. It will take years for any kind of consolidation among competing operating systems to take place. The battle will not be won this year and ultimately may become more complicated. WiFi will also continue to embed itself and don't be surprised if cameras enjoy liberation from the handset and vice versa.

By Clement Goh, Managing Director, Equinix South Asia



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