With over 30 years of experience working in technology and telecom, DartPoints’ President and CEO Scott Willis has seen a lot of change. He has seen edge computing playing a larger role in the greater data ecosystem. He has observed edge data centers enabling businesses to be more agile, enter new markets more quickly, and deliver services closer to the customer. Moreover, Willis has watched the edge take different shapes, sizes, and definitions across the digital ecosystem.
To tap into Willis’ experience and expertise, we talked to him about the edge, its role in the industry, and the role the edge plays in DartPoints’ overall strategy and long-term goals.
Q: The edge is a topic in nearly every digital infrastructure conversation, but there are so many interpretations of what the edge actually is. Why do you think that is?
Willis: I think one reason the edge is so hard to define is that the edge is not a tangible, static thing. The edge really is not a place, and it does not look the same to everyone in the digital ecosystem. Your definition of the edge depends, for instance, on what industry you are in, and what you are trying to accomplish by reaching the edge.
Q: So, how does DartPoints define the edge?
Willis: At DartPoints, we believe that the edge is neither thing nor place. Instead, we see the edge as a vision. Although it is always evolving, to us, that vision has been clear from the beginning. It is the foundation for what we stand for and for what we aim to provide our customers: a next-generation, cost-effective interconnection ecosystem that serves communities of all sizes. In this way, the edge is not a goal or a tool — it is a way of doing business.
Q: If the edge is a driving force behind DartPoints’ mission, where would you say DartPoints’ edge vision manifests itself?
Willis: In the late 90s, the demand for internet connectivity grew, and data centers were established in well-developed markets such as New York, Dallas, and Chicago. Our mission has been, and remains to be, to empower smaller, mid-size markets by delivering a solution that gives them the ability to harness major market opportunities. Our vision manifests itself most strongly right there. We own, deploy, and operate edge colocation data centers that bring interconnection and peering into these markets.
Q: Over the past 25 years or so, networks driven by a few centralized hyperscale locations have been pivotal for economic output in densely populated, well-connected communities. How do you think DartPoints and its vision of the edge are going to open doors for smaller, mid-size markets?
Willis: Great question. Generally, hyperscalers operate in markets containing substantial infrastructure within a few locations housing massive, multiple-megawatt facilities. Although that method is useful for those companies, that is not our goal, nor does it fit into our vision of the edge. Instead, we focus on mid-size markets that hyperscalers ignore. When smaller markets are seeking large-scale computing capabilities, DartPoints offers the ideal model to serve their needs.
Q: Is this geographical focus what makes DartPoints unique in the data center sector?
Willis: Yes, it is definitely a big part of our differentiators. While other data center companies neglect mid-size markets, we have served, and will continue to serve, mid-size markets to ensure every community has equal access to world-class interconnectivity. What we’re doing is targeting developing U.S. markets that are not addressed by traditional providers or are served by component providers who do not deliver end-to-end enterprise solutions. We are happy to occupy that space in the market, because the businesses and homes in those areas badly need connectivity help. At our core, we believe that all communities deserve equal access to the latest internet infrastructure.
Q: It sounds like DartPoints has a very clear vision for your role in the future of network infrastructure. How does this benefit your customers?
Willis: Broadly speaking, our vision is to do our part in bridging the digital divide and extend the edge farther than ever, facilitating equal access to life-changing technology for every person, business, and community. By focusing on small and mid-size cities, we are leveling the playing field for our customers based in those markets. After all, it is just as important for businesses in Columbus to reach content, applications, and cloud services with the best performance as it is for those in New York City. No matter where an organization is headquartered, security and uptime are critical to its bottom line.
Read more about DartPoints’ edge definition in this recent article published by EdgeIR.