Navigating the challenge of COVID-19 has forced many companies to embrace remote access to data by adopting document management software. Iron Mountain Inc. (NYSE: IRM) recently announced the launch of the InSight content management services platform. This program uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) operating on Visual User Interface on Google’s (GOOG) Cloud Marketplace.
Over the past three months, Iron Mountain’s stock has risen by more than 9% as demand for digital data centers has soared due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company’s increasing acquisition of network ecosystems and the dynamic shift to data handling by AI/ML and robotics will also work to improve the stock price as countries seek to secure data after recent economic sabotage from the pandemic and protests.
AI and the data footprint
The International Data Corporation (IDC) anticipated that the growth of the global datasphere would soar from 33 Zettabytes (ZB) in 2018 to 175 ZB by 2025. At the same time, 49% of all the stored data in the world will be found in public cloud environments- such as Google’s cloud marketplace.
As early as 2019, a survey by Gartner showed that 37% of the leading global organizations had incorporated AI in some form. Another survey in 2020 showed that in the next 12 months, 84% of the respondents would be focused on cyber-security, 37% on AI and 33% would automate their organizational processes using robotics.
Gartner also predicted that by 2024, 50% of all AI investments will be quantified and further linked to specific key performance indicators to assess return on investment (ROI). Thus, IRM’s launch of InSight is connected to measurement of its customers’ ROI in order to determine profitability relative to the costs, especially at a time of economic uncertainties. While the report estimates that 1.8 million jobs will be lost by 2020 as a result of AI, a new net-job balance of 2.3 million will be added to the employment grid in the same period. In one sense, the full migration of AI presents a challenge to the current job market.
The challenges of adopting AI and ML were categorized into four points. The first is maturity of the enterprise that mainly encompasses skill of the workforce. The second is the suspense and fear attached to AI migration due to the inadequate knowledge of its benefits. The third is the funding and the fourth is the vendor strategy.
Marketing Strategy in The Use of IRM’s InSight
In order to help organizations overcome these challenges, IRM has invested heavily in improving data management in healthcare, maintaining high-performance computing (HPC) in life sciences, promoting cyber-security. It also ensures business efficiency and continuity in the banking/insurance sectors as well as in media and entertainment.
In the financial Industry, IRM will use InSight to help customers leverage high-tech proprietary models to identify the visibility of their loan files. As companies and individuals move to recover from COVID-19, they will seek help from financial agencies. These institutions will need to process high volumes of paper-based claims to determine the eligibility of their clients during the pandemic. The platform will help these agencies speed up loan processing while adhering to policies governing information guidance.
In the insurance sector, InSight will help customers recognize possible anomalies in filing loss claims. It will help identify fraudulent cases that may arise. In the media industry, the platform will help protect brands by locating violations to copyrights and align the current repositories with external metadata. InSight’s availability on Google Cloud will help the users with AI/ML skills to glean all the advantages of digitization.
Expanding Network Ecosystems and Data Centers
On June 8th 2020, IRM announced a pre-lease agreement with a Fortune 100 Customer company (from the US) . The company signed the 27 megawatt (MW) data-center lease (at its new FRA-1 data center) in Frankfurt, Germany. In the deal, the customer will be allowed to lease the entire 27 megawatt turn-key data center for 5 years, with the lease expected to begin in 2021. The announcement of this deal caused IRM’s stock price to reach a three-month high of $30.56.
Later on June 25th 2020, IRM announced that it had signed a 3 megawatt (MW) data center lease with a Fortune Global 200 company in Singapore. The ratification took place at the company’s SIN-1 data center in Singapore.
Globally, Iron Mountain has 14 operational data-centers across 13 economic markets and three continents. These facilities can support more than 350 megawatts of IT capacity at full build-out. Iron Mountain plans to increase this output to support the expansion plan with Google’s cloud platform for AI/ML.
Technology providers like IRM and cloud solutions have experienced a surge in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Still the current data centers are reliant on human intervention. The centers can experience outages due to minimal human activities as a result of the pandemic or protests as recently witnessed in America and Hong Kong. Of special importance is the impact on utilities and supplies like fuel that may stop operations all together. Further, if the technical staff are unable to get to the sites, then it will be impossible to run operations normally.
It will be imperative for IRM to consider having manifold data centers so as to harness the intrinsic resilience obtained from geographical diversity. In the case of a pandemic such as COVID-19, all centers can be simultaneously affected, thus bring operations to a halt for a long period of time. It will be important to consider design futures of the centers and the support system. Other key aspects include:
- Strong provisional power source
- Back-up system
- Facility auto-support structures that can operate with staff
Company-owned data centers have a higher power consumption rate than the hyperscale/cloud-based data-centers. The latter have greater incentives for energy efficiency. In essence, companies like Amazon (AMZN), Google, Microsoft and (MSFT) work on reducing their power purchase expenses so as to increase their bottom lines.
Hyperscale/cloud based data centers such as Microsoft’s (pictured above) was deployed in water as it operates on hydro energy. Loon balloons from Google are also powered by solar energy bringing into focus the need for renewable energy for data centers. New-build data centers should provide solutions to using energy efficiently in order to control temperature and increase the renewable use of power.
Major industry changes will see heightened application of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and robotics by 2021. These three will further enhance recognition of potential faults within the data centers. They will also provide prevention measures against malpractices. Finally, they will ensure facilities have reliable services.
IRM will take advantage of Edge computing and micro data centers. These two will not only support more technologies but also support a complex dataset from the Internet of Things (IoT). For example, in Singapore where the SIN-1 data center is located there is the push to use the 5G network to support local businesses.
Singapore’s Telco giant M1 recently won the rights to run the 5G network and use it to advance the city’s infrastructure. The company prized for its successful completion of IoT projects aims to develop virtual environments using the network to help in business, medical research and education. Mustafa Kapasi, Chief Commercial Officer at M1 helped to break down the virtual benefit of the 5G network
Imagine somebody sitting in Boston doing eye surgery for you in Singapore, it was rocket science some years back, but with 5G, it is very possible. Or you can imagine yourself being taught by a Harvard professor in your home without having to travel and take tutoring classes from that person directly.”
Iron Mountain Inc. is headed for a major bull-run due to its new InSight platform. The company plans to revolutionize the application of AI, ML and robotics as the world moves past the COVID-19 recession. Singapore’s incorporation of the 5G network will be a turning point to IRM as the company operates the SIN-1 data center there. Technology providers like IRM and Google cloud solutions have experienced a surge in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. IRM will expand its current base of data-centers to meet demand as the global datasphere is expected to soar to 175 ZB by 2025.
Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.