With more than 20 billion connected devices expected to be in use by next year, businesses are seeking new solutions for collecting, analyzing and storing a vast and continually growing volume of data.

But more data is just the first challenge when considering storage solutions. There’s also how data will be created and consumed — often by other devices, and in larger datasets for content like online videos, healthcare information, and game applications.

Through this expanded connectivity, data creation and consumption now occur in hospitals, bank branches, satellite offices, sports stadiums or arenas, retail stores, and restaurants through an array of connected devices —health-tracking devices, ATMs, photocopiers, security cameras, and inventory trackers, to name a few.

Capturing all this information in larger volumes and faster speeds than ever before becomes more than a centralized cloud can adequately handle. Storing data for high availability in a data center, private cloud, or public cloud becomes more costly. Storing and processing data at the edge on a Network Storage Node (i.e, a Point of Presence) with CenturyLink Network Storage solves both problems by bringing cloud computing and storage capabilities to data, wherever it is.

With more than 100 edge locations, CenturyLink’s highly dynamic network can deliver latency under 5 milliseconds, real-time provisioning, as well as a bridge through Cloud Connect Dynamic Connections to Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google public clouds.

Poised to Benefit a Broad Set of Industries

The healthcare industry, for one, sees new possibilities for delivering patient care through Internet of Things (IoT) devices connected to the edge. Access to patient-generated health data offers healthcare providers critical information about their patients in real time, faster and more efficiently than databases that are centrally located and often incomplete. Medical devices can also gather and process data throughout treatment.

Sports teams that want to provide fans the ability to watch games from any virtual location at a stadium or arena need video and audio equipment that can serve the experience with no more time delay than live TV broadcasts. Connectivity needs are also expanding as sports complexes grow to include restaurants, shops and other businesses.

Banks can combine edge computing and storage with smartphone apps to better determine services their customers need. ATMs and kiosks can also gather and process data, making them more responsive and able to offer more features.

In high-volume financial trading, a millisecond of lag in a trading algorithm computation can result in huge losses. Edge computing architecture places servers in data centers closer to world stock exchanges to run resource-intensive algorithms at the source, providing the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Restaurants and retail stores storing IoT data on a Network Storage Node can process it at the edge and replicate it to a core data center for aggregated analytics. The low latency a business can achieve by placing data and storage milliseconds apart results in a personal, predictable, consistent customer experience.

At the store, edge analytics allow retailers to better understand what their customers want. Supply chain information can be read in real time, reducing the risk of merchandise being out of stock. Or, they can send targeted advertisements and change interactive displays based on their interests.

Surveys show customers will pay more for the same thing if the experience is more satisfying. CenturyLink Network Storage helps these businesses and more reduce frustration and churn, and returns potential lost revenue to their bottom lines.

Stretching IT budgets, optimizing their network, increasing security, or being able to respond faster to business demands requires a combination of networking and solutions experience that makes CenturyLink a strong partner for enabling customers’ digital transformation needs.