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As the rate of digital transformation accelerates, data centres are increasingly expanding into new locations. These so-called emerging markets are not only benefitting from the experience of Tier 1 locations, they are, in many cases, embracing the opportunity to avoid obvious mistakes and redefine how data centres are designed, built and operated.

As the number of new facilities in places such as Asia, Africa and Latin America grows exponentially, sustainability and energy efficiency are priorities alongside economic growth. So to assess whether the experiences of the past are creating better data centres for the future, Inside_Networks has assembled a panel of experts to examine the opportunities presented by the data centre sector in emerging markets and identify what lessons established locations can learn from them.

One of the issues faced by emerging data centre markets is finding people with the skills and know how required – but this isn’t unique to them. The global skills shortage is nothing new and the problem of attracting and maintaining talent is one that shows little sign of going away. To highlight the scale of the issue, Uptime Institute’s August 2023 Staffing and Recruitment Survey found that 58 per cent data centre operators are having difficulty finding qualified candidates.

We are in a bizarre situation where one of the biggest growth sectors on the planet can’t find enough people to work in it. In this issue, Jon Healy of Keysource looks at how the ongoing skills shortage is affecting project delivery and why increased collaboration across the supply chain is needed. Then our old friend Andrew Stevens of CNet Training shares his thoughts on employee education and development strategies across the digital infrastructure industry.

Also in this issue we focus on fibre optic cabling standards, with two excellent articles on the subject. In the first, Manja Thessin of AFL examines the rapid evolution of fibre optic standards. Richard Ednay of Optical Technology Training (OTT) then provides some fascinating personal insight and asks whether standards are really a reliable source of information.

Rob Shepherd
Editor