The 25 girls were intrigued. Their field trip to the midwest data center was full of information that was complicated, technical, and fascinating. The tour was part of a summer program that intended to give girls of color and girls living in poverty an opportunity to experience careers that they otherwise might not know about.
Although previous field trips had been to places that were a little more glamorous than a brick and mortar one story data center, the planned presentation was still engaging. It is difficult for a company that focuses on one basic task to compete with a large corporation that is in charge of the railway systems across the nation that transport every kind of product we find in our home. And while the engineering presenters at the large railroad company are practiced at bringing in girls and getting them engaged in building activities, the first question that the data center professional asked as an open had significant impact:
What would you do if you and your parents could not access your internet, could not access the funds attached to your debit and credit cards, access the photos that you have stored online?
The girls looked in silence at each other. Some in panic, some in bewilderment. They said that they knew that they had some cash at home, but not very much. The predicted that it would all be accessible again at some point in the future. Wouldn’t it? The bottom line, however, was the point that the data center presenter wanted to make. We might all last a little while without the internet. We could get by without our photos on our phones, but their parents could not get by for long without new payments into their checking accounts. Their parents could not, the predicted, know if they needed to go in and work an extra shift without internet, because much of that information was distributed online.
The data center employee pointed out that grocery stores, banks, gas stations, and, even, their schools, relied on information that was now 100% online, and that it was the job of a data center to make sure that even if there was an outage, this information would still be kept safely, whenever services were up and running again.
Data Centers, Internet Service Providers, and Other Industries Provide Necessary Support to All Kinds of Customers
In the smallest sense the role of wireless internet service providers is to make sure that we can get our emails, text our friends, and check the weather. In the grand scheme of things, however, the nation’s reliance on the internet is much bigger. The inventory of the stores where we shop relies on the internet. The information that we need for school and college classes relies on the internet. And, in no small part, the services that are provided by hospitals and other emergency providers also rely on internet services.
Consider some of these facts about the local and global use of internet services:
- 70% of Americans accessed the internet on a daily basis in the year 2016.
- 287 million people in the U.S. use the internet.
- 3.77 billion people across the globe use the internet, meaning that the global internet penetration has now surpassed 50%.
- 10% more people across the globe use the internet in the year 2017 than the number who were using the ineternet in the year 2016.
- The number of people living in households that used internet with access through fiber optics more than doubled, increasing by 24 million, between Spring 2014 and Spring 2016.
- Mobile phones account for as much as 50% of web traffic globally.
- The average American spends six hours and 21 minutes on the internet very single day.
- Internet downtime is extremely expensive. In fact, for some companies time without service can cost more than a $100,000 minute.
The data center field trip wrapped up with an opportunity for the young high school women to ask questions. And while the entire storage platform may have been unfamiliar at first, the group asked some very interesting questions by the end of the visit. Understanding some of the structure behind their individual use of the internet allowed them to walk away more informed.