How Netlinkz built the Virtual Invisible Network for the global data economy
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ASX-listed technology company Netlinkz (ASX:NET) is positioning for global growth with its Virtual Invisible Network – a patented solution that will allow clients to take back control of their data management.
Over the next decade, data-focused products and services are set to play a critical role in the global economy.
Analysis from global consulting firm McKinsey indicates that data insights which power further advancements in artificial intelligence will generate more than $US10 trillion in economic activity by 2030.
As the industry progresses, the race is on for new technologies to adapt within that broader shift, and that’s where Netlinkz is planning to capitalise.
The company’s core product offering is its Virtual Invisible Network, a globally patented secure-transmission mechanism that can be integrated with existing Internet of Things (IoT) networks, and cloud data operations.
The software is deployed via Netlinkz’s VSN edge device, which allows clients to securely manage their data transmission and storage remotely, without relying on an external provider.
The technology behind the Virtual Invisible Network was developed in response to the fact that in the new data economy, effective systems working at the ‘edge’ will be crucial.
That’s because currently, the global data economy – for both transmission and storage – is becoming increasingly centralised.
The major players in the sector, such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, are fostering the path to centralisation by providing simple on-boarding pathways for their respective cloud services.
However, the race to monopolise platform services may also lead to problems down the track, which Netlinkz highlighted in a recent industry Whitepaper:
“The infrastructure of the data economy currently is torn between two poles. It mainly consists of huge data centres packed with servers where data is stored and crunched. Yet such centralisation has drawbacks not least because it consumes huge amounts of energy and has privacy issues. A decentralisation counter movement is already underway; more data processed at the edge, closer to where it is collected,” Netlinkz said.
In turn, there’s a market opportunity for smaller, customised solutions that exist at the ‘edge’ of the major cloud networks – and that’s the market in which Netlinkz is positioning for growth.
As data becomes a central component of the global economy, moving storage and transmission services closer to the source will be crucial to avoid bottlenecks and security threats.
And the Netlinkz VSN – a virtual secure network – is built to address that specific pain point, by providing an additional layer of connectivity for IoT devices.
“The biggest challenge companies face now is how to decentralise their networks,” Netlinkz CEO James Tsiolis says.
“With the VSN, you can quickly establish a remote network from a central network. Take the example of a manufacturing plant that deploys IoT sensors to monitor and improve productivity. By using the VSN for that monitoring system, the company can build a cloud-based solution at the source, so it doesn’t have to transmit data back to a central cloud.”
Customers can then manage their data transmission via the company’s Virtual Security Manager – a dashboard that allows for real-time data monitoring and flexible routing pathways depending on local area network (LAN) traffic patterns.
Completing the service offering is the Virtual Security Controller, which interacts with the VSM and has two sub-components – the VSS (Virtual Security Switch) and VSB (Virtual Security Broker) – which manage the two key aspects of the VSN application; security and transmission.
The net result is a product which allows customers to keep pace with the evolution of their IOT ecosystem and cloud infrastructure, retain intellectual property, and build the value of their business.
The service is also equipped for mobile phone connectivity, which Tsiolis says puts it a step ahead of the competition.
“For example, the problem with Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) routing networks is that they don’t have compatibility with mobile, because it’s too expensive,” he said.
“The challenge is to have aggregated, decentralised cloud usage and price that accordingly. The VSN is software-based, which means customers don’t have to load up with additional hardware and that makes it cost-effective.”
The VSN models designed for deployment at the physical network edge have WiFi connectivity and advanced processing speeds (up to 1GBps throughput), enabling them to support the data connection and transfer requirements of vast numbers of IoT devices.
“When deployed at the network edge, the VSR provides an “out-of-the-box” solution for the data quantity, transfer and aggregation problems of the IoT network,” Netlinkz says.
However, incumbent players in the market also have a commercial interest in centralising the data economy.
For example, Amazon Web Services offers 14 different access points for companies to use the AWS cloud. Making access simpler creates a network effect, where AWS can monetise different data sets as clients then move more of their systems onto the cloud.
But from Netlinkz’ perspective, a counter-movement is already underway, with the evolution of new technology such as “data lakes” which allow data to be managed closer to the source.
And as more companies pivot to customised data solutions that offer security and high-speed transmission at low cost, getting a step ahead of the competition will be crucial as the market develops over the next decade.
In that sense, the Virtual Invisible Network – deployed through the VSN edge device – is already a market leader with a proven, patented technology offering.
And via its research hub in Beijing, Netlinkz (together with subsidiary company iLinkAll) has the resources to continue building out its product offering as the market develops.
By adopting the VSN, individual clients can take control of the storage and transmission of critical company data in a localised way, removing the need for over-reliance on centralised cloud services.
“One of the limitations with centralised cloud providers is that you can’t buy your cloud usage as and when you need it – and that’s where the market’s moving,” Tsiolis says.
In a multi trillion-dollar industry such as the data economy, getting first-mover advantage with a new tech feature such as the VSN leaves Netlinkz positioned for growth in the global data economy.
The Netlinkz devices are shipped to clients “pre-configured for installation at the ‘edge’,” Netlinkz says. And once connected, they are authenticated and automatically ready for use.
“From that point, all data moving out of the IOT network into the cloud takes the most efficient path across the underlying network infrastructure and is protected with strong encryption from end-to-end.”
The technology provides customers with a flexible and adaptable solution to keep pace with the evolution of their IoT ecosystem and cloud infrastructure, retain intellectual property, and build the value of their business through the adoption of new operational models made possible by technology.”
As it looks to embark on the next phase of its growth strategy, the company remains well capitalised with strategic partnerships in place across Australia, China, Japan and the US.
Looking ahead, Netlinkz is focused on maximising tailwinds from the COVID-19 crisis, which has reinforced the importance of secure mechanisms around data storage and transmission as the global economy adopts more remote-working solutions.
With minimal disruption from the pandemic, the company is on track to meet its calendar-year revenue targets for 2020, as it prepares for its next phase of growth in 2021.
Whatever shape the global economy takes in the wake of the pandemic, the disruption has served to reinforce the importance of innovative data solutions as both companies and institutions move to an increasingly digital operating model.
And for the Netlinkz executive team, the opportunity is there to capitalise on the VSN’s first-mover technology advantage, with multiple distribution channels in a field that will inevitably take on an increasingly global application over the next 10 years and beyond.