The data-driven future: global datasphere’s rapid growth expected to drive demand on data centers

graph of digital storage capacity as it relates to global data center inventory from 2010 to 2026
  • The global datasphere (data created and replicated worldwide) is growing rapidly and is expected to double in zettabytes* by 2026 relative to the end of 2022, increasing demand on data center space and power. In the top 12 U.S. markets, total data center inventory increased by nearly 50% in 2023.
  • The invention of new technologies, such as the Internet of Things, is driving an exponential increase in data consumption. With these new technologies, previously “dumb” devices are transformed into connected and data-generating tools, and advancing existing technologies requires more data as sophistication increases, like image file sizes.
  • For example, autonomous vehicles (AVs), require storage and processing of extraordinary amounts of sensor data at an estimated four terabytes per car per day. A one-hour virtual and augmented reality experience requires the same amount of data as 17,000 songs. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning necessitate the collection, storage and processing of massive data sets.
  • While it may be premature to assess the direct impact of the AI industry's growth on the national office market, notable expansion in the sector has been observed in key cities such as San Francisco and New York in the short term. However, it's essential to recognize that the industry, at its current scale, is experiencing rapid growth nationwide.
  • The long-term implications will hinge on the pace at which companies embrace AI within their business operations. Job growth, particularly in roles requiring specific AI-related skills, will serve as a crucial indicator of this adoption trend. As companies increasingly integrate AI technologies into their workflows, the broader implications for the office market will become more apparent over time.

*A zettabyte is a unit of measurement used by technology professionals to describe a device's storage capacity.

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