Before joining AMS-IX, Mark worked for Interxion, a pan-European, carrier-neutral colocation organisation. As an AMS-IX customer for over ten years, he knew the organisation well. “Over the past five years, I’ve been particularly focused on developing strategies outside Europe, which fits in well with the direction that AMS-IX is currently taking. I really wanted to start working for AMS-IX, based on trends and opportunities I see. It's great to witness the successful AMS-IX model being rolled out worldwide.”
In his opinion, the technological strength of AMS-IX, which started off as a highly technology driven organisation, has paved the way for commercial success. He sees AMS-IX as a reliable, progressive organisation with very good service. “Today, the Internet is seen as a utility: it’s always there, it should always work and people don’t want to worry about it, and AMS-IX makes sure this is the case.”
AMS-IX has always focused on what it does best, according to Mark. The exchange offers the best possible services and infrastructure in the Amsterdam region. This will contribute to the further development of the Internet ecosystem. AMS-IX is actively working with the City of Amsterdam to promote this. “In Amsterdam, we must above all protect what we have and continue to grow. The experiences gained here have contributed to our successful international expansion.”
Mark feels the time has come to take a vertical approach to sectors showing strong growth. This means developing relationships in these target sectors, developing content which can be shared across platforms, such as whitepapers, blogs and press releases, and building on existing contacts. “We want AMS-IX to be visible all over the world, not only in the Netherlands and Europe but also in Asia, the US, Africa and the Middle East. This way we can continue to meet existing and new customers, and obtain a clear view of market developments.”
Targeting global growth
The goal is to expand the AMS-IX brand and good reputation internationally and introduce new regions to the wealth of experience in building and managing successful exchanges.
“This is an interesting time to work at AMS-IX, partly because of the expansion into markets outside of Amsterdam. One of my focus areas has been to successfully launch and grow AMS-IX New York. We want the exchange and our services for the United States to get off to a flying start and to prove that our model works well in the North American market.”
“We aim to be a leader in all markets in which we operate. In international markets, we work closely with our partners (Hutchison Global Communications (HGC) in Hong Kong and data centre partners in the US.) to make the most of our efforts. Although AMS-IX Hong Kong grew more slowly than we expected, it has now started to take off. In East Africa (Kenya), where our experience with mobile can be a great advantage, we are still in the startup phase. There's no broadband infrastructure as we know it, so mobile networks play an important role. For the US it is still early but the response and support we have received so far has been excellent.”
AMS-IX has always been the leader amongst major Internet exchanges. Henk and his team were the first to introduce the MPLS / VPLS platform, for example. Leading with technical innovations has led to many commercial opportunities. AMS-IX was the first to develop and launch a reseller program, which remains successful in attracting customers. AMS-IX was also the first Internet exchange to offer SLAs and mobile exchange services, which are becoming increasingly important for mobile operators.
“We have everything it takes to successfully operate in mobile, gaming and cloud markets. GRX and Inter-IPX services allow us to support mobility in the best possible way. Mobile data traffic is seeing huge growth, thanks to smartphone and tablet adoption, the introduction of wearable electronics and the ‘Internet of Everything’. The gaming industry is looking for low latency access for gamers, which we can also provide. The cloud industry is still evolving and there are many opportunities for European cloud platforms to grow further in the coming years. It is important that we remain closely involved in these markets and anticipate their needs and changes.”
The role of resellers
The reseller program continues to play an important role for AMS-IX. “We expect continued growth, driven by the reseller program, which is not only successful in the Netherlands, but internationally as well. Our reseller program has been further improved with the introduction of three different levels: ‘Gold’, ‘Silver’ and ‘Partner’. In this way, we offer recognition to the partners that do the most business and generate customers for us.”
Privacy and the Internet
“Could we have predicted there would be so much discussion about our international expansion when Edward Snowden came forward with his information on the NSA? I doubt it. Will this have an impact over the next two or three years? Definitely. Some parties will try to take advantage of recent events, claiming they want to make the Internet safer by imposing restrictions. However, I think restrictions are not good for consumers or businesses. If you introduce a kind of 'regional' Internet structure, you will break down a model that has worked very well for some 25 years.”
Mark Cooper is Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) at AMS-IX, responsible for business development, sales, marketing, PR, events, public affairs and member relations.