17 Jan 2024

2024 - A pivotal year for Kao Data

The year end is always a time for reflection, whilst the new year is marked by energy and ambition, so I thought I would outline why I am confident 2024 is going to be a truly fantastic year for Kao Data. This is not only because of the recent arrival of our new CEO, Doug Loewe, or our ambitious forward plans, but because of the ground work laid and milestones met by our team across 2023.

As I reflect briefly on 2023, it stands out as the year where Kao Data showcased that our growth and success weren't a one off, but rather a replicable playbook that has sustainable growth embedded by design.

The ambitious expansion strategies we outlined in the previous twelve months came to fruition splendidly – from the successful launch of our second data centre in Harlow - KLON-02, to the efficient redevelopment of our new location in Slough and the exciting announcement of what will be northern England’s largest data centre in Stockport, Greater Manchester. We also signed several leading clients, which have helped place Kao Data into a strong position from which to further evolve. Change in life and in business is inevitable but I’m a firm believer that growth is a choice.

As we now look ahead to the continuing evolution of the business, the stage is well set for 2024. We have long prided ourselves on the relationships Kao Data has built and sustains with our customers and 2024 is a year poised for deeper engagement with them, especially given Doug’s arrival.

Our customers have complex requirements and in many cases, they are on the cutting edge of their own industries as Instadeep, Speechmatics and NVIDIA exemplify so clearly. As a business with strong growth aspirations, we need to be of that same mindset. Our objective for 2024 is to determine how we collaborate with our customers to make sure that the future that they see, is a future we deliver.

One of the things we are eagerly awaiting is following our customers on their journeys across Europe. We’ve often been asked by clients if we would consider taking our world-class infrastructure and customer service across the channel, and we’re now beginning to proactively look beyond our shores.

Harlow and the UK will always be home, but there are some exciting things happening in the next-tier data centre markets across Europe and we’re identifying many niche areas where customers would benefit from our unique approach. Our clients, for example, are exploring new opportunities in these markets as well, so stay tuned to see where that European adventure will take us.

In an industry often associated heavily with ‘infrastructure’, we pride ourselves on being a “people-first” business. This isn’t a mere slogan; it’s woven into the fabric of our operations and is a key differentiator amongst our competitors. True innovation is not driven by the pounds, but by the people, and our investment in them pays us back tenfold with their creativity and ingenuity.

In 2023, we were honoured to add some very high-quality team members. This next year, we are excited to expand the team even further and are particularly vested in recruiting younger employees to the field of digital infrastructure. Kao Data has always been a company that punches well above its weight, and young people come with fresh ideas and approaches that enable that innovative, can-do spirit.

Amidst all of this is a profound awareness of the evolving technology landscape. We are just beginning to see the first glimpses of what AI and machine learning have to offer. A fundamental change of how society interacts with data lies on the not-so-distant horizon. What was once a search for information is transforming into a quest for definitive answers, and the era of skimming through search results might soon be reminiscent of renting a DVD from Blockbuster.

Kao Data has long understood the impact AI will have on data centres, and in many ways it could be perceived as a deceptively simple challenge. While it demands increased capacity, assuming all capacities are equal oversimplifies the issue.

Recognising the nuances between the different technical requirements of AI, and thereby, the capacities required to support their models, is crucial. Grasping the intricacies of the compute, acknowledging its evolving nature, and translating these insights into data centre design will be pivotal for empowering robust AI applications. Such a shift not only influences how data centres are configured but also significantly impacts their economics. Collaboration between the customer and data centre operator is what will ultimately drive this transformation.

Finally, I would be remiss without one final prediction. One of the most significant impacts to come in 2024 won't be technological but political. With elections on the horizon in the UK and the US, and surprising outcomes in recent European elections, the focus on digital sovereignty will intensify.

Security, data location, and control over datasets will become paramount, reflecting the human instinct for certainty in times of uncertainty. This will hit the political radar this year as understanding these issues becomes a bigger focus of governments’ agendas.

As the new Chairman, I have enjoyed being involved in the day-to-day operations at Kao Data once again. The company has executed brilliantly on its vision of creating a hyperscale-inspired data centre platform and I am excited for its next phase of growth.

Further, I am particularly pleased to be welcoming Doug into the fold as our new CEO. His visionary insight and ethos for entrepreneurialism will help us drive another step-change in performance across 2024 as we seek to fast-track our ambitions across the European region, and scale our sustainable, secure, and advanced data centre platform, engineered for AI into new and unchartered territories.

David Bloom

Having founded Kao Data in 2013, David served as Board Member and in September 2023 became the company's Chairman. David has a wide-ranging background with over 17 years’ experience in the technology, media and telecommunications industry as an investor, founder and investment manager. He has personally overseen the deployment of more than £500m of equity investment.


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