How do you bring the power of the Internet to underserved emerging markets? Google is floating balloons. Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook are focused on better mobile connectivity.
Scott Noteboom is taking a different approach: finding the right spots to deploy advanced Internet infrastructure that is energy-efficient and affordable. To pursue this mission, he's giving up one of the best jobs in the data center industry.
Noteboom recently left his post as a key player in the data center team at Apple to found LitBit, a startup that aims to transform the data center landscape of emerging markets, starting with China and eventually expanding to markets like India, Latin America, Russia and Africa.
That might seem like a huge challenge. But Noteboom has been on the forefront of innovation in the data center industry for the last 15 years in posts at AboveNet, Yahoo and most recently at Apple. As Head of Infrastructure Strategy, Design & Development at Apple, Noteboom worked on the expanson of the iDataCenter in Maiden, North Carolina and additional sites in Oregon and Nevada to support the growth of Apple's iCloud and iTunes services.
Enabling "The Next Billion Users"
"LitBit was created to bring next generation converged infrastructure technology into emerging markets that require cleaner environment, greater efficiency and lower economics," said Noteboom, the founder and CEO of LitBit. "Our goal is to enable the next billion users of digital technology to emerge with a 10x lower environmental impact than the first billion.
“At the same time, we are here to navigate the cultural, governmental, language and other complexities that can go along with developing infrastructure in emerging markets, so that our customers can simply focus on executing their business models via infrastructure solutions they are comfortable with and trust," he added.
That's a particular challenge in China, a market where tight government oversight of Internet content and infrastructure has complicated efforts by global firms to access the country's enormous market of Internet users.
Bringing Accessible, Energy-Efficient Infrastructure
Noteboom believes he's put together the connections and resources to make China more accessible. "We believe that we will be the first provider to enable non-Chinese companies to smoothly deploy in China," said Noteboom, who said he hopes to bring new data center technologies into China to realize exceptional efficiency and economics.
Noteboom isn;t supplying many details just yet. A key aspect of the plan will be site selection. Noteboom says LitBit hopes to identify the Asian equivalents of Quincy, Washington - previously unknown sites that provide exceptional economics and efficiency for data center operators.
What does it say when one of the leading data center thought leaders leaves a position at the pinnacle of the U.S. technology industry for a startup? Scott Noteboom has always been a guy who likes challenges and solving hard problems. While there are few details about his plans so far, the debut of LitBit suggests that some of the industry's most interesting challenges lie in unlocking these emerging global markets.