Data Centres and Augmented Reality: A Blueprint for Industry Transformation

By Jab Jebra, President and CEO of Hyperview.

The days of physically configuring server rooms filled with cryptic codes and blinking lights are becoming a thing of the past as Augmented Reality (AR) begins to make its mark on the data centre sector. This transformative technology is taking root at the beating heart of the digital world, completely revamping data centre operations. 


This is not merely a glimpse into the future, but a tangible revolution reshaping the present, and we are only just witnessing the beginning of how AR will transform business operations across all sectors. According to a McKinsey report, 2.7 billion deskless workers, representing roughly 80% of the global workforce, could become the primary users of immersive reality technology. This potential isn't just confined to distant possibilities, it’s unfolding right now, with data centres creating the blueprint for other industries. 


AR is not just streamlining data centre operations, but it also emerging as a powerful force in driving sustainability initiatives for organisations. With the infusion of AR in business, we may be looking at a world where most business travel comes to an end. AR is proving to be a secret weapon that propels us towards a reality where business operations are more efficient, more sustainable, and more responsible. 

The infusion of AR and Data Centres 

But first, the marriage between AR with Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) starts with identifying the need for AR in data centre operations. The next step involves selecting compatible AR and DCIM platforms and connecting them, usually via APIs. AR models of the data centre infrastructure are then developed and overlaid onto the physical world when viewed through an AR device. The integration is tested for accuracy, and data centre staff are trained on how to use the new system. The final step involves continuous monitoring and improvement of the AR system to ensure its effectiveness and efficiency in managing operations. 

AR lets users explore a digital twin of the entire data centre. Conveniently scan QR code, bar codes and tags with a glance, conduct audits and inspections remotely, collaborate with experts worldwide – all while troubleshooting issues swiftly. Downtime, a data centre's worst nightmare, and typically caused by human error, is drastically reduced. Faster problem-solving and preventative maintenance minimise the risk and duration of outages, ensuring smooth operation and satisfied customers. 


Without physically being there, AR enables data centre operators to monitor server health, temperature, and energy usage, among other critical metrics. This enhanced visibility is a game-changer for decision-making processes, with operators able to make informed decisions based on real-time data, rather than relying on periodic reports or manual checks. 

Imagine a technician facing a massive server rack. No longer just metal and wires, the equipment comes alive with real-time information floating within view due to an AR headset. Data flows and energy usage are visualised, helping identify areas for optimisation. 

In essence, AR empowers data centres with unprecedented visibility and control. It bridges the physical and digital worlds, providing technicians with the information they need, exactly where they need it. Ultimately, this leads to improved decision-making, faster problem-solving, increased operational efficiency, and reduced downtime, all of which are crucial for the success and competitiveness of data centres in today's digital age.  


Sustainability: A shared responsibility 


Beyond purely operational benefits, AR also plays an important role in driving sustainability efforts within data centres. As environmental consciousness is on the minds of business and society as a whole, data centres are embracing this technology to help reduce their environmental impact. 

For example, business travel is important for employees so that they can have visibility of their operational hardware, but on the flip side, business travel is proving a major detriment to the future of our planet. According to the IEA, air travel from business trips contributes about 2% of the world's harmful emissions. This is where AR can help. Remote monitoring and troubleshooting made possible by AR dramatically lessen the need for on-site visits. This translates directly to a smaller carbon footprint as emissions tied to travel are reduced.  


This use of AR in data centres provides a blueprint for other industries to follow suit to strive for a greener future, especially when it comes to reducing travel. It’s a solution that is universally applicable, given that business travel is a staple for most companies—whether for hosting crucial meetings in distant locales or necessitating in-person inspections and audits—its applicability spans across all sectors. 

Furthermore, the insights gained through AR data play an important role in identifying energy inefficiencies within the data centre. This information allows operators to optimise operations and reduce energy consumption, making the data centre a more sustainable and responsible part of our digital infrastructure. 

In short, AR encourages remote collaboration and virtual experiences, providing a green solution for many industries. It leads the way to a future with less unnecessary travel and more energy efficiency, where business and sustainability work hard in hand. 

Time to turn the tide with AR 

Looking ahead, integrating Augmented Reality (AR) is set to become a cornerstone of successful business operations across numerous industries. Data centres that are adopting AR, serve as a compelling blueprint for other sectors. By embracing this transformative technology, businesses can reimagine their operational efficiency and contribute to a more sustainable and responsible future. 


The time for cautious observation has passed. AR adoption as a companion to DCIM is no longer a question of "if" but "when." Businesses that fail to embrace AR risk being left behind as their competitors reap the benefits of increased efficiency, improved decision-making, and a more sustainable future. 

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