When a well-known company empowered some models of an iRobot Roomba vacuum to monitor temperatures in its data centers, the idea grew. What about giving robots the ability to monitor temperatures and humidity in the facility, even creating maps of the distribution of heat?
There are many pros to “lights out” unmanned data centers, and data center operators now have a lot of options at their disposal. Robots also have the power to alleviate the growing workforce shortage. As a result, their use is becoming more attractive to the industry worldwide.
These and other improvements are a glimpse into the future for data center operators. Here are other likely changes.
Automation Solving Workforce Shortages
The technology has advanced to allow robotic arms to do more complex tasks, such as plug and unplug connectors and manage cables.
Researchers say that robots and automation will be able to replace or augment many of the jobs a human worker currently does. This can free up employees to do other work, and decrease the demand for workers altogether, thereby addressing the worker shortage.
Despite the billions of dollars spent on AI research, humans still have the ability to adapt, unlike robots. Industry leaders recognize the benefit of having humans managing multifaceted tasks and overseeing sudden environment changes.
Changes in Physical Space
Construction and reconstruction of data centers now come with floor plans designed for robots, rather than humans. Data centers of the future will not need to accommodate a human’s need for space, but instead make room for sophisticated software, management tools and sensors.
The very shape of data center buildings could change. With less need for humans working inside of them, look for tall, cylindrical data centers that fit in between buildings as a possibility. As there is less need for oxygen-sustaining workers, future construction styles with adaptive HVAC systems will change as well.
Using robots for edge computing, which could soon include thousands of small data centers in distributed locations, remains a question mark. How robots will be utilized in these spaces is still unclear.
Robots can augment security operations using 360-degree cameras, heat and movement sensors, and immediate connectivity. They can also be used to patrol for crime and security purposes. Robots can even be used to manage vendor and contractor visits with “remote hands,” thereby reducing risks and injuries.
Robotics Not a Cure-All
Edge computing, the use of smaller, location-based data centers, will be a greater challenge for robotic operations. There is also a difference between what technology designers can simulate and what would happen in real life.
The future may bring forth radically redesigned data centers, but there is also a risk to completely handing over operations to a robotic system.
Operators will continue to maximize robotic opportunities, while not damaging equipment and injuring humans in the process.
GAW Technology remains ready to assist our clients who want to effectively manage change designed to keep them profitable well into the future.
Have questions about your technology needs? Contact GAW today.