Remote Monitoring - The Way Of The Future

By Sudhir Puthran, VP - Services, Schneider Electric - India

Remote Monitoring – The Way Of The FutureIn a connected world, it’s more critical than ever to protect essential information and data. Ensuring that the physical infrastructure of a company’s data centre can adapt quickly to support both future demands driven by IoT and growth - in the cloud and at the edge - without ever compromising the availability or operational efficiency is key.

Hence, it is important to remember that today’s data centre’s Power and Cooling infrastructure has roughly three times more data points and notifications than it did ten years ago. Traditional data centre remote monitoring services have been available for over ten years but were not designed to support this amount of data monitoring and the associated alarms, let alone extract value from the data.

Digital remote monitoring has resolved these limitations through technology, and over the next few years, more issues could be addressed by it. It has managed to bring technology such as cloud computing, analytics, and mobile apps in its fold with ease. The remote monitoring network operation centre brings together three key elements or pillars necessary to run critical environments and data centres, namely, technical expertise, data science and technology.

Technology expertise comes in with vast experience in supplying and managing IT infrastructure for data centres. Having a specialist team comprising of data centre experts, business analysts and customer infrastructure operators who provide round- the - clock monitoring and management services is one of the three pillars in a smooth operation.

Additionally, with the surge of a vast amount of data coming through from the IT infrastructure sitting inside data centres, it is not humanly possible to analyse it. So, analytics is the next step to provide value to customers for a short or long term. This gives a better understanding of what is happening, what will happen as well as what could happen at best. Customers can make informed decisions in advance to prevent a catastrophe from developing, or at least reduce their operational costs by replacing faulty equipment.

"While digital solutions anticipate threats before they cause downtime, personalized services lend a human touch to a cutting-edge offer"

24X7 Digital Remote Monitoring also enables automatic intervention service dispatch. Here, the trained technicians monitor the health status of the physical infrastructure to help diagnose, notify and resolve the problem. In case of any issue, an automatic service dispatch is facilitated for resolving the problem before it becomes critical. This minimises down time to a large extent. The Data driven analytics can proactively advise of potential failures, fundamentally improving the ability to service critical equipment prior to failure.

The crux of the entire operation or rather the base pillar is technology. The tools used in the remote monitoring network operation, therefore, should be web-based asset management tools for different techniques on remote platforms, be it wired or wireless. They offer customers insights into their IT operations by combining deep analytics and analysis. The best part is that the technology used is vendor or platform agnostic and could be deployed after a proof of concept study of the customer’s IT infrastructure.

The question remains as to why a company needs to adapt to such changes. The answer to that lies in the network effect. The term “network effect” has gained widespread awareness during the rise of Facebook as a leading social network platform. The word means that as more people use a particular product or service, the more value users of that product or service will realise. The telephone is an often used example of the network effect. If only one person in the world had a phone, there would be no value in it because they could n’t talk to anyone else. But when millions of people have and use one, it becomes valuable.

This is true of digital remote monitoring services. If only one data centre manager used a digital remote monitoring service, they wouldn’t condition  based maintenance. That value is attained very quickly as more data centres use the service and the collective data is analysed to provide insights. For example, if 100,000 data centres used the service, a large percentage of these data centres are likely to have an air cooled packaged chiller cooling architecture. With this amount of data, analytics could suggest changes to their cooling system and the estimated savings these changes will have on the energy bill.

Data centres are on a path to become more reliable and efficient through the use of digital remote monitoring and condition based maintenance, made possible through technologies like big data and machine learning. However, this can only happen with platforms that take advantage of the data generated continuously by the physical infrastructure in a data centre.

Digital monitoring services enable efficient management of your assets throughout their lifecycle. While digital solutions anticipate threats before they cause downtime, personalised services lend a human touch to a cutting edge offer. This further improves process quality, productivity and overall safety.

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